In the past week, the International Center of Photography (ICP) celebrated its first “neighborhood collaboration” with the Bowery Mission.
ICP moved its museum to 250 Bowery from Midtown over the summer. In relocating to the Lower East Side, the arts institution established a new program with a number of different organizations to offer introductory photo, writing and bookmaking workshops.
The most extensive collaboration yet culminated in an art show at ICP Dec. 6-11. The three-part workshop engaged 17 students who are involved in a variety of Bowery Mission programs. We attended the opening last Tuesday.
Jaime Schlesinger, an ICP educator, explained how the collaboration worked. “We chose the theme of empowerment and hope,” she said. For inspiration, the students visited, Public, Private, Secret: an exploration of privacy in visual culture, the current exhibition on view in ICP’s galleries. The second session was a still life shoot in which each student photographed an object that held special meaning for them. The students then paired up to create self portraits and made a trip to ICP’s campus in Midtown.
One of the students, Alice Williams, told us, “The workshop inspired me. It took my mind off of the things I was going through. It’s kind of like therapy: Putting together a collage, working with words, it’s a great way to express yourself.” Williams volunteered through her church at the Bowery Mission for 11 years, bringing food to the shelter every Sunday. Now, she needs a helping hand, and is glad the Bowery Mission and ICP welcomed her through their doors. “I was grateful for the opportunity,” she said.