Neighborhood

Reflections on a School Partnership

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  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

  • Photo: Erin Hylton

Students at the Children’s Storefront School, an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem, are exploring the many applications of photography this semester. The Studio Museum in Harlem’s ongoing exhibitions serve as the starting point for our inquiries. After looking closely and discussing works on display, the students develop their own images in response. Beginning with portrait photography, students learn to compose a strong image that visually communicates some aspect of their own identity or those of their subjects. Their first portraits were straightforward and candid. The images they made for the second portrait evolved into imaginative expressions of their creative selves.

In our screen printing project, students used imagery from iconic photographs to develop collages and prints. They incorporated photographic elements with drawing, stenciling, and vibrant color choices.  In true collaborative spirit, the lead teacher, Matthais Leutrum, and I communicate about which approaches work and strategize ways to expand the students’ view of themselves in the world. 

I enjoy developing curriculum and watching it come to life through the students’ enthusiasm for the materials, the originality of their ideas and the way they work together. It is exciting to see them learn that they are capable of more than they knew before, and decide to push themselves even further.

Monique Schubert is an artist and arts educator based in New York. She has been working with The Studio Museum in Harlem's Education department since 2006.