Submittted by PRIZM
“Lens on Learning; A Social Documentary of Developmental Disabilities,” a collaborative photography project completed this past year by BGSU students with individuals served by the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, is on display through February 15 exhibit at The Way Public Library Gallery. The exhibit is presented by the library in collaboration with PRIZM Creative Community.
The project not only brought awareness to the BGSU student who were paired with an individual served by the WCBDD and captured their story through photography, but it helps the community at large to be aware of the community integration program administered by the WCBDD for our disabled citizens. This five year old program has captured the life of many developmental disabled individuals who live, work and contribute in our community. (See related story http://bgindependentmedia.org/portraits-in-friendships-between-bgsu-student-photographers-wood-lane-individuals-exhibited-at-toledo-museum/)
In 1990 the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act addressed the needs of people with disabilities and prohibited discrimination in employment, public services, and public accommodations. Thirty-five years before the ADA, The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, a county agency, began to support and assist Wood County residents with developmental delays in increasing their skills, capabilities and independence.
“The camera provides a tangible means to connect with one another and the world,” writes Lynn Whitney, the BGSU professor of photography who directs the senior level Community Projects Class at BGSU.
“This class challenges students to forge personal relationships and explore aspects of being human from a vantage different than their own. This year we offered the camera to our partners from Wood Lane allowing us to speak with not just for them. This year, governmental mandates to privatize many key services provided through WCBDD, influenced our seeing to reveal a fuller picture of the lives of individuals so often living and working at the margins.”
The exhibition pieces hung on the gallery walls at The Way Library documents the day to day life of disabled individuals served by WCBDD at home, work, and play as captured through their BGSU Student partner.
This year a select number of those served by the program were also mentored by their BGSU friends to learn about photography, and then produced creative pieces with their new knowledge.
Those photo pieces created by the disabled individuals were also framed and are on display as part of the “Lens on Learning,” exhibit inside the 3-D showcases on easels. The project inspires each of us to consider what skills we have to offer in mentoring others, and what our social responsibility in the community is. Those interested in this Social Documentary are welcome to enjoy the exhibit in the downstairs gallery at The Way Public Library, 101 E. Indiana Ave. during normal library hours through February the 15.
PRIZM Creative Community is a 501 (c.) (3) Nonprofit organization, which supports education, service, and collaboration in the literary and visual arts. Appreciation is expressed to The Way Public Library in Perrysburg for being the host venue for the exhibit.
Coming next month to the gallery will be the start of the annual Education Series sponsored by PRIZM to highlight the work of area professionals in Arts Education for youth. The Series will start with the Preschool Picasso Exhibit, and in the months following feature the work of Perrysburg School District programs.