Friday, July 22, 2011

Remembering ArtSkills 2000

Not widely known by most my Evanston friends is that in the Summer of 2000, I led one of the City of Evanston's summer youth employment projects: ArtSkills 2000.

The project introduced Evanston teens to the art and business of photography. Though we were headquartered at Chute Middle School where we hosted many photographers who came to share their expertise, it was just as likely to find us shooting pictures around the city, developing film and printing in Norris Center's darkrooms, scanning negs at Columbia College or at the Art Institute or Evanston Photographic,

The coaches encouraged the kids to express their personal vision through the lens of their camera while documenting and exploring their Evanston. The resulting images were as varied as the kids themselves.  Then-freshman Nick Cade's focus was on cafe life.  Then-senior Gwen McPherson focus was more personal. She shot a series of pictures of her cat Muffy. Mia Rollow shared a views of her room. Some images captured decisive moments such as a picture of a seagull in flight by Richard Hammell, which he nailed with a point-and-shoot no less. Some images were graphic and contrived like Kemone Hendricks’ "Up in the Sky', which she created by hanging a flower in a tree limb. (It's the first image displayed on this page.) Other participates include Kate Broitman, Ann Heindel, Nicole Newman, Michelle Ilme, Jonathan Payne, Tim Robinson Jr., Anthony Sanders, Quinn Stephens, Gabe Patay, Dominique Harrison, Dominique Cunningham, Justin Shields, Kenneth Coe Jr., Eric Edwards and Mort King II.

Later in the project all of Evanston was invited to get involved through a portrait shoot, Evanston People, that invited everyone associated with Evanston to pose for a picture.

The kids' ten weeks of work culminated in a group exhibition at Noyes Cultural Center. We displayed individual portfolios, a slide show and large prints which offered the public a unique perspective on Evanston and what some of its teens are about. 

Collaborating organizations included PICTURE THIS Projects and the Evanston Arts Council.  Participating coaches and speakers included Jennifer Keats, Shavan Spears, Matthew McNulty, Scott Strazzante, Jon Lowenstein, Tom Maday, John Brooks, Terrence James, Yvette Dostanti, Todd Heisler, Joel Lerner, Bob Quane, Saben Orr and George Pfoertner.

I have many fond memories from that project. Thank you all.

From top to bottom, images displayed here are by Kemone Hendricks, Dominique Cunningham and Justin Shields.


  1. I remember this.
    This took place when I was in high school.
    I think I was a freshmen, I actually took the second picture on this page of the child smiling.
    I really enjoyed myself and appreciate the opportunity.

  2. Only now seeing your comment. THANKS, Dominique, for commenting and for making sure I have my facts straight regarding who made that second picture. Do you still go by Cunningham?