Teenagers employed by north St. Louis-based bakery Angel Baked Cookies are both the subjects and photographers for a new University of Missouri–St. Louis exhibit. The set of photos captures the creativity, camaraderie and community permeating the teen collective’s cookie-making process. The exhibit is the latest in the Public Policy Research Center Photography Project series.
The brainchild of North Grand Neighborhood Services, Angel Baked Cookies was established in 2007 as an enterprise designed to employ teenagers while giving them on-the-job training in how to manage a small business. The teens developed recipes for three cookie styles that they mix, bake and package in large batches at Saints Teresa & Bridget Church in St. Louis. The cookies are available for purchase throughout the St. Louis area.
Lyndsey Scott, instructor for the PPRC Photography Project, taught the basics of digital photography to the Angel Baked Cookies employees. They then photographed themselves, their cookies and their bakery at the church for the project.
“The natural, exuberant curiosity and creative expression of ‘the Angels’ (teens) informed this photography project curriculum,” Scott said. “Portraiture flourished under their playfulness and style, capturing moments ranging from the silly staging of flour fights to sacred hugs in the sanctuary of Saints Teresa & Bridget church upstairs.”
The exhibit “PPRC Photography Project: Angel Baked Cookies” is on display through March 3 at the PPRC Photography Project Gallery, south hall of the fourth floor in the Social Sciences & Business Building at UMSL, 1 University Blvd. in St. Louis County (63121). Gallery hours are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
A duplicate of the exhibit is on display through March 3 at Chronicle Coffee, 1235 Blumeyer St. in St. Louis, Mo. (63106). The exhibit can be viewed from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Admission to both exhibits is free.
The pioneering community photography programs established by artist and teacher Wendy Ewald serve as the model for the PPRC Photography Project. 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 is co-sponsored by the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and Regional Arts Commission.