Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Since September, I have been working side by side with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to create portraits of twenty Duval County High School students which are now on exhibit at the Cummer. This project has impacted me in many ways: it reignited my love of using traditional film cameras and it pushed me to create images larger than I imagined I could (5 feet by 4 feet). But most of all, it helped me see that the actions needed to change the direction of a life are do-able. Each of these students attributes their ability to overcome the challenges in their lives to the loving attention of one adult-- a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a mentor, a friend. I am so excited to begin mentoring this fall.
Over the next few weeks, I will be profiling some of these students and their stories on my blog. I was overwhelmed by their generosity of spirit, their willingness to share themselves and their stories. And I was struck by their hopefulness about the future.
Last night, Hope McMath, director of the Cummer Museum, invited me and my family to tour the exhibit which was installed at the end of last week. What a thrill it was after so many months of work to finally see my finished pieces on the wall.
I am so proud of this project and feel so priveleged to work beside the team at JPEF who care so much about improving the lives of teenagers in our community and to have my work presented so beautifully through the designs of Brunet-Garcia, I also feel incredibly blessed to live in a city which is home to a museum like the Cummer whose staff, led by Hope McMath, are committed to using art to inspire the best in us.
I hope you will consider coming to the free community opening of this exhibition on September 13 from 4-8 at the Cummer and learn about ways you can impact the quality of education for Jacksonville teenagers.