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Photography, writing exhibition by Henninger High School students opens at SU’s Warehouse
Photography, writing exhibition by Henninger High School students opens at SU’s WarehouseNovember 19, 2007Susan Feightnersfeightn@syr.edu
As the culminating event to the Partnership for Better Education’s yearlong Art, Literacy and Technology (ALT) program, the photographic and written work of 50 Henninger High School students is now on display at The Warehouse through Dec. 29.
A public reception for the exhibition, “The Day I Stole the Sun: Collaborations with Henninger High School,” will be held Thursday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in honor of the Verizon Foundation, which donated $100,000 for the ALT program. Gallery hours for the exhibition through Dec. 18 are Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m., and every third Thursday (Th3) until 8 p.m.; from Dec. 19-29, the exhibition may be viewed by appointment.
The partnership’s ALT program links art, literacy and technology through photography and poetry to improve the writing and reading skills of students in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD). Representatives from SU, the Verizon Foundation and the SCSD will be in attendance at the reception, which will include a guided exhibition walk-through for the public and selected student poetry readings.
The student work on display is the visual and narrative result of the students’ opportunity for expression using photography and writing. Students strengthened both literacy skills and conceptual abilities as they explored ideas such as “stealing” something that could not be literally stolen. “The Day I Stole the Sun” was chosen from the students’ writings as the title for the anthology of work on display at the Warehouse’s Link Gallery. The photographs and poems by each of the students who participated in the project will also be showcased in a special, full-color catalog.
The Partnership for Better Education is a collaboration of the SCSD, SU and other area educational institutions initiated in 2005 by SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor and supported by SCSD Superintendent Daniel Lowengard to improve and enrich classroom instruction. The partnership’s goals are to support programs with the themes of literacy, technology, the arts and inclusion; to improve high school graduation rates; and to slow the ninth-grade drop-out rate. SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Creative Writing Program and Lightwork/Community Darkrooms partnered with Henninger High School’s ninth-grade smaller learning community art academy to conduct the ALT program.
SU graduate students in the Creative Writing Program and upper-level undergraduates worked with the Henninger students in the 2007 spring and fall semesters, helping them connect picture making with writing and critical thinking. Photographer and VPA instructor Stephen Mahan and SU creative writing professor and poet Michael Burkard co-taught a special course for these 25 SU students that included instruction on how to best work with high school students. The program promoted an expansive use of photography and creative writing across curricula and disciplines, building on the skills that students naturally possess while attempting to improve ninth-graders’ verbalization skills in relating images and events, and encouraging their creativity.
The Henninger students and the SU students were encouraged to keep notebooks updated weekly to create a useful, ongoing articulation of the project. And as part of the Verizon Foundation grant, high school students in this program have access to a portable digital photography darkroom that includes 60 digital cameras, four laptop computers and four high-end color printers.
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. The Verizon Foundation has been a continuous supporter of the partnership since its founding in August 2005. Under the foundation’s Verizon Volunteer initiative — one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs — company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly three million hours of community service since Verizon’s inception in 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit http://www.verizon.com/foundation.
For more information on the Partnership for Better Education, visit http://partnership.syr.edu.