INDIANAPOLIS – A local art exhibition will feature work from ten artists taking an in-depth look at child poverty – but some of the show’s best work comes from kids who chronicled their lives through the lens of a camera.
College Mentors for Kids teamed up with painters, sculptors, and photographers to explore the economic circumstances around the kids they mentor. Eight students at Paul I. Miller Elementary in Indianapolis participated in the summer program taught by photographer Aaron Pierce.
“I was blown away,” Pierce said. “The work I’ve seen them start to produce is remarkably better than anything I was doing at their age.”
Pierce began teaching the kids photography in June. He said he offered minor critiques, but the inspiration and content of the work the students produced is all their own.
Twelve-year old Mario Howard-Evans was one of the students in Pierce’s class.
“It was really fun,” Mario said. “We got to go around taking pictures of almost everything.”
Pierce said Mario and the other students each developed their own eye for photography while growing more curious of the world around them.
“I definitely started to see some personal growth,” Pierce said. “While I saw that they’re growing in their eye for photography as well, they’re growing in their ability to take in their surroundings.”
The “Changing the Story” exhibit opens Friday at 5 p.m. at the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery for an opening reception. The photos and other art pieces will be on display until the art show closes on Oct. 30.
Even after the exhibit closes, Pierces hopes the project will find a way to continue.
“The goal here for us is to not really be finished,” Pierce said. “What I see us doing with this project is laying the seed for these kids to be able to become photographers and continue telling their story during their term with College Mentors and going forward.”