Milton Avenue Improvement Association

Milton Avenue Improvement Association

Program Name: The Milton-Preston Peace Park Project — Documenting Our Communities

Award Amount: $10,706.61

Project Description: The Milton-Preston Peace Park Project ‘Documenting Our Communities’ will use photography as a method of artistic expression for youth in the Milton-Preston corridor and a point of entry for community-based mentorship. The initiative builds on the success of informal projects and one-on-one photography lessons started in the past year by the Milton Avenue Improvement Association (MAIA). The project will be centered in the recently finished Milton-Preston Peace Park, Baltimore’s first community-curated, community-based outdoor photography exhibit.

BCY funding will expand the programming into a more formal, year-long series of photography lessons and workshops for community youth. This will consist of three parts: (i) in-community photography workshops and mentorship sessions, (ii) a camera loan system, (iii) field photo trips. Focusing on empowering local youth to see their community ‘through the lens’, we will emphasize not only the skills of patience and technical knowledge needed for photography, but also develop neighborhood pride.

The program will encourage participants to see themselves and their communities as subjects worth documenting and portraying artistically, in contrast to the common media representations of the community as an object of dilapidation and violence.

Using donated cameras collected by MAIA, The Milton-Preston Peace Park Project will also offer a ‘camera loan’ system. Participants will ‘check out’ cameras and return them for use by others when workshops are not in session. Community mentors and local photographers will collaborate, developing programming and workshop plans. A series of ‘field trips’ to Bay and local nature sites will allow for exposure to different subjects for landscape and macro/flower photography.

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