Sunday, April 27, 2014

a new view

I am spending some time reflecting on the intersection of Youth Art Team's reception at the Waterloo Center for the Arts last week and yesterday's CCDA intensive in Hartford, CT, on the topic of "Listening to the Community".

The "Listening to the Community" Intensive is based on the theological foundation that all humans are made in the image of God, all are made on purpose, for a purpose within the Kingdom of God, and all have gifts to share with the world.  My friend, Heidi, who directs the Youth Art Team, gets this.  Heidi has empowered the voices and activated the gifts of young people in such a way that they are leading adults into a new way of seeing and being in our community.

Twenty-five students, ages 5-17, have built friendships and bridges across communities and across lines that so often divide.

These students have taken amazing, beautiful, stunning photographs of one neighborhood in our community; a neighborhood that most often gets dismissed as ugly and hopeless; a label that destructively impacts both the geography and the people of the neighborhood.

Youth Art Team students have helped adults look at "what's right?" rather than "what's wrong?" in our neighborhoods.  They are leading the way in ABCD...asset-based community development.

Students have discovered that they are part of something bigger than themselves and that they are significant and compassionate contributors in their community.  They are discovering that they have power to affect positive change in their community through art.

All of this makes my heart overflow with thanksgiving and hope and causes me to boldly declare "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3: 20-21

Go, Youth Art Team! Way to "Lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up!"  Isaiah 40:9

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Viewfinder Project

Fifty of theYouth Art Team's photographs from The Viewfinder Project just went up in the Waterloo Center for the Arts yesterday.  They'll be on exhibit for the next few months!  I went this morning, and my heart overflowed as I read each description written by the students regarding their photos. This exhibit is a must-see!  

Students took over 5,100 photos of the Walnut Neighborhood over the course of two eight week sessions!  The fifty photos chosen represent well the variety of lessons- lines, patterns, what is ugly?, what is beautiful, reflections, people, etc..
It's awesome to look at the neighborhood through the creative eyes of young people!