Category Archives: Community Programs

APPLY for our 2015 workshop

APPLY Our Spring program will take place every Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm, February 7th to May 9th, for a total of 12 weeks. Bayeté Ross Smith and NYU student teaching assistants will be teaching our 2015 workshop. LINK TO APPLICATION

The high school students work in the digital labs at The Department of Photography and Imaging. Digital cameras are provided for the high school students to photograph their families, friends, and communities to create photographic essays exploring their day-to-day lives, dreams, concerns, and social-political challenges.  Perfect attendance and punctuality are required along with a dedication to developing a personal vision. Students are expected to provide their own transportation and lunch. See our FAQ page for more information. View our Student Projects Galleries for inspiration.

Download our one page information sheet

Please feel free to contact us with questions at

7 Departments at Tisch have programs for high school students this spring. To view the full list, visit the Tisch Future Artists page.

Also posted in Future Imagemakers Tagged |

Classroom Connections

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Eight years ago, Classroom Connections was started to build a community between two Bronx schools—University Heights High School, a public school in one of the poorest congressional districts in America, and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a private school with a $43,000/year tuition. Students of each school exchange letters, engage in community service projects, and visit each other to discuss issues such as race relations. This article details a group activity led by Narrative 4 in which students first paired off to tell share stories about their lives and then regrouped to tell their partners’ stories in first person. As someone who attended a prestigious public high school in Manhattan with tremendous resources, I always felt like I was in a bubble and sheltered from truth of the inequality between schools in New York. I was touched by the article and the initiative to foster understanding and empathy between these students, and I definitely believe that there should be more collaborations like this to increase awareness of the state of the school system in New York.

Also posted in Education

Brazilian Stories and Selfies Through a Pinhole

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Brazilian Stories and Selfies Through a Pinhole 

Great piece in the NYTimes Lens Blog about a pinhole photography workshop in the Mare favela in Rio de Janeiro led by Tatian Altberg. Fantastic photographs. 


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In my web searching, I found another article about the project.

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The New Activists: Students in the Community

Watch this inspiring promo for Imaging America’s web series on The New Activists. 

“The New Activists: Students in the Community” is Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life’s web series featuring students bringing their knowledge to collaborations with community members to address important community-identified problems and opportunities. 

Click here to see the entire videos.

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Bangladeshi photo agency Drik

Inspring piece in today’s Lens Blog:

Wresting the Narrative From the West 

… Shahidul Alam’s Pathshala school has produced dozens of world-class photographers and given Bangladesh a reputation for exceptional photography. The Chobi Mela photo festival, which Mr. Alam started in 1999, brings photographers from around the world to the capital, Dhaka, and promotes local image-makers and documentarians. His photo agency, Drik, which he started in 1989, sells stories made by Bangladeshi photographers to media outlets worldwide and encourages its photographers to cover stories the way they want to, and not to try to fit a script imposed by outsiders.

Also posted in Media Projects Tagged , , , |

First Street Green

Last year I attended the Imagining America Conference that was held at New York University over the summer. Much of the conference was divided into breakout sessions of your choosing, and I visited First Street Green. First Street Park is a public park on the Lower East Side located at 33 East 1st Street. This park has been morphed from a neglected space into a place for community engagement through programs that include contemporary artists, architects, designers, and community groups. These events take place from May 1st-Oct 1st each year. First Street Green not only curates programs for the space, but also allows people in the community to suggest ideas and host events.

The first event for this year is on May 4 and is in conjunction with the New Museum’s Idea City Festival. Drawing from this year’s theme, Untapped Capital, First Street Green will hold exhibits, workshops, and screenings from 12pm-9pm at the park. For other events throughout the summer and into the fall, check out the calendar.

This is a really awesome new community engagement program through the arts that is just at the start of what I’m sure will be a long and successful journey. I’m really excited to see how this space transforms in the future.

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Making Room

Making Room Community Arts is an organization in long-term residence at the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre in Toronto. They create celebrations and ceremonies, both big and small, out of the ground of everyday life. Their goal is to return art to its rightful place in everyday life “as a bridge between our inner and exterior worlds.” Making Room unites the community and the environment we live in, including artists and non artists, in a collaborative art-making.

What I like most about Making Room is the fact that they consider art something that is as vital as food, shelter, and transportation. They find that art is refused to those that need it the most. This is the reason they work together to try and find a solution to provide to those in need. They feel that there is an artist inside everybody and that everybody has potential to create, and the way to access that potential is through collaboration; they just need to be aware of the potential and the process it takes to use it.

On their website, you can find a list of Mandates that the participants adhere to and the activities that they participate in:


  • To ask fundamental questions through the creation of compelling art (artistic vision)
  • To explore contemplative and community arts practices (finding links)
  • To bring diverse groups of people together (community building)
  • To develop people’s skills and abilities through training and education opportunities (artist and member development)


  • Regular arts drop-ins and art-meditation sessions leading to annual large-scale celebration
  • Celebrations of seasonal and life cycle markers, creation of new rituals
  • internships, workshops, seminars, conferences
  • Forming long-term and transformative partnerships and collaborations
  • Renovating and occupying of indoors and outdoor spaces for our activities

Here is a super awesome project that they just finished. Not only did they involve and educate the community in a unique way, but some beautiful images came out of it too!


Also posted in Education


SPARC, The Social and Public Art Resource Center, is located in Los Angeles and aims to produce work that reflects the lives of its community. The organization was founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, painter Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. SPARC focuses on women, the working poor, youth & elderly, as well as newly arrived immigrant communities. Their main purpose is to examine what we choose to memorialize through public art. All of the work produced by SPARC is always a collaboration between artists and community members which allows art to rise from the community rather than being imposed upon it.

One of their most famous projects, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles,” is a huge mural that shows inter-racial harmony. It stretches for 2,754 feet in the Tujunga Flood Control Channel of the San Fernando Valley. There are park and bike trails as well providing easy access for visitors all year round. It stands as a tribute to the working people of California who have helped to shape its history.

SPARC received support the distinguished Ford Foundation Animating Democracy: The Role of Civic Dialogue in the Arts initiative and from the Rockefeller Foundation Partnerships Affirming Community Transformation initiative to continue working on the great wall which they did until the end of the 1990s. They have now built a park alongside the Great Wall which turns it into an international educational and cultural destination.


SPARC is an impressive organization that uses a participatory process that allows community members to create artistic and socially engaging pieces that give back to the community. They’ve made it onto the Los Angeles Times, and one of the founders, Judy Baca was invited onto Amy Poehler’s talk show this past April.

Also posted in Education, Resources

MAAL Students Create Original Propaganda Posters

In today’s society, we are constantly fed with hundreds of images everyday. As a result, we often accept the images without questioning the meaning behind them, and also because photographs have historically captured truth. If used positively, images serve a positive function, as tools that effectively convey messages universally, without the hindrance posed by the language barrier. Nevertheless, we are often subjected to propaganda images that have been misused through their removal from their proper context. Often as a society we overlook how these images are being framed in newspapers or on posters, and accept them as the truth without questioning the true intent of the presentation. In actuality, most of the time, images in the media are posed by photographers and Photoshopped by editors, and most of the time, we are unaware of these changes and the meaning contained within these photographs.


It is important to know the way each photograph is being used. An interesting art project posted on Urban Arts Partnership, incorporated into two global history classes taught by teaching artist Elise Rasmussen and Ms Delgado, helps students understand the usage of media photographs more fully. Throughout the year, students are incorporating photography and the visual arts to illustrate historical concepts and eras from the curriculum. One global history class, which explores student political revolutions around the world, utilizes photography to understand the roots of revolution and how it affects people. The students work together in groups to create propaganda posters that relate to specific revolutions. They present these to the class and explain their usage and background to their fellow students. Studying historical propaganda photographs and remaking them allows students to grasp the concept that not all photographs represent the truth. They created photographs to create the posters that helped to fuel their revolutions. This can also be done by governments and radical groups. This interactive technique in approaching the study of history allows students to grasp better the relationship between photography and propaganda. Even photography classes rarely address the fact that many photographs do not only convey the truth and are used in the wrong way. We should question the validity of images and their intention.

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The main emphasis of this project is on illustrating historical events through interactive group artwork, which provides a new and exciting way for students to learn and reflect upon history. However, through the recreation of propaganda, the project also helps students to be more aware of their own media and the present time. This teaching method can be applied in most classes, to help students to gain a better understanding of their own culture and remind them not to believe every image they see. It would form a crucial part of cultural studies in the current era, especially in view of the growth rate of Photoshopped images and the fact that many young teens still believe in the truth of all the images that they see online and in magazines. There are also movements like SPARK, which has demanded that Teen Vogue show real, untouched photographs of girls. However, such single-issue activism is not enough. The misuse of images goes far beyond fashion magazines—it extends to human rights issues in the news. It is vital to educate young adults about the massive increase in photographic manipulation and synthesis.



Also posted in Education, Resources

IS 230 Photo Class Creates a Visitor’s Guide to Jackson Heights

While teaching, it is always nice to involve students in their own community in an interactive way. This semester, while teaching about future image-makers, we had the opportunity to engage students in a blogging competition. However, such opportunities for community engagement will not exist every semester. Searching for a creative outlet for students in this regard, recently I stumbled upon an interesting project on Urban Arts Partnership done by IS 230’s photography club, led by teaching artist Elise Rasmussen. In this project, students work together to produce a visitor’s guide book for their Jackson High neighborhood. They take neighborhood walks to explore their community and shoot pictures for the guide. The students also write brief articles to go along with their images. They are able to interact with, explore and develop a better understanding of their own community. In the process of introducing their home to visitors, they also get a chance to learn to view their community from a new perspective.




I found students never had issues doing independent projects, and that they had little opportunity to interact with their peers on group photography projects. Grouping students into departments and giving them the opportunity to work with each other would help students develop practical skills as directors and photographers. Students would also have to agree on the photograph that they select and edit as a group; they would thus be exposed to other students’ perspectives. By doing the project in class, the teachers would be able to pay attention to how students are working with their cameras and composing their photographs. Allowing students to write short articles to accompany the photographs can help them practice incorporating text and photographs. After producing the visitor’s guide, the students should feel a sense of accomplishment from having produced a document connecting them to the larger community. This project of Ms Rasmussen’s allowed students to produce a visitor’s guide for the community, and it is always interesting to see the town from a student’s perspective instead of an adult’s. I will incorporate this creative concept into my future teaching experiences in photography.


Also posted in Education, Resources