YouthRAP was a challenge and with any challenge comes frustration. On our first day at YouthRAP, we gathered our participants and walked to the 400. We wanted to partner off with some of the young artists in order to build relationships with them throughout our time. Before we left we broke the young artists off into groups - mistake number one. Then once we got there we started facilitating our lesson plan, expecting it to work like it did for the students at City Arts - mistake number two. As the young artists lost interest in our ice-braked game we decided to hand out the cameras and give them time to familiarize themselves with the cameras; this went well but we had to stay inside and there was not much to photograph. As the weeks led on there was less and less interest in participating in our workshops. It was frustrating because we thought if we could just get there attention one more time we could walk around the neighborhood and capture some really cool shots and talk up the exhibition.
Even though we did not have a big turnout each week, we had two young artists that participated and we worked with them to take pictures and videos around the park, the library, and the surrounding neighborhood. They were energetic and extremely entertaining. One of my favorite days was when we walked to the park with the two girls and took a couple of photos, then they showed us their new dance they had made up and we played on the monkey bars. It was the first semi-nice day in a while and I think they were excited to be outside. They were more interested in playing around on the jungle gym but we tried to use that opportunity to encourage them to take pictures of each other. I think I liked this day the most because there was so much collaboration and interactions between the PC students and our young artists. We were playing along side them on the monkey bars, trying to keep up with their tricks and taking photographs of them while they took photographs of us. I think this is what we were hoping to build from day one so it was great to see that it is possible.
Like I said, YouthRAP was a challenge and at times it was frustrating but that is probably because we came in with different expectations and when those fell flat we were a bit discouraged; if we were to start all over I think we could do it with a different approach. With that being said, I feel successful because I was able to build two relationships with our young artists that I can only hope they remember.
Monica Riordan, Providence College Class of 2017, Global Studies Major, French Minor
*Apologies for the delay and two week gap* - PDR Team
My name is Stefan and I am one of the participants of the Youth Rap team. I am from Keller, Texas and am finishing my degree in Business Management. This class has been a unique experience in working with the youth and teaching them photography.
In our last meeting with them on Monday March 13th, we only met with two students. Both girls had a different approach to the class. They were energetic but tended to not follow the lesson plan which made us adapt. It is nice seeing the youthfulness in their eyes when the take a great photo. I have learned a lot these past few weeks.
Thank you for reading!
Stefan Puente, Providence College Class of 2017, Business Management Major, Film Minor
For our second week at YouthRap, we were able to take the young artists outside and explore the surrounding community in a way that we, as instructors, had not been exposed to. The themes for the week were community and growth, and what better place to explore those themes than in the community at locations the young artists know so well? After heading down the street and photographing at a community park, we walked to the Smith Hill Community Library where we explored, photographed and talked about our favorite shots taken that day.
Reflecting back on the day, it was much more engaging and interactive for both the instructors and the young artists. Being outside I think was a great way to open up; whether that be with our personalities or with the photos we were talking, we all began to feel much more comfortable with each other and were able to interact without hesitation. The young artists were enthusiastically to be able to show us parts of their community while we were able to express how to use a camera to pair with their excitement. While we did have to remind them about the camera wrist straps on a few occasions, their engaging attitudes made this session much more enjoyable.
I think a breakthrough with one of our young artist’s occurred when we allowed her to use her phone to photograph. She no longer realized she had to hold a camera in her hand in order to express herself; her pink phone could do the job too. One of the photographs she took through a playground element was so eye-catching that it was one of the highlights of the group for that session. I can still see the image in my head; while she photographed someone taking a photo of her with a camera, it was through a man-made log/tunnel. It was almost a lens in a lens with another lens at the end. It was a moment to realize that art and photography doesn’t have to come with a camera – in fact, it can come from anywhere.
Kurt Grunder, Providence College Class of 2017, Global Studies & French Double Major