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Todos Juntos and Arts Alliance collaborate forstudent art program at middle school

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: AMELIE HUMPHREYS YOST - Estacada Middle School student Amelie Humphreys Yost took this photo during a photography program at the school.Students at Estacada Middle School have been learning about photography as a means of creative expression, and the products of their exploration will soon be available for community members to view.

Work from the middle school students will hang at Estacada City Hall through Wednesday, Jan. 10. There will be a reception with the student photographers from 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at City Hall, 475 S.E. Main St.

The program is a result of collaboration between the Clackamas County Arts Alliance, Todos Juntos and visiting artist Leigh Rooney. Students were surveyed about which art medium they wanted to work with, and they selected photography. They were supplied with digital cameras and encouraged to take photos that explored their identities.

"We asked them to identify three strengths (in their identities) and had them replicate that through visual storytelling," said Lisa Smith, a program coordinator for Youth Arts for Change at the Clackamas County Arts Alliance.

She added that she believes identity is a valuable topic to explore during the middle school years.

"Middle school is an amazing, scary, crazy time," she said. "They're still kids, but they're kind of teenagers. (It's helpful to)

ask 'Who am I?' at that age?"

The program started in September and ended earlier this month. Approximately 13 students participated, taking photos around the Estacada Middle School campus.

Smith believes the program was a valuable learning opportunity for students.

"Once you start to really think beyond the traditional selfie or portrait, it gets interesting," she said. "You watch (them) think, "What can I do?"

Smith believes the reception at City Hall will be valuable for both students and community members. The evening will consist of a presentation from the young photographers and a question-and-answer session.

"It really creates a dialogue," she said. "The kids can get in front of the community (and say), 'This is what I made."'

She added that it will also give community members insight into the lives of local youths.

"It's an incredible opportunity to hear what the kids think," she said. "They're so aware, and impacted by what's going on. It's a really special opportunity for the community."

IF YOU GO

There will be a reception with the student photographers at Estacada Middle School from 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at City Hall, 475 S.E. Main St.

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