NewsPress Release: 3/28/02 In-Sight Celebrates a Decade of Art and Service to the Community
BRATTLEBORO, VT - Ten years ago, area photographers John Willis and Bill Ledger offered a one-month summer photography class for at-risk teens. "Everybody liked the idea so much it just grew," recalls Willis. This year, the nonprofit program known as the In-Sight Photography Project celebrates a decade of creative and valuable service to the community. The program has grown successfully and currently has five spring classes in session, two upcoming exhibits, a volunteer staff of 10, community support, and groups of inspired teenagers making art, learning skills, and using their energy creatively and positively.
In-Sight offers courses to youth ages 11-18 free of charge, with a suggested donation. No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay. The program has relied on financial contributions from the community, grants from organizations such as the Thomas Thompson Trust, the Vermont Council of the Arts, Drug Free Schools, and the Community Prevention Partnership and fundraising events such as In-Sight's Annual Auction of work donated by professional photographers. The program's facilities include a gang darkroom, a classroom, cameras, and supplies such as film, paper, and chemicals. The program is housed in the Brattleboro Area Boys and Girls Club (formerly the Teen Center) on Flat Street in Brattleboro, where the two organizations share space and a strong, collaborative relationship.
Currently, the majority of In-Sight's volunteer staff consists of photography students from Marlboro College, where Willis is the professor of photography. Since January, Jess Weitz, a Marlboro resident, and Marlboro College students Hannah Wilson and Erin Barnard have co-directed In-Sight. Weitz, Wilson, Barnard, Mary Bee, Lakshmi Luthra, and Marlboro College students Sarah Swift, Nora Zale, Shana Hall, Natania Carter, and Josh Shippee are teaching classes and leading labs.
In-Sight has embarked upon numerous new projects, connecting its students to other photography students in different parts of the country and the world. One project had students exchanging photographs with Romanian students, another recent exchange brought photography students from the Bronx and In-Sight students together for a weekend in Townshend, Vermont, at the Hall Farm artists' residence. Many In-Sight students go on to pursue their interest in photography academically, as Chris Miller and Helen Jones will do next fall at Rochester Institute of Technology, well known for its photography curriculum.
This spring, In-Sight is offering an Introduction to Photography class, an Incentive class, an Advanced class, a Retreat class for teenagers from the drug and alcohol program at Retreat Healthcare, and a new class called Defining 'Girl' given in conjunction with the Women's Crisis Center.
The community can look forward to two student exhibitions opening on Friday, April 5, as part of Brattleboro's monthly first-Friday Gallery Walk night, when several downtown shops and galleries host art receptions. The In-Sight exhibits open at 5:30 p.m. in the Hooker-Dunham Gallery and the Twilight Tea Lounge, both on Main Street. The exhibits will run through April 27.
Additional hours at the Hooker-Dunham Gallery are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by chance or by appointment. The gallery is also open during events at the theater. For more information, call the gallery at (802) 254-9276.
The Twilight Tea Lounge opens at noon Wednesday through Sunday, closing at 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the lounge at (802) 254-8887.
For more information about the exhibits or about In-Sight, visit its new Website at http://www.insight-photography.org or call (802) 251-9960.