Tuesday, October 1, 2013

School Reform Takes Center Stage at “An Evening of Empowerment Through Photography”

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Youth participant from Critical Exposure

Did you know that October is Funding for Arts month? This is a perfect time to learn about and support arts organizations and institutions in your community.  Consider visiting a local African American museum such as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture in Charlotte, support the performing arts by attending a performance by the famed Dance Theatre of Harlem, or lend your time, talent and treasure to a youth arts program such as Critical Exposure in Washington, DC.

In celebration of Funding for Arts month, BlackGivesBack is proud to serve as a media sponsor for Critical Exposure’s annual fundraiser, “Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment Through Photography” on Thursday, October 17th from 6-8:30pm at DLA Piper in Washington, DC. Critical Exposure is a nonprofit organization based in the nation’s capital that teaches youth the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change.

Students are trained in documentary photography to document issues affecting their lives, and taught leadership and advocacy skills to help them use their images and voices to build support for changes to improve their schools and communities.  Together with their partners, Critical Exposure has helped generate more than $500 million in new funding for public schools.  DC students have used their images and voices to support efforts to fix deteriorating school facilities, build a new school library, reform school discipline policies, improve school nutrition, and secure funding for programs that support homeless youth.

During a live and silent auction, the student’s work will be on display at the fundraiser alongside some of the world’s top photographers including Rick Loomis, who won the Pulitzer Prize for a project on the ills of the world's oceans; Jordan Matter, whose photo book Dancers Among Us is a New York Times bestseller; and Callie Shell, who has been photographing the Obama family for nearly 10 years. Bidding is now underway.

Funds raised from their 2012 auction enabled students to advocate for and win additional staff in their schools, change their curriculum to include an ethic studies class, convince the State Board of Education to change their graduation requirements, and more.  For their efforts, they were featured on the front page of the Washington Post. So come out and enjoy wine and appetizers while supporting youth photography and social change!

Visit the website to purchase tickets, join as a sponsor or to serve on the host committee. An early bird ticket price is available until October 11th.

Photo courtesy of Critical Exposure

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