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Merrick Youth - YOUNG WARRIORS FOR POVERTY AWARENESS

posted Oct 30, 2012, 1:42 PM by Merrick Community Services   [ updated Feb 11, 2013, 12:21 PM ]

Open Discussion of Poverty Through Art

 

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Merrick's Youth Program welcomed the opportunity to work closely with its new partner, Equity Diversity Inclusion Together (EDIT) to bring arts and advocacy together as a means for youth to share their perspectives on poverty.

This project focuses on raising awareness of poverty's impact, and the families who struggle with it. Linda Coleman, Manager, Merrick's Youth and Family Services asked Merrick Youth to reflect and offer their perspectives on, “What does it mean to be poor?” and "How do we tell the story of poverty in our community with dignity, honesty, and respect?”

EDIT’s mission is to empower youth and communities to expand their awareness of diversity issues, embrace a journey toward greater understanding and acceptance, and become committed to social action in order to create a more inclusive society. Two years ago EDIT worked closely with youth programs on the North Side of Minneapolis to document the destruction of the tornado in the spring of 2011. Now they have partnered with Merrick’s youth program to bring photography and artistic expression to tough issues on the East Side.

Once the students had a strong foundation in artistic principles and storytelling, the staff began leading them on small field tripsaround the neighborhood, to interview various community leaders, law enforcement officials, and to those most affected by poverty.   MCS youth met weekly with EDIT staff to learn about photography and expression. EDIT also hosted Wing Young Huie, St. Paul's renowned photographer, whose most recent work along University Avenue in St. Paul brought attention to the Midway neighborhood.

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ABOUT WING YOUNG HUIE

Wing Young Huie’s many photographic projects document the dizzying socioeconomic and cultural realities of American society, much of it centered on the urban cores of his home state of Minnesota. Whether in epic public installations or international museum exhibitions, he creates up-to-the-minute societal mirrors of who we are, seeking to reveal not only what is hidden, but also what is plainly visible and seldom noticed.

His most well known works—Frogtown (1995), Lake Street USA (2000), and The University Avenue Project (2010), produced by Public Art Saint Paul—transformed Twin Cities’ urban areas into public photo galleries, reflecting the everyday lives of thousands of its citizens in the midst of some of the most diverse concentrations of international immigrants in the country.

The Minneapolis StarTribune named Wing “Artist of the Year” [PDF] in 2000, stating, “Lake Street USA is likely to stand as a milestone in the history of photography and public art.” His five published books: The University Avenue Project, Volume 1, The University Avenue Project Volume 2, Looking For Asian American: An Ethnocentric Tour, Lake Street USA, and Frogtown: Photographs and Conversations in an Urban Neighborhood. Lake Street USA was hailed by the Minneapolis StarTribune as one of 25 great books ever published about Minnesota.

The University Avenue Project—Minnesota Original, TPT

 

 

 
 

Once the students had a strong foundation in artistic principles and storytelling, the staff began leading them on small field tripsaround the neighborhood, to interview various community leaders, law enforcement officials, and to those most affected by poverty. MCS youth met weekly with EDIT staff to learn about photography and expression. EDIT also hosted Wing Young Huie, St. Paul's renowned photographer, whose most recent work along University Avenue in St. Paul brought attention to the Midway neighborhood.

Coleman smiles as she reflects on the program. “Our philosophy at the youth program—and Merrick’s vision for the future—is to provide experiences for our youth to prepare them to be community leaders in the 21st Century.”

Youth photography was featured in a special event held on January 9th, 2013 at Metropolitan Community College. In addition, project pictures will be feature as part of Merrick's new Community Voice Gallery located at is Edgeton Center

 

    

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