Exhibit focuses on St. Vincent Home for Children

"Bed in the Attic" was photographed by 16-year-old Shardae for the PPRC exhibit "Photography Project: St. Vincent Home for Children."

The latest installment in the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ ongoing Public Policy Research Center Photography Project will feature pictures taken by teenagers, educators, support staff and volunteers of the north St. Louis County-based St. Vincent Home for Children. Participants were taught photography through the UMSL project. The children’s photographs make up the exhibit “Photography Project: St. Vincent Home for Children,” which will be on display at two locations beginning May 25.

Originally known as the German St. Vincent Orphan Association upon its founding in 1850, St. Vincent Home for Children’s services include residential treatment, alternative special education and community-based counseling for up to 150 children ranging in age from 6 to 21.

Participants in the PPRC Photography Project spent nine sessions learning digital photography. They photographed and wrote about the expansive property that houses the St. Vincent Home for Children. The grounds, encompassing 20 acres, include statuary, a flowing grotto, playground equipment, a track with fitness stations and a woodland path. The participants also explored and photographed throughout the large main facility, including the rarely visited attic. The cavernous space yielded photographs of forlorn and forgotten luggage, archaic signage and a dust-riddled and abandoned old-fashioned bed.

“Photography Project: St. Vincent Home for Children ” will be on display May 25 through Sept. 26 at the PPRC Photography Project Gallery in 427 Social Sciences & Business Building at UMSL, One University Blvd. in St. Louis County. Gallery hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. An opening reception will be from noon to 1 p.m. May 25 in the gallery.

A duplicate of each PPRC Photography Project exhibit can also is viewed in a separate location. “Photography Project: St. Vincent Home for Children” will be on display May 25 through June 30 at St. Vincent Community Center, 7335 St. Charles Rock Road in Pagedale, Mo. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. An opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 25 at the center.

The PPRC Photography Project was modeled after the pioneering community photography programs established by artist and teacher Wendy Ewald. Several volunteer St. Louis-area community groups participate in the PPRC Photography Project each year. They learn the basics of photography and then are asked to document efforts to improve their neighborhood’s quality of life. The Public Policy Research Center’s goal for the project is twofold: to highlight the undertakings of local organizations working toward the greater good and to inspire people to take a closer look at and get involved with their communities. 

The Photography Project was co-sponsored by the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and Regional Arts Commission.

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