We know what creativity is, but what does it look like to be creative? As Co-Director and Instructor of NEUARTS: Neighborhood Engagement at The University of the Arts, I also play the role of documentarian. For three years I have carried a camera with me as I move through the elementary schools, checking on the progress of the undergraduates facilitating different art electives. It has been a great pleasure to capture fleeting moments of courage, trust and concentration.

In a game design elective, we encouraged the children to create new versions of games in a variety of media. In a neighborhood with one of the highest incarceration rates in the city, one thoughtful third grader commented, “I didn’t know you could change the rules.” The title of this body of work honors the spirit of counter narrative, and is a testament to the strength of the people in the photographs.

Art making and collaboration are courageous acts, and subjectivity is something that children do not often experience in school. UArts students have consistently provided a safe, positive environment for creative expression, inviting children to participate, make mistakes and exercise their imaginations and their bodies. They are not only modeling what it looks like to be an artist, they are also showing the children what it looks like to be a college student and a brave, expressive person. NEUARTS provides opportunities for our students to lead by example and inspire a new generation.

Using Format