Friday, June 06, 2014

REFRAME: Education Through the Lens of DC Youth

How do you define yourself?

Let’s start by filling in the blanks: “I am ___” or “I fight for ___.”

Throughout this school year, Critical Exposure partnered with students from the Rhode Island School of Design and DC Public Schools to answer those statements through photos.

The result was a public art project with portraits hung on the walls and windows of local businesses throughout the city.

I had the chance to check out this project during a recent showing at the Pepco Edison Place Art Gallery, hosted by Critical Exposure.

It was amazing seeing how an image can mean much more than what you see. For example, a photo of a construction site shows a young DC native a city that is changing.

A self-portrait shows a young artist, like Tavean Osborne, how far he’s come. Looking at his piece, “I AM WHO I AM,” he said: “What I’ve done in the past, I’ve put it all in a picture to remind me that I’m not that person I used to be back in the day.”

Visiting the gallery was definitely a great experience, especially learning that REFRAME came out of youth’s concerns that adults advocating for education reform are too detached from the communities and people they wish to help.

What if Critical Exposure took an intergenerational approach like the Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest or the Intergenerational Digital Photography Curriculum?

Both the contest and curriculum are opportunities to connect the generations and correct misconceptions on both sides.

Maybe an intergenerational approach would raise more support for their initiative.

Seeing the work they accomplished since March gets me excited. I can’t wait to see what else Critical Exposure has in store. 


Anonymous said...

Hi there! My name is Mario. I was hoping you could answer a question I have about your blog. Send me an email when you get a chance. You can reach me at

Alan said...

Thanks for reaching out, Mario. Will do.