Friday, December 17, 2010

Visitor Comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus (December Update)

"I really got a feel for the neighborhood and for the very talented teenagers who put this project together."

"I enjoyed the poems about Trinidad and it's buildings.  All of the exhibits make me curious about meeting the people who live there."

"What a creative and collaborative effort from young minds. Thoroughly enjoyed the different ways you displayed your explorations. Bravo!"

"I was in this program and looking back on it, we did an amazing job" - Jasmine M. 

"We are awesome!" - Sherve B.

"Great exhibit! We live in Southwest and you did a great job capturing its spirit."

"This was really inspiring. It is always good to look at a city with a fresh perspective and you have provided me that.  Thank you and good luck. Don't stop taking pictures."

"Beautiful photographs and exhibit. Well structured and displayed. Lots of talent!" - visitor from South Africa. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visitor Comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus (Mid November Update)

"Wonderful photographs - great job conveying the spirit of the three communities!"

"My second time at the exhibit - still just as wonderful as two months ago!"

"Great! Tebrikler!" - visitor from Turkey

"I think everything done here is amazing and I wish there were more activities in the community for all the children to do things just like this to learn and to have fun."

"I am a resident of Trinidad. I was blown away with the projects created by the students. Magnificent work!"

"Excellent exhibit - wonderful work with middle school youth and great insights into community."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Visitor Comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus (End of October Update)

"Wonderful exhibit! The pride and artistic excitement is so apparent on each young person's face.  Thrilling!"

"Inspiring - the young voice of these kids, their curiosity, kindness, warms my heart."

"I love the crab!" - editor of the Southwester

"Congratulations to all involved in this project. Students, you did a wonderful job! Teachers, you did too.  Thank you for sharing your experience and talents."

"Really creative collaboration & unique design. Keep it up!"

"Great job! You are inspiring a citizen/artist/educator from San Francisco!"

"Great exhibit that reflects a lot of creativity and hard work! What a great way to highlight the neat elements in these neighborhoods. Well done!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Visitor Comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus (Mid October Update)

"Great! I did this program during the summer of 2001. It has improved a lot since then but still brings back great memories! At that time all we had was a posterboard in the hallway - now a whole exhibit! Congrats!"

"The green city grid backdrop is fabulous! I like how it extends onto the floor. Tape art! I also want a decoupage crab for my apartment."

"Great project! I will take this idea back to Los Angeles. So important to learn and to look!"

"Looks like a great experience for the students at many levels - photography, teamwork, neighborhood exposure, creating the exhibit, and proudly displaying their end product."

"Wonderful, explore more the city!"

"Very good! This is enchanting. I learned a lot about neighborhoods in DC I had not visited. Thanks!"

"It was really inspiring to come back to see all the hard work that my son and his teammates put in this summer come to life."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Visitor comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus! (End of Sept Update)

"The Riverfront approves!!"

"I visit this exhibit each year and I love seeing my city through the eyes of our young people. When my daughter is older, I would want her to participate in this program."

"I am proud that these students have learned the lessons of community and how to be great photographers."

"I live in SW DC and was pleasantly surprised to find an exhibit on my neighborhood. Nicely done!"

"This is most inspirational exhibit I've seen on my visit to DC. Thank you to the creators - the students." -visitor from Florida. 

"As a retired teacher from Baltimore, I love this exhibit!! What these children learned! And what talent they brought!"

"Thank you for showing me these three great neighborhoods of DC. We love them and will go looking for them."

"Great exhibition which shows Washington from a very different view from what tourists like me see usually. Thanks for this project." - visitor from Germany.

"We really enjoyed seeing this exhibition. I teach built environment at a high school in Sydney, Australia and do a walk through of neighborhoods with kids. Great display! Love all the details!" - visitor from Australia.

"Every school should do a project like this one!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Parkview neighborhood

One of the (many) great things about Investigsting Where We Live is that we often receive feedback and additional information about our neighborhoods from people in the city. We have people who write stories and additional facts in the guest book. People call us to give more information or send us emails. That connection to the communities is something that we really love, and continue to encourage. For example, once the exhibit comes down from the walls in the National Building Museum, we work with community members in each neighborhood to find a place to hang the photos so that they travel back to that community. We like that the process circles back around to the people who welcomed us in the first place.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Visitor comments & sketches from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus! (Mid-September Update)

"I am so impressed with the care you took to really examine these three areas around DC. You each showed a great "eye" for life in your photographs and descriptions of each view. And, to think, at your ages, you've had an art exhibit in a major museum!"

"Really cool, I can tell it took a lot of hard work to put this awesome exhibit together - be proud of yourselves." (visitor from San Francisco)

"I visit this exhibit each year and I love seeing my city through the eyes of our young people. When my daughter is older, I would want her to participate in this program. Congrats to teens & staff!"

"I am impressed with the displays showing diversity, acceptance, pride, and beauty of these communities."

"This was a great show; sometimes stunning in the poetry & photography. The show gives me great hope for the future for these young people and their neighborhoods." (visitor from San Francisco)

"Thanks! I live across the river in Arlington and enjoyed learning more about DC communities."

"This is one of the more amazing kid driven exhibits I've seen. Just goes to show there is such beauty in every part of DC."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Visitor comments & sketches from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus!

"The images, captions, and poetry blew me away. I am incredibly impressed with all efforts which went into this project! I hope more projects like this will go on in the future. Continue to capture the essence of our city and you will continue to make it a beautiful place to call home."

"Exhibition on Petworth is timely and accurate. A general need of preserving affordable housing not just there but nation/world wide."

"A thoroughly inspiring show. Thank you for putting an idea in my mind for the small town where I live."

"This was really a interesting and very well done exhibit. The project was a great idea & the kids did terrific things - some cool pictures and mixed media deserve to stay here for good!"

"What a great exhibit! I love that the young people involved created an intrinsically multimedia experience that includes film, art, sound, and photography - and combined it all so seamlessly. It creates a larger metaphor that truly shows the importance of place."

"What a great exhibit! I used to live in Petworth so it was interesting to see another take on it!"

"This is excellent! The tree makes me want to make a family tree or scrapbook tree of vacations on the stairway wall at home to liven it up! Great job on the crab too!"
"This is a good way to learn about DC neighborhoods!"

"Job well done. You all put your heart and soul into it and made something beautiful, it shows."

"This looks absolutely amazing! The models and multimedia are so impressive this year. It really looks like you all had a lot of fun!" (from a 2008 IWWL intern)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visitor comments from IWWL: Three Communities in Focus

"Excellent artwork! I was moved, as a DC resident, seeing the different side to the neighborhoods. I hope they keep up with photography and poety."

"One of the most amazing kids' programs and exhibits I've ever seen! Great photography."

"Great photos, especialy Petworth Pine" and "Old & Withered". "Greenhouse Effect" - very interesting composition. Talented youth - you are the future!"

"Thanks to NBM & participants. I dropped in to see the lego exhibit but it was sold out. Fortunately, I got more than I bargained for by coming into the 2010 IWWL exhibit. GREAT perspective on our city. What incredible talent & creative eyes, ears, and hands for our benefit."

"Excellent! Talented Kids! Their eyes see DC. They're minds see an even better DC. May their hands and hearts make a better DC."

"As a photographer and someone who has enjoyed teaching children, especially about the environment, I find this exhibit inspiring."

"I swear my eyes are watering right now. This is an awesome project! The artistry of these kids is fantastic! Please keep this project up."

"My 3 kids and I love this exhibit. Seeing these neighborhoods through the eyes of other children. These communities are very different from our community yet the children have so much in common. Love the beauty..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Looking back and looking forward

Reading my colleagues’ latest entries, everyone is amazed at how quickly the summer has passed. My reaction is no different. July is always such a whirlwind, but each year I turn around and the participants have produced another great, innovative, creative show.

This year the Trinidad team had to endure a long journey even to get to our neighborhood. We took the Metro and walked 20 minutes each way; we took the X2 bus and were crammed up against strangers; we even took school bus that broke down on our way back to the Museum. We did all this in order to accurately document and understand the neighborhood and talk to the residents in it. Everyone was a trooper as we trudged through the heat and humidity, and I appreciate their dedication!

The exhibit brainstorming and planning process, which is always a long process, went really well. All of the students had strengths that added to the final product. Cynthia and Josephine made some amazing mural paintings on our wall. Al’Asia and Bryant produced some fantastic writings. Malik and Kareem used their collage and interview skills to produce a neat station about our journey to and from Trinidad. Lindsey. Arianna, and Cierra used their steady hands to help cut photos for the interactive, and mattes for the photos and writings. Zac and Keenan painstakingly represented some of the buildings in Trinidad through models for our 3D map. Everyone functioned as a team and created a great exhibit.

I always look back fondly and a little sadly at the time in IWWL. It is crazy and busy, and it leaves you no time to rest, but it creates such a wonderful sense of camaraderie and friendship that I am sad to see go. Fortunately I am in the position to experience this program each summer. We can never recreate the same experience year to year, but each one stands alone, a unique and special moment in time.

Thanks again to all the participants, Team Leaders, and volunteers. You did a fantastic job!

Is It Really the End?

It's weird to think that IWWL has ended for the summer. The exhibit though, is up in the gallery and will be running until mid January. Three Communities in Focus has drawn so many visitors that we even needed to place a gallery attendant in the gallery space! It was great to experience the exhibition opening this past Friday with a large crowd consisting of family and friends of our participants and even community members.

IWWL has been such a great experience for me. I was able to meet such a variety of people from NBM staff members, volunteers, local photographers, and our teens. I learned a lot about communication and leadership while working with my neighborhood group. To think that in 12 days, as a group, we explored, brainstormed, designed, and created the amazing exhibit that exists today. There were some challenging moments, but in the end I am so proud of our accomplishments! I am also grateful to know more about D.C. and it's unique neighborhoods. I've become more curious about my surroundings and find myself exploring areas I wouldn't necessarily have prior to my time in IWWL.

I encourage everyone to visit the exhibit or even our facebook and flickr page if you aren't near by.

Looking Back...

Taking a look back on the past month, I can't believe how quickly time flew by! It is unbelivable the amount of work and dedication it took on the part of the students to complete such an involved undertaking as: documenting a site with mulitiple forms of media, developing as a team an exhibition design, and also installing the entire show in two days. I have experience working in groups of young, established artists to mount an exhibition - trust me, it's no easy task. This experience, by contrast, was marked by the ease of transition from design to installation. The students came up with original and engaging ideas for the display of the photography and writing as well as for the interactive elements. This involved mounting writings behind corresponding photos which flipped up, using paint and vinyl to make a map of Petworth that went from the wall onto the floor, and allowing visitors to write on flowers that could be "transplanted" to another section of the exhibition. The exhibition as a whole looks fantastic, and I believe it to be a sophisticated conversion of documentation and design to exhibition display.

I greatly enjoyed by experience working on Investigating Where We Live. I learned a great deal about working in teams in a leadership capactiy with different people of different ages. I also was able to learn more about the history of D.C. and some of its often looked-over neighborhoods. IWWL has re-emphasized to me that art has a unique power to create change, both personally and socially. Best wishes to everyone and always remember to remain critical of your surroundings!

Thoughts on IWWL

Participating in IWWL this summer has been a great experience. Not only has it been a joy teaching the students, I learned so much from them as well! From teaching me how to use a drill to telling me what TV shows are popular, I learned a great deal from the students. I also enjoyed learning more about Washington, D.C. If I had not done this program, I probably never would have gone to the Southwest Waterfront. However, I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn about this fascinating community. I loved getting fresh seafood at the fish market, walking along the Potomac River, and discovering some of the oldest buildings still standing in D.C.

I had so many wonderful moments with this program, it’s hard to pick just a few to share. Every day the creativity of our students amazed me. I loved hearing the great ideas the students come up with when we were brainstorming for the exhibit. I was also touched to see how dedicated our students were. When we gave them activities to do, such as building houses out of recycled materials or creating tourism posters, the students poured themselves in the projects, often asking for more time to work so they could do their best. After our site visits I loved looking at all of the great photographs the students took. Although they only got to have two or three photos in the exhibit, they took hundreds of amazing photographs. To see more check out our flickr account at

So come see the results of IWWL by checking out our exhibit at the National Building Museum. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed!

Yay Southwest Waterfront!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Opening Night!

Last night the 2010 IWWL exhibit officially opened to the public.  The National Building Museum is open open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Come see the results of all our hard work!  Below are some pictures from the big night-

Congratulations Everyone!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I love my job!

I title this "I love my job," because no other place would I be helping to paper mache a giant crab one day and painting a mural the next. But it's not all arts and crafts. Yesterday I was on my hands and knees scrubbing paint off the gallery floor and sweeping- happily of course! :) But I've never had a job of which my responsibilities include everything from curriculum writing, teaching, mentoring, and getting my hands dirty. Thank you NBM!

The fourth week of IWWL is probably the most hectic of the program, but it's the most exciting as it's the week of the big reveal. Tonight we'll finally see all of the students' creative ideas and hard work make the gallery space come alive. I look forward to spending this evening with the IWWL participants, staff, volunteers, and members of the NBM community. I apologize for the lack of photos in this post, but I don't want to give too much away- you'll have to come see it for yourself!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pulling Together the Exhibit

Today the IWWL students continued to work on their projects for the exhibit.  The exhibit opens this Friday, July 30th, at 6:00!

When reflecting on today James, from the Petworth group, wrote,
"Today I had a great experience.  I learned more about painting and cutting.  I also learned more about making flowers.  All I have to say is that it was a constructive day."

Levi wrote,
"What I like about IWWL is working on the exhibit and making the paper mache crab for the wall. It is super fun because I’m working with friends and doing my favorite thing which is tearing up paper and letting out my anger on the paper. I don’t know why I need to be angry because IWWL is funnn!!!!!!!!"

Thanks for all your had work everyone!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Josh: Reflections on IWWL From A Volunteer

Working with the IWWL this summer has been a very rewarding experience.  I have enjoyed making new friends and working as a team with the other leaders and students.  I was very unsure what to except as a volunteer, but my experience has far exceeded anything I could have expected.  IWWL is an amazing program, unlike anything I have expected.  I am sad that our time together is almost over, but I am so anxious to see the fruit of all the students hard work! I can't wait for the IWWL exhibit opening on Friday July 30th, at 6:00!

Southwest Gets Creative

Southwest worked hard today to pull together our exhibit.  They put in a ton of effort, so we wanted to share some of the great projects they completed today. 

Denae created a beautiful model of Southwest Rowhouses.  Other group members helped her throughout the day.  Here they are hard at work: 

Denae and Sherve'

Denae works away

                                                                        All finished!

Rachel and London worked on the map with our volunteer Josh:

Imani: Reactions from the Jurors

Today the panel suggested captioning our pictures.  The advice they gave us will help people understand our pictures and why they are there.  They liked what we had so they really didn't suggest that we change anything. 

Cierra: Juror Feedback

I am in group Trinidad.  The panelists told us that we did a good job but they also gave us a few suggestions.  They said that we should make sure that our exhibit is clear to the viewers.  So if there are photos grouped in any kind of way the viewer will notice that.  The jurors also wanted us to makes  sure that our title fit in or will describe the exhibit.  The panelist giving us suggestions helped us go back and fix things that we didn't see before.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Denae: Finalizing Our Exhibit

Today I had fun.  SW Waterfront, Trinidad, and Petworth got to do hands on artwork and make different ideas.  I got to make a model of row houses.  My group members in Southwest Waterfront had lots of other great ideas.  We also talked about how we were going to design the exhibit to show the families from other places what we have done.  We also picked out pictures that were very strong for the exhibit.

Bryant: Exhibit Work Day

Today my Trinidad group members and I did various tasks that needed to be completed, in order to get our exhibit ideas finalized.  First, we made our final decisions on which photos we were going to include in our exhibit.  Our final photo selection process was very simple because we all had a good idea of what we wanted to show in our exhibit.  Next, we worked on giving our exhibit a title.  This task was also very simple because my group as a whole came together to decide on our title.  Finally, our group separated into small groups, where each group had a different task to work on.  My small group had to come up with the writing piece we each wanted to put in the exhibit.  This was the most difficult task of all because instead of doing it as a group, we had to complete it individually.  Today, we completed a lot of things that needed to be done in order to pull our exhibit together. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Leia: My thoughts on the Exhibit Design

After three weeks of site visits and helpful workshops, it's finally exhibit construction time!  In the Petworth group we noticed that many of our pictures were simply of things you would see as you took a walk through Petworth.  So why not have "a stroll through Petworth" as our theme?  We also noticed that there was a lot of construction, or "rebirth" in Petworth.  So we are trying to decide which one of these themes to use for our exhibit.  We are thinking about ways to make our exhibit eye catching, like using bright colors and catchy titles.  We also want to include interactive pieces in our exhibit, like maybe comment books where people could express their feelings on our exhibit and Petworth, or maybe even a little section where we give the people a picture and they have to construct that building or house out of legos.  We're thinking and planning hard, and I look forward to seeing what our final presentation will look like. 

Shervé and Brianna: Ideas for the Exhibit

"My ideas for the exhibit are to make a giant paper-mâché crab and to make pop art.  Hopefully these will be assets to our exhibit." - Shervé, Southwest Waterfront

"I want the Petworth exhibit to have a hands on part.  We can have a picture of a building in Petworth and have people build it with legos."         
 - Brianna Morgan, Petworth.

The Clock is Ticking...

...and there is not much time left. Even under the time contraints, I was very impressed with all of the ideas and work done today. In the Petworth group we were able to: make a final decision on our theme/title, decide on a final photo layout, make plans to incorporate a map of Petworth on the exhibit wall (and floor!), as well as begin work on our interactive piece. A great deal of work got accomplished, but that does not mean that there is any slowing down for the group. As we move forward, there will be more work done on writing captions/titles for each of the photos and determining their sizes, finishing up on the interactive work, and doing a writing piece for each team member for one of their photos in the show.

Next week will be the installation of all our hard work and preparation! I hope that everyone in Petworth is ready to have a hands-on experience with installing an exhibition. In my mind, it is aguably the most fun aspect of the process. There is nothing more amazing than seeing one of your concepts be put into form and made visible for others to see. Countdown til the 30th....(!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Superhero Day!

Once a week we have a theme day.  Thursday's theme was Superhero Day!  The photos below show how creative the staff and students got with their costumes-

Superhero Students and Staff!

Cat Woman and Ninja

Garden Woman, J Tel. and Ninja

Superhero Staff

Human Alphabet!

Here at IWWL it isn't all work and no play. On Tuesday we played an icebreaker game called the human alphabet, where participants create letters with their bodies. Then we all came together to spell IWWL. Here are some photos showing the fun-

Sketch by Jasmine

Here is a beautiful sketch done by Jasmine, of the Petworth group:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Josh: Museum Visit and Exhibition Design

We went to two exhibits yesterday at the Smithsonian American History Museum.  One was about the Apollo Theatre, and the other was about the history of a house called "Within these Walls".  I liked the house exhibit much better.  It had A LOT more color than Apollo, and also had more interactive things. I  also noticed that Within these Walls had  a temperature that was just right.  It was not too cold or too hot, it was perfect.

I have several ideas for the Southwest Waterfront exhibit design.  The first thing is that I don't want the room to be too hot or cold.  I think it would be cool to incorporate a temperature (or fan) that makes you feel near the ocean.  We need LOTS of interactive things so its fun for kids and it's not just reading.  When we were in the exhibit "Drawing Towards Home"  a man and two boys came in.  The boys were about eight and ten.  While the dad was looking around, I noticed that the kids were playing and that they were obviously bored.  I don't want that to be the case with our exhibit.  I want kids five and up enjoying it and actually paying attention. 

Janelle: Exhibit Design

Today was day eight of IWWL. We didn't go on any site visits today. In the morning, we came up with ideas, titles, and themes for our exhibit. Later, a curator from the National Museum of African American History & Culture visited us and gave us tips for creating our exhibit. After lunch, we all went out to museums to see different types of exhibits. I have some ideas for the IWWL Petworth exhibit. It would be called "Petworth: Changing Community." There would be some pictures of construction, churches, gardens, and, well, all of the types of pictures that we took. But those are just my ideas and I'm sure there are others.

Team Trinidad - Writings from Day 9

"Diversity, historic, and community. Just three little words that mean a lot toTrinidad. Whether it's through the gardens, the houses, or the people, Trinidad is the place to be."

"Trinidad. A historical community with diversity like no other neighborhood. A colorful town that at times is opposite of itself. A place where neighbors are as close as family."

"Trinidad offers a close and friendly community, a diverse collection of buildings, places and people. There is evidence of history that still shows today.  Walking along the tranquil streets in the residential community, present are an array of widely colored houses, one after another, including unique gardens in front of each. People are friendly and welcoming, and each of their houses represent different personalities and character. Trinidad shows through its residents' homes and buildings that it is reshaping into a much more active community."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cynthia: What I want People to Know about Trinidad

The thing that stood out to me the most about Trinidad were the gardens in almost every yard, the houses themselves, and the people that live there.

In the rows of houses almost identical in structure, the residents have planted flowers, trees, and interesting plants including cacti and bamboo.  It shows how each resident personalizes and expresses themselves in the neighborhood. 

Not only are the gardens unique to each house, but the brick homes themselves are painted in an array of colors, from blues to yellows; it really makes Trinidad a diverse community.  Not only are the homes diverse, but also the people that live there.  There are younger families and older residents, and they are all very friendly people, which makes the community even closer.  Trinidad is a humble, friendly, and unique environment.

Here are some pictures Cynthia has taken in Trinidad:

Gianni: Interview Day

From the interviews I learned that the neighborhood of Petworth wasn't what I thought it was.  I thought it would be a quiet suburb but now that I see and hear what it's like my view has changed.  I also learned that there are 3-4 schools and lots of construction so they can improve the neighborhood of Petworth.

Here is a photo Gianni took in Petworth-

Max: What Community Means to Me

Community is all about the people in a neighborhood interacting and working together.  Many things make up communities.  People, houses, schools, and recreation centers are all important parts of a community.  I have observed that communities can be very diverse.  In Petworth, there are a lot of historical sites and green areas, but there is also a lot of new development.  Instead of clashing, these two themes work well together in making the community very interesting and different.  There are large old churches preserved in the area, and also new shops opening up.  This diversity is part of Petworth's community identity. 

Rachel: What People Should Know about Southwest Waterfront

I want people to know that the Southwest Waterfront is one of the most neighborly and welcoming areas in Washington, D.C.  Not only is it filled with beautiful settings, but it also has a hidden allurement found in the people living there.  Every resident I've talked to clearly believes that the waterfront is the most charming area in the District, because it offers something for everyone.  Like Seafood? Run down to the fish market for a very unique but entertaining lunch or dinner.  Like boating?  Get your permit and rent out a boat with some buddies.  Southwest also offers many recreation centers for children and teens, as well as the pride and support given by all of the gracious people living in Southwest.  Southwest has a story of its own and I'm thankful for being able to witness it. 

Here are some photos Rachel has taken in Southwest Waterfront-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ria: Volunteer Instructor

Volunteering for IWWL is a lot of fun for the instructors. The students are wonderful, personable, and engaged. I love seeing the sketches and photos, and talking with them about their thoughts and design process. I like to hear about what they see through their photographers' eyes. The museum staff are terrific and have made me feel very welcome. Volunteering at NBM is a rewarding experience.

Amira: Petworth Reflections

After our last site visit and particularly the interview with Prince of Petworth, I gathered that Petworth, for the people who live there, has a strong a sense of community. People sit out on their porches and talk to neighbors. When you walk down any of Petworth's residential streets people are greeting each other and pitching in to help someone carry their groceries. Many people support Georgia Avenue's new development, but some hope for less chains, shops, and restaurants, and more local businesses. Petworth is also considered a place of work and pleasure. People commute from other neighborhoods to go to work and bring their children to the new water park. In fact, most people getting off the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro stop aren't residents. To sum up, Petworth is an appealing neighborhood for its residents and its visitors.

Here are some photos Amira took in Petworth:

Keenan: Thoughts on Trinidad

Last week, in week two of IWWL, I had a lot fun making new friends, doing educational activities, and traveling to my respective neighborhood, Trinidad.  I learned a lot about Trinidad, and the people that live there, during my site visit.

Here are two photos Keenan took in Trinidad:

Community Identity Lesson

During the 2nd week of IWWL Breck and I led our community identity lesson we collaboratively planned. We got the ball rolling by a group discussion by asking the students what community means to them. Through a word map I asked them to identity different elements that make up a community. We discussed how each of the elements work together and also the affects of internal and external factors.The students had strong perspectives about the importance of community and the relationship between the various parts. I was pleasantly surprised at how vocal the students were during the lesson. We have a lot of really bright kids.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beyond the Fish Market in SW

These last two weeks have flown by. It's hard to believe that by the end of next week everyone will shift their focus to getting the exhibit ready!

This week the SW Waterfront group had the opportunity to learn a bit more about SW beyond the the famous Fish Market. They interviewed community members who live, work, and/or volunteer in Southwest. On Thursday, the coolest day of the year by far, we split into three groups. One group met with J. Nickerson of the Gangplank Marina, one group met with Rachel Swan of Arena Stage, and the last group met with Paul Taylor who volunteers at the King-Greenleaf Recreation Center. I accompanied the group of students who visited the community center to meet Paul Taylor, which ended up being an enlightening and insightful experience for all of us.

Keana: What is Community

Keana wrote:

To me a community is a group of people, working together to make their neighborhood a nicer place.  If and when a community works together they can all be aware of events, news, and other things.  The people of a community help each other out, just like one big family. 

The students of IWWL made collages illustrating what their own communities are like.  They were all hung up in the classroom to make one giant community collage.  Here is a photo of that collage-

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Al'Asia- Photo Review Pointers

Al'Asia learned the following from the photo review-

From the photo review today I learned that when taking a photo you have to make sure you don't take a photo of empty space, but more of what your focus is.  I also learned that when taking a photo you have to think about the story behind it.  You have to think about what made you want to take a photo of your subject.  I will use this by making sure I take my pictures from different angles.  This also teaches me to not be afraid of communicating with people so that I can get a closer shot.  This is what I've learned from the photo review.

Here are some of Al'Asia's photos of Trinidad-

Kareem: What I learned from Photo Review

On Tuesday students went through a photo review with professional photographers and the IWWL staff to get feedback on their work so far.  Kareem, age 12, wrote that he learned the following from this process:

I learned texture, rule of thirds, and how to shoot in different angles.  I also learned how to use vertical lines. 

Here are two photos Kareem took in Trinidad-

Jasmine: First Impressions of Petworth

My first impression of Petworth was that it was quiet and peaceful.  People weren't in a hurry; everything was slow and calm.  I also thought that Petworth was being modernized.  It seemed like someone was doing construction on every other street.  Petworth is also green and environmentally friendly.  Everywhere you go you see so many plants and trees and flowers.  Everything is so colorful and bright, it almost makes you want to move there.  I really like Petworth and I am looking forward to going back soon!

Here are some photos Jasmine took of Petworth-

Levi: Creative Writing Response

Levi, age 11, is part of the Southwest Waterfront group.  He wrote a creative response to some of the photos he took of the Fish Market-

Some fishermen went fishing once and cought some red fish and they caught something weird.  It was a weird fish.  So a fisherman named Bob took it to the fish market to check it out.  The fish market didn't know what it was.  Bob said "I'll name it Bobby Jack."  They played together.  Bobby Jack pinched Bob's nose.  Bob said, "Bobby Jack you're in danger, don't do it again."  One day the power went out and Bob was hungry.  His generator came on and he got a big pot, and put it to boil.  He grabbed Bobby Jack and said sorry old buddy.  Bob cooked him and steam fried him and ate Bobby Jack joyfully. 

The Best Way to Spend the Summer!

Hello everyone! My name is Jamee and I am the Outreach Programs Coordinator for the National Building Museum.  This summer I'm the lead instructor for Investigating Where We. I've worked at the Museum since 2005. I am originally from a small town in Oklahoma but have called DC home for the past five years. 

My job is fun, challenging, and rewarding. I work with teens. The best part about my job is that we, the Museum, see students grow up with us, right in front of our eyes. They spend two years to seven years with our programs. This Museum is a place where teens hang out, they know the staff, and they are made to feel welcome all the time.

Students who come through NBM programs leave with a better understanding of how they can help create positive change in their communities and also how their communitiy contributes to the overall health of the city. It's really cool to see students have such ownership of their city but also be able to discuss ways in which it can improve.  I think Jasmine, a participant in Outreach Programs for three years, explains the experience well.

“At first (three years ago), IWWL was simply a cool summer camp. Now that I have learned more about the city where I live, the areas such as Brookland and Columbia Heights are not just places on the Metro map to me. I have learned what makes them a big and important part of the DC landscape.” Jasmine – age 15

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Josephine: First Impressions of Trinidad

On our site visit to Trinidad, I saw a few things I had never seen before. On the way there, I noticed a lot of construction and noise. I also heard a lot of sirens. While walking towards Trinidad, there weren't many poeple.

However, once we entered the neighborhood the first thing I noticed was the style of the houses. All of the buildings were very old fashioned, but also very colorful and different. There was a lot of plant life and a lot of flowers and trees.

Joshua: Beauty and the Beast

Josh, age 12, took this photograph is Southwest Waterfront-

Today Josh wrote a poem about the photograph in his sketchbook:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Diamonte': What I learned about photography

I learned that there is alot more to a photo then just a picture. The rule of thirds helps you balance out your picture. Also you can use leading lines to help guide you from one image to another image in the photo. Another unique thing about photos is the variety of framing you can fit into a picture. This is most of what I learned at this camp. I am looknig forward to learning more about what is in store for the camp.

Here are some of Diamonte's IWWL photos of Petworth-

Team Trinidad: Week 1

The first week has already passed, which is hard to believe. Before I know it, the exhibit will open and the summer will end. Taking care of the basics for the program, like learning about the classroom and getting to know names, is always a little stressful and time consuming, but we’ve transitioned to thinking about our neighborhoods and getting to know each other better. That’s the enjoyable part of the program.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jasmine: What I'm looking forward to in IWWL

I'm looking forward to taking a lot of photos, having fun, and making lots of new friends. Even though I have been doing IWWL for three years, each and every year I meet new people and make good friends. IWWL is the best time I have during the summer.

Zac: What I'm looking forward to about IWWL

During this year of IWWL, the thing that I am most looking foward to is the week of exhibition preparation. I enjoy that week the most, because I absolutely love to design and create things. Since I personally work better under stress, knowing that lots of people will see our exhibit forces me to work harder and do my best.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tourist Theme Day!

Today was the first day of Investigating Where We Live. I think I can speak for all the staff when I saw we were very happy with how well the first day went, and excited that we got to meet all of the students. We are looking forward to working with everyone!

For our first day we had a "tourist theme". As we explore our neighborhoods, we need to think like tourists. We need to be inquestive, take lots of pictures, and be ready to learn about what we see. Also, mostly tourists will be seeing our exhibit once it is completed, so we need to keep our audience in mind. To convey this idea to the students all of the staff decided to dress up like tourists. We wore "I love DC Shirts" and Jamee had a snazzy red visor. We even wore the classic fanny packs!
Thanks for a great first day everyone!

Team Petworth

Hey!! My name is Sarah-Guyton Runnels, and I am an intern with Investigating Where We Live. I was born and raised in a small, southern town in Mississippi. When I was a senior in high school, my family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I am currently a senior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia studying Visual Communications and Hospitality, Restaurant, Tourism Management. I plan to pursue a career in photography and design. This is my first time ever living in a big city, and I am quickly learning my way around. The metro and I recently became friends and I am determined to keep this relationship strong. HA!

When Breck and I visited Petworth I was really surprised how quiet it was. This area really is a "porch community." There are literally hundreds of porch homes where the people of this community can sit and take in this amazing area. The colorful flowers, birds chirping, children playing, and beautiful homes really makes this a hidden treasure within DC. I can't wait to further explore this area with my team!

I am looking forward to meeting all of you!!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet the Petworth Team Leader

Hey there, my name is Breck Furnas and I am the Team Leader for the Petworth group. I moved back to D.C. last December, having left for Chicago in 2005, and I'm constantly amazed at how quickly the city is changing. In the not so distant past, Petworth was not on the map of places to visit. I honestly was not sure what to expect on my first foray into perusing Petworth. Maybe I would find a neighborhood exclusively composed of older homes? Would there be very many businesses? What was the seemingly isolated Rock Creek Cemetery, dating back from 1719, going to be like?

My first and second visits answered some of these questions for me. I was fairly shocked to walk out of the Metro to find large-scale condos and new construction work going on along Georgia Avenue. While walking up Georgia Ave, I found a handful of restaurants, shops, and the lovely Qualia cafe (highly recommend the coffee!). The area along Georgia felt very much in transistion. There seemed to be some businesses closing down, some very old, and some that had just opened. Heading east deeper into the neighborhood, I was struck by how quiet it was: no traffic on the residential streets, few people on the ubiquitous porches that are apart of nearly every home, and only a small number of young people. The quiet allowed me to focus on the beautiful and often historic architecture:
It was also hot, hot, hot. For everyone on all teams - be sure to bring your water bottle!

Some thoughts on Southwest Waterfront...

I have visited SW Waterfront three times now, and each time I find something new that greatly interests me. The neighorhood is truly diverse. Located right on the Potomac, SW Waterfront has beautiful views of the water. A thriving marina and houseboat community is located right off shore. Walk into the community a little further, and it becomes entirley different. Shady tree lined streets are filled with wonderful examples of mid-century modern architecture. Lauren and I found a rowhouse complex called River Park that is decorated with aluminum trim, and towering apartment buildings with funky facades. The east side of the community is steeped in history. On our last visit we found Randall Jr. High, where Marvin Gaye attended. Now vacant, there are plans to develop it as a hotel/art gallery. Syphax school, operated from 1902 to 1994, has been remodeled as condos, a great example of the historic preservation technique of rehabilitation and reuse. I can't wait to share what Lauren and I have found with our students.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Meet the Southwest Waterfront Team Leader

Hello! I am Lauren Wilson the Team Leader for the Southwest Waterfront group. I'll be working with the Waterfront Writer, aka Mary Cameron, to lead our group of teens on an exploration of this diverse neighborhood. I led the Columbia Heights team last year, and I am excited to return to IWWL this year.

I grew up in Maryland and have lived in the DC area for 3 years now and this week was the first time I actually walked around the waterfront in SW. It's very quiet, the water is beautiful, and the architecture is rather unique. I'm looking forward to exploring this neighborhood's fascinating history and learning more about future redevelopment plans.

Here are some pictures I've taken this week:

If anyone knows how I can live on a house boat, please let me know.

Mid-morning during the week is a great time to visit the Maine Ave fish market.

River Park Apartments on M Street.

Mural on the Randall Junior High School building.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meet Team Trinidad!

Hey there. My name is Vinita and I am one of the interns for Investigating Where We Live. I'm working with team leader Andrew where we will explore Trinidad with the IWWL participants. I am studying Interior Design at Virginia Commonwealth University and have always been curious with how people interact with their environments. When I visited Trinidad with Andrew we saw a lot of residents relaxing on their porches who greeted us back as we passed by. I was also impressed to learn the neighborhood uses gardening as an outlet to beautify and encourage the growth of the community.

As we get closer to the start of the program, I get more and more excited to work with the teens and share the experience of environmental exploration. Now, if only Mother Nature cooperates....

Some of my first shots:

Interesting contrast between these two developments

Capital City Diner on Bladensburg Rd. NE

Meet the Trinidad Team Leader

My name is Andrew. I've been a Team Leader for Investigating Where We Live three times now - in Deanwood, in the U Street Corridor, and now in Trinidad. Each summer I learn more about the city I've called home for over four years, and more about how to explore it with a group of teens and middle schoolers. I've enjoyed seeing Trinidad because it has such a great neighborhood feel that I don't necessarily always experience where I live in Columbia Heights. If you live in the neighborhood and see a sweaty group of teens and adults, say hi!

Who is Waterfront Writer?

Hi my name is Mary Cameron aka Waterfront Writer. I am interning with the National Building Museum this summer. During the school year I am a grad student in Art History at American University. I am working with Lauren Wilson on exploring the Southwest Waterfront. We have already visited the neighborhood twice, and I am looking forward to taking the students there.

Here are some pictures I've taken in Southwest so far-

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Evolution of Petworth- Photographic Comparisons

See how Petworth has changed. The color photographs are from Google Map streetview. The black and white photos date from the 1920s, and are courtesy of the Washington, DC Historical Society.

New Hampshire Avenue (L) and Rock Creek Church Road , 2010

New Hampshire Avenue (L) and Rock Creek Church Road, 1927

Friday, June 11, 2010

Southwest Waterfront- From Alley Houses to Condos

The Southwest Waterfront area is bounded by Interstate 395 to the north, Washington Channel to the west, the Anacostia River to the south, and South Capitol Street to the east. Southwest is the smallest of Washington's four quadrants, and Southwest Waterfront is one of only two residential neighborhoods in the quadrant; the other being Bellevue. Southwest Waterfront lies in Ward Six and is represented to the D.C. council by Tommy Wells.

Trinidad...The One in DC

Trinidad is bound by Gallaudet University, Mount Olivet Road, Florida Avenue and Bladensburg Avenue. The community consists of 700 two-story, brick row houses with porches, including about 350 government-subsidized houses and apartments located in the eastern section of the neighborhood.[1] Trinidad is located in Ward 5, and is represented by Harry Thomas, Jr. The neighborhood was primarily a residential community until the mid 1970s, when a commercial development boom created a hodgepodge of retail stores, used car lots and waste facilities.

An Introduction to Petworth

Petworth is a residential neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. It is bounded by Georgia Avenue to the West, North Capitol Street to the East, Rock Creek Church to the South, and Kennedy Street NW to the north (see map). The neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of townhouses and single-family homes. Petworth is part of Ward 4, which is represented in the D.C. Council by Muriel Bowser. According to Muriel Browser’s website, residents describe Petworth as a charming and historical neighborhood with great neighborhood attractions, such as the Petworth Library and the Petworth Recreation Center. One resident describes the neighborhood as a “a typical Ward 4 community that is slowly developing into a diverse neighborhood. Young families are frequently spotted strolling through the neighborhood visiting each other or eating dinner at a local restaurant.”Another resident explains, “In downtown Petworth, [visitors] will find a neighborhood under construction and revitalization, making lots of changes for the better, making things look cleaner and newer. In Petworth north of the Metro, they will find a very friendly neighborhood, increasingly diverse, where residents are proud.” This secure and stable community is quickly becoming one of the most popular in the Ward thanks to its combination of urban access and neighborhood feel. Over $380 million is being invested in new development around the metro station over the next several years, including more than 1,000 residential units and nearly 80,000 square feet of new retail opportunities.[1]

Welcome to IWWL- 2010

Hello, and thank you for stopping by the IWWL Blog. The 2010 program will begin June 29th. In the meantime, we are going to provide some background on the three neighborhoods we are exploring this year- Petworth, Trinidad, and Southwest Waterfront.