If there’s one person that has a pulse on the heroin problem in town it’s Provisions’ Emily Sherry. Ms. Sherry’s “A Different Delicatessen” is on Tinker Street a few doors down from CPW, The Center for Photography at Woodstock. When Georgia Landman, CPW’s workshop manager became aware of the kids in town that were suffering from what seemed to be a heroin addiction upsurge she decided to do something about it. “I have been in touch with Emily at Provisions and any time that there are events like Harold Reilly’s funeral we talk about it.” Harold Reilly was only twenty-four years old when he died from a heroin overdose last December after just being released from a local rehab center. His memorial service drew a massive crowd at the Woodstock Community Center. Harold’s picture hangs on the wall in Provisions above their cash register. “After speaking with Emily and becoming aware of all the problems in town, it triggered something that I definitely wanted to do, something with what we are able to offer, being photography, to help these kids,” says Landman. “The article that I read in the Woodstock Times, which ran shortly after Harold’s death, ‘Coping with Kids and Drugs on Tinker Street,’ really brought me to tears. I never knew that Emily was involved that much. I drove home after reading that article and that’s when I started to think we should at least be able to do our little part and give something back,” Landman said.
Utilizing it space and expertise, CPW will offer two photography workshops for up to twelve students each, free of charge. “All the kids need to do is write one paragraph about what they like about photography and give us one image, either something that they took or by an artist that they admire so we can think about it a little bit before we give out the money. The kids will be able to take the workshop for free that would normally cost $275 if their parents are non-members of CPW or $250 if their parents are members,” Landman said.
“These youth programs are designed so that any of these kids coming from any circumstance can apply,” said Sarah Anthony, the CPW workshop coordinator. “The really wonderful thing about photography…is that really anyone and everyone that we have ever met that has rolled through the Center for Photography has had a life changing moment because of photography…It’s giving these kids an outlet to express themselves safely and beautifully…”
Each work shop will be conducted over a four-day period from Monday through Thursday. The deadlines for the scholarships have been extended until June 26. The first workshop, Photozines and Me, with Jeannette Rodriguez-Pineda will be July 18-July 21. Lola Flash’s workshop, The Camera as Your Weapon, will be August 29-September 1. “This is something that I wanted to do for years,” says Flash, who teaches art and photography at the Green School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “CPW contacted me this year and asked me to be a part of it. I felt really excited when they called. I love the teenagers. It’s challenging but yet it’s the last chance that you can get them before they go out into the big world and they’re out on their own…hrough art you can teach them a lot of different life skills”
Photographer and teacher Rodriguez-Pineda is a mixed media artist and a co-founder of Hunter Photo Collective, a group of photographers based in different locales internationally. She was an Artist-in-Residence at CPW in 2010.
“We will have equipment ready and Lola is going to start very non-threatening, low key with the most basic principles of photography by doing a photogram, only to bring home the fact to those kids that you don’t need expensive equipment and you can still be creative and still be able visualize what you are feeling or thinking up,” said Landman. “We will actually have the best equipment available that Lola will also use so it’s a little bit of everything. She’s going to definitely encourage them to use their cell phones if she feels that that is their best outlet, or if they’re frustrated that they do not own a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera.
“CPW is a magical place, we spoke with Emily this morning and she is so excited about getting this thing going. She has such a big heart,” Landman said.
The photos will be exhibited after both workshops are completed. Rodriguez-Pineda’s class will have its show July 21 and Flash’s show will be September 1st. Each exhibit will last for one day.
“Then all of their friends and family can come in and partake in the festivities and admire their work and the kids can get to talk about it and have the full experience of having their work be seen and admired in a gallery which is a totally gratifying experience all around,” said Anthony.
To take the workshop, submit at least one paragraph about why you like photography, accompanied with one image by either you or your favorite artist and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday, June 26. Or bring it directly to the Center for Photography at Woodstock, 59 Tinker Street, Woodstock. For more information, call 845-679-9957.