"Picture Glendale” was born of a need to offer public housing youth between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age, opportunities for growth through a summer program, which would give them a vision for their future as well as something to do over the summer and into the beginning of the school year.
Teens from Glendale public housing and the surrounding community worked with a professional photographer to learn photography, take photographs of their lives, and begin plans for public artwork to be installed at the three public housing communities and the local community center. During the summer, the student photographers visited professional photo labs, learned about budgets and public art, and worked in a darkroom. Field trips to various public art projects were incorporated into the project. The local community college gave them access to the on-campus darkroom where they learned about photo development.
The teens had hands-on participation in the project, from concept development to fieldwork, on through production of public art for permanent public display. They presented their project to the housing commission and the city art commission, telling them not only about the photos they took and why they took them, but that they learned there is more to life than “hanging out and getting in trouble.” They spoke of the processes they learned and how to stage the photo to get the best results. They especially enjoyed the time in the darkroom.
To be able to create a program that could enrich the lives of low-income youth and enlarge their world and their self-esteem in the way this one did was an achievement for all involved. What made this program unique was its funding source (City Art commission funding) and bringing an “artist-in-residence” to the teens, Rebecca Ross, to work with them in their own environment, and taking them by the hand and leading them out to experience the larger world through photography.
The art program recently received a National Award of Merit by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officers (NAHRO). The NAHRO Awards of Merit Program recognizes housing programs nationally, which find innovative ways to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.
During the month of November 2007, the project was exhibited at the Student Union at Glendale Community College, in Glendale Arizona.6000 W. Olive Ave., which showcased the participant’s creative work.
The project finished with a permanent installation at all three Glendale Public Housing communities.
For more information, contact Elaine Adamczyk in the Community Housing Division at 623-930-2180.