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!!!