Monday, November 03, 2014

Ensley is Featured in New Photo Exhibit at the East Ensley Library

A sample of photos taken in the Ensley community.

On Wednesday, November 5, Kuumba Community Arts and the East Ensley Library will present 100 Lenses: Ensley, an exhibit featuring photographs of Ensley, taken by Ensley residents.

Some residents who took the photos will attend Wednesday's reception, which will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at East Ensley Library. The exhibit will be up through December 5.

For more information, the public may call the library at 787-1928.

Why call it 100 lenses? For five weeks this summer, the Kuumba Community Arts made 100 disposable cameras available to residents to take photos of their surroundings. About 40 residents took photos.

What's the purpose of the program? For a long time, the message about Ensley came from people not living in Ensley. The goal of the program was to give a voice to Ensley residents so that they could proudly show what Ensley meant to them. Program participants took photos of homes, old and new businesses, gathering places, blight, etc. At the end of the five weeks, they returned the cameras to the Ensley Recreation Center, where they discussed what they shot and what they would like to see happen in their community. Bettina Byrd-Giles, CEO of the Bethesda Life Center, facilitated the conversation.

Who's behind the project? It was led by Deidre Clark, the founding executive director of Kuumba Community Arts, where she does everything from photography classes to art classes. Kuumba is Swahili for "creativity." Clark got the idea for the project after learning that it was done in the Black Belt a few years ago. She decided that same concept would work well in Ensley. During the library exhibit, visitors are encouraged to share their thoughts of the exhibit and Ensley’s future. Clark will take the feedback to help plan a series of follow-up events for residents.

“There are some beautiful people out here and some beautiful places,’’ Clark said of the Ensley community. “People should come see the exhibit, let us know what’s missing and what they’d like to see happen in Ensley. We will move forward from that feedback. This is a long-term project.’’

How was it funded? The Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Goodrich Foundation, and Cahaba Brewing Company assisted with funding.

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