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Follow Your Art c/o Julayne Farmer

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Cause Description:
Follow Your Art is a participatory photographic program that provides visual literacy instruction to under-served children around the world. It is our belief that teaching photographic technique and creative writing to these children will help them identify, represent, and enhance their health, communities, and lives. This program provides the tools that foster self- awareness, conscience, independent thinking, and creative imagination. By encouraging the children to be surveyors of their communities and world, we are also encouraging them to take a journey inward, toward self-discovery as authors and artists of their own life stories. The articulate voices produced from this work will give these individuals new vision, offering a larger pool from which to make choices, to respond to life, and to change the world. The children will find confidence through use of this new voice and feel empowered to speak out about their challenges, triumphs, concerns, fears, and joys. Giving children in these communities cameras, transforms them from mere 'subject' to 'creator'. Presenting control to an individual, the power to choose what is left in the frame and what is taken out, encourages in these children a belief and understanding that they have a certain power in their everyday life as well. They have the ability and right to make significant choices: what is a part of their life and what is not. Furnished with cameras in order to speak in a more universal language, no longer are these children simply the 'voiceless, oppressed other.' Follow Your Art hopes to set into affect positive social change through providing photographic tools and training to the children in these communities. This exposure to the medium will give them a unique voice through which to initiate and activate change, express emotions and beliefs, and produce income through learned photographic skills. Follow Your Art seeks to work with children from all over the world in many different social and political situations including refugees, street children, orphans, students, those suffering from sickness, special needs groups, etc. The program provides a stage for these participating groups to both exhibit and market their work and to motivate change. The program also supports individuals participating in the program to continue and pursue careers in photography in local communities if they so choose.

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