Photography Initiative Looks at Calgary’s Impoverished

May 27th, 2010 by Victoria Peterson

After months of hard work and dedication, participants of the United Way’s Urban Exposure Project will not only get to showcase their art, but also their understanding of the poverty spread throughout Calgary.

On Thursday, June 3rd, the project will hold it’s annual photography gala at Wallace Galleries, culminating six months of education, exploration and discovery.

The Urban Exposure Project was created last year by the United Way’s 2335 Initiative, a group of 23-35 year olds who wanted to engage and contribute to social issues within the community. The aim of the project was create personal connections with the issue of poverty in their community while developing their photography skills.

“There are a number of ways one can be impoverished,” project coordinator and co-chair of the 2335 Initiative Rhiannon MacDonnell said. “We wanted to give them a opportunity to see that in an engaging, enlightening manner.”

Beginning in January, the project had its 16 participants partake in lectures on the root causes of poverty, service learning with various aid agencies throughout the city and technical photography classes.

During this process, participants documented their learning in photographs and have chosen the prints they feel best convey the issue of poverty at a local level.

MacDonnell said the project was an outstanding success in terms of both the technical photography skills and the participants gaining an understanding of just how far-reaching poverty is within the community.

“It is really encouraging to see people connect with an issue that touches thousands of Calgarians and gain a deeper understanding of the roots of poverty. It has been incredible.”

This year, all photography displayed will be able to be purchased with proceeds going to offsetting costs incurred by the development of the exhibit. Entry into the gallery is free but donations are accepted and appreciated.

Location: Wallace Galleries (500 5th Ave SW)

Time: Thursday, June 3, 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Photo Credit: George Mach

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