Illinois State University’s Milner Library and University Galleries are hosting an exhibition of photographic works titled “Picture This: Picturing Community One Lens at a Time.” The Milner Library exhibit will run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28, and the Galleries exhibit, “The Will to Believe in Something More” by the Borderland Collective, will run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 19. University Galleries Curator Tony Preston-Schreck will also present a public lecture detailing the project at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, on the main floor of Milner Library.
Milner Library will display 18 of the “Picture This” photographs and will also host an iPad digital exhibit allowing visitors to view 2,000 photographs from the project’s archive. The Galleries exhibit features documentary photographs taken by youth in the borderlands between Texas and Mexico. Lessons created for both exhibitions include projects on identity, culture and photography’s history. Each lesson is designed to help students to “picture” themselves and their community. In order to complete the cycle of learning, the students are able to see the results of their development as they view their own images on display during a final exhibition at University Galleries from May 22 through July 1.
“Picture This” incorporates contemporary art and recent developments in teaching to establish a positive environment for creativity and personal exploration. At its core, the project provides visual literacy tools for youth to see meaning in the images around them. For many, looking for the “art of the everyday” is a wholly new way of seeing the world.
Pop-up ads on a computer screen or photographs kept in a family photo album may have limited “artistic” value, but for the Mobile Projects Unit, the images are viewed as subjects of inquiry and study, much as an anthropologist would view them. The process uses a combination of experiential and collaborative learning to reflect upon the nature of these images-their design, origin, purpose and cultural value to devise ways of making new images and new meaning through artistic inquiry and creation.
For more information on the exhibit, visit the Picture This website at http://www.cfa.ilstu.edu/galleries/current-exhibitions/picture-this/index.shtml .