By Susan Jedrzejewski, McColl Center for Visual Art
Photography students at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, North Carolina participated in a cross-cultural photography exchange with university students in the Dominican Republic. Inspired by the work of former Knight Artist-in-Residence at McColl Center for Visual Art, Quisqueya Henriquez, and her work in the Converge exhibition, students used photography and digital media to create new works of art that focused on the idea of “place” and the notion that the contrasting architecture in both cultures can highlight both the similarities and differences that surround them both.
During the project, the Mallard Creek High School students had the opportunity to tour the “Converge” exhibition with Henriquez at McColl Center for Visual Art. During their tour and follow-up video conference, the students learned how her work uses collage and drawing to reference art history, architecture, and deeper issues of race, gender, and cultural stereotypes. After learning about Henriquez’s artistic process, students participated in a guided tour of Uptown Charlotte to photograph relevant local architectural structures. During the same time, students from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra also photographed architectural structures typical of the culture in the Dominican Republic. After the images were captured from both groups of students, the imagery was shared among the two groups in a cross-cultural exchange. By crossing cultural barriers and expanding the perception of “place,” the students’ experiences and learning came to fruition as digital collages that showcase each culture will be permanently installed at Mallard Creek High School. On Friday, May 4, 2012 a sample of the students’ work was on exhibition in a flash freeze gallery reception during the NoDa Gallery Crawl. See more pictures here.
McColl Center for Visual Art would like to thank our alumni artists Ben Premeaux (Wells Fargo Art Teacher-in-Residence) and Kristin St. Martin (CMS Art Teacher-in-Residence) for their support and guidance during this project, and to all of the participating students for their creative thinking and thoughtful contributions. The Converge exhibition and the residency of Quisqueya Henriquez was made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Cross Cultural Photo Exchange was funded by an education grant from the Arts & Science Council.