Regional Occupational Program (ROP)
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Student & Personnel Services: Regional Occupational Program (ROP)
Inside Out Project Watsonville: Peace in the Streets – You Only Live Once
Five months of work on a very big community art project for ROP Photography teacher Karen Lemon and her students culminated in the recent installation of large-scale photographs on five city buildings in downtown Watsonville. Students at the three schools that participated have already felt the impact of working on this cooperative project, and now it is being shared with the public in the city of Watsonville.
Jean Beebe of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council directed the project. Teachers Daniel Levy of EA Hall Middle School and Karen Lemon of Renaissance High School and Ceiba Charter School of PVUSD participated by having students photograph each other, create written projects and interview people in the school and greater community to begin a conversation about what it would mean to have a more peaceful community.
The project began in February of 2012 with students expressing the desire to have a less violent place to live. This topic was chosen as the focus for a community photography project and a proposal was pitched to the global art project called Inside Out. The local project was one of 3784 that have been accepted by this global art project to date. Students in the Renaissance Photography class were trained in environmental and social portraiture, and then went to EA Hall Middle School to work as mentors to the students in Mr. Levy’s classroom. The students interviewed each other and talked about what their community would look and feel like if it were more peaceful. Student comments and questions ranged from “Have you ever lost someone to the streets?” “I wish I had a safe place outside to go to play.” “Stop the violence, stop the drugs, get rid of the dealers….” All had something to say. When asked if he thought it was possible to have a more peaceful place, one young man had the foresight to say, “Well, it would take a lot of people to be able to make that happen.”
The project displays 85 large-scale portraits of students, teachers and community members looking out over the streets of Watsonville. It’s as if they are saying, “Let’s listen to what our youth are asking for—Peace on our Streets… let’s talk about this… and let’s all work together for a safe and peaceful community.”
The community is invited to visit the Watsonville Art Project, centered around the 200 block of Main Street in Watsonville. It is hoped that this project will stimulate many more conversations about what is needed to create and sustain a peaceful community. There will be a Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony with Watsonville Mayor Montesino, on Sunday, July 15th from 2-4pm at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council (PVAC), 37 Sudden Street, across from the YMCA. A guided walking tour of the art installation will follow.
Watch a student-created video about this project.
Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article about this project.
For more information about this project contact Karen Lemon by phone at (831) 419-2718 or email email@example.com.