What happens when you put 35mm cameras and audio recording equipment in the hands of youth, teach them a little about looking at the world like a folklorist and invite them to turn their attention to their communities? The result is Voices of Youth, an interactive, community-based photography and audio project that was designed to place area teenagers in closer touch with their communities.
Implemented in 1998 and 2000 in Northeastern Nevada and Fresno, California, Voices of Youth gave teenagers an opportunity to learn more about their neighbors, friends, family and themselves through the art of photography and audio recording for radio production. Art coach Bruce Hucko, radio producer and aural historian Jack Loeffler, and film and audio producer Chris Simon worked with Western Folklife Center and Fresno Arts Council folklorist staff to implement this program.
From this program, the Western Folklife Center developed the Voices of Youth traveling exhibition, which featured black and white and hand-tinted photographs and an accompanying CD resulting from two years of the program in rural northeastern Nevada. The photographs and recordings reflect the varying concepts of community experienced by program participants. Their creative work conveys a sense of place, telling about the land and the people who work it through stories, conversations, and music.
Voices of Youth was presented as part of the Nevada Touring Initiative’s Traveling Exhibition Program, a new project of the Nevada Arts Council, made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Challenge America Program and through partnerships with the Nevada Museum of Art and Western Folklife Center. The Nevada Touring Initiative is designed to increase access to cultural events and experiences at the local level, particularly in communities that have typically been underserved, while supporting the work of artists.
Special thanks to:
Nathan Cummings Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
James Irvine Foundation
Nevada Arts Council