TAMPA, FL – While they may not have the technical skills of American landscape photographer Ansel Adams or the celebrity access of portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, their sense of composition and ability to see everyday objects from a unique way belie their age.
In an exhibit that will run from July 22 through September 11, visitors to the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts will have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of children ages 9 and up from underserved communities and see how a pair of dice, a skintight and bubble wrap can be turned into works of art.
Visual literacy for children through photography has long been a favorite project of museum staff and educators at 400 N Ashley Drive, Cube 200, Tampa, said Zora Carrier, executive director.
“The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts believes that photography provides an incredible opportunity for children to grow and learn new skills, especially underserved children,” she said. “The Visual Literacy Through Photography program for children is FMoPA’s effort to ensure children get the most out of this opportunity.”
Targeting children in communities where extracurricular activities are limited, the museum teaches children basic photography skills, then hands them each a basic digital camera, minus the macro or telephoto lenses, filters or lights. studio that professional photographers depend on.
Equipped with tools for creative expression, children are unleashed with their cameras to explore the world through a lens. The results have amazed even seasoned photographers.
Then, museum staff print their photos and display them in the museum’s community gallery, hosting an opening event for children and their families with all the festivities of any gallery exhibit.
“Each year, we commemorate the memories created and the hard work of each student, allowing students to show their art to their parents and the community,” Carrier said. “It’s always a pleasure to see children’s work every year. It makes us happy at FMoPA to know that we can give back to the community by teaching the art form we love the most.”
This year’s Opening Reception will be Friday, July 22 at 5:00 p.m.
“FMoPA photography workshops provide an incredible opportunity for growth and acquisition of critical thinking strategies, social-emotional intelligence, problem solving, teamwork, technical skills and countless other skills that allow children to succeed in their academic and professional careers,” said Carrier.
The program has also proven therapeutic for children with trauma, PTSD and autism, and its universal language has paved the way for children who struggle with cultural integration, she said.
“Past programs have produced great work and great memories and set kids on the path to excellence,” Carrier said.
In addition to the photography-based literacy program for children ages 9 and up, FMoPA offers social-emotional learning through photography for children ages 3 and up.
“Before children enter school and understand the world outside their homes and families, there is a lot to learn about interacting with others and understanding their own socio-emotional needs,” said Carrier. “Through the power of photographic art, children learn to understand their feelings, their environment, their state of being, as well as the nuanced, intangible and abstract concepts they need to mature socially and emotionally.”
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The museum is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.