New public art installation features city schools

The Franklin Magnet School images were created by English as Second Language (ESL) students from Burma, Cambodia, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Africa. Mahan worked with ESL teacher Janet Staub to teach the basics of digital photography to these students through a grant from the SCSD Educational Foundation and Light Work at SU. The project used the medium of photography to encourage relationships between ESL students new to the United States and their school community. Through the images they created, the students were able to communicate visually with their peers, teachers and members of the community.

At Fowler and Nottingham, Mahan taught photography with the assistance of SU students enrolled in the innovative course Literacy, Community and Photography (LCP), which is part of the LCP arts education program in VPA.

LCP encourages children to explore their worlds as they photograph scenes from their lives and then use these images as catalysts for verbal and written expression. The written component of the class was taught at Fowler by John Colasacco, professional writing instructor and writing consultant for the writing program in SU's College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), and at Nottingham by Michael Burkard, associate professor of creative writing at A&S.

LCP is an ongoing collaborative project between SCSD and SU under the auspices of the Partnership for Better Education, which uses learning communities as the framework for focused interaction between SU and the SCSD, and works to expose students to creative approaches to arts, literacy, science and technology, engineering and math. The LCP curriculum is housed in the Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB), which functions as a classroom, digital photography lab, art and poetry library and alternative gallery space.

For more information about the exhibition, contact Mahan at scmahan@syr.edu.

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