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