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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Arts on the Point Continued Community Outreach

Ann Torke, UMB Art Faculty, and Max Davis, member of the Teen Video Project at Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club. (File Photo)
Ann Torke, UMB Art Faculty, and Max Davis, member of the Teen Video Project at Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club. (File Photo)

For the third year in a row, Arts on the Point is sponsoring an outreach project to involve our neighbors in an art making activity of lasting importance to the community.

In 2001, fabric artist Clara Wainwright worked with residents of Harbor Point to create a 7′ x 9′ history quilt titled “Families in Action, Memories from Columbia Point” which will hang in the Harbor Point Community Center. In 2002, Laura Baring-Gould, sculptor and adjunct art faculty at UMB worked with teens from Little House Middle School in Dorchester to renovate a neighborhood playground and install their own site specific work to describe the relationship between the individual and the environments in which they live.

This project, as well as the current one, were supported by grants from Chancellor Gora’s discretionary fund as a way to foster closer ties between the University and our neighboring communities.

The project for 2003 has “loaned” Ann Torke, film and video artist and UMB art faculty member, to the Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club on Dot Ave. this spring, to teach video production to teens and staff. As a result, crews of young videographers have been walking the streets of Dorchester filming anything and everything in sight.

The core students have met with Ann two evenings a week to learn the nuances of using the camera, mike, computer and I Movie technology, in order to tell their personal stories. The state of the art equipment provided as part of the project has enabled students to go well beyond home video production.

Technology is part of the appeal. In the words of Johanna Kenney, one participant, “When you film with your own camera at home, all you can do is record. Here we have learned how to edit and make our work professional.”

Coleman Concannon, another student, adds, “We’ve learned how to create special effects like adding mist, or rain, or making images fade in or out, or having titles and captions that jump and move and do cool things. With a normal set up, you can’t do any of that.”

Douglas Johnson says, “This class has been a really good opportunity for me to showcase my skills and demonstrate what I can do with electronics and AV equipment. I have learned how to use I Movie and how to edit. Now I have the skills I need to express myself more exactly and to show the real me.”

Liz Carney, Director of Arts at the Club, is pleased that the project has brought a new medium of self-expression into the art program – one which is immediate and accessible for teens.

“This class has attracted new students to art making, because film as an art form naturally includes the narrative and the personal, and as such, is a welcome and much needed medium for teens.”

Student Kate McDermott agrees, “The best thing about this project is that I’ve learned how to express myself through film.”

The only drawbacks to the project have been, in the words of student Max Davis, the need for “more cameras and more computers, and more time. Next year we should meet at least three times a week!”

According to Ann, the students, whose “energy has been infectious, – have produced some great work which gives a real sense of the rhythm of Dorchester”. A public screening of the student’s work is being scheduled for the fall, at which time everyone will be invited to look into the world of these talented, motivated kids. Any UMB students interested in working on the project next year should contact Ann (7-5736), or Arts on the Point (7-5347).