Let's Talk About Art: Teens learn to tell their own stories


Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

As the school year winds down, and many students dream of down time, nine high school students at Clairton High School are hard at work making documentary films. They are also doing this at Steel Valley High and F.U.S.E, an after-school group at Imani Christian Academy. Last fall, teens from McKeesport Area High School made their own documentaries, too.

“I hear frustration from students regarding how their communities are portrayed in the media,” says Susan Howard, director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Youth Media Program. “In this program, students realize that they can tell their own story and that people will hear it, and that is a powerful thing.”

“Hear Me 101” is an apt name for the program that’s enabled these teens.

It started in 2011 with a collaboration of organizations dedicated to producing and promoting the voices of youth. These groups include CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Youth Media Program, The Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and the Consortium for Public Education.

The group’s goal is to guide young people to express their thoughts and opinions about their communities and schools. Students develop communication and media literacy skills, which includes writing, digital technology, aesthetics and image analysis.

Ultimately they then can bring their valuable voices to education and community decision-makers. “I have seen shy students evolve into engaging interviewers, asking school administrators and other adults tough questions,” Ms. Howard says.

In the program students create short documentaries from concept to final cut. Some of the topics the teens have explored are school ranking, teen anxiety and depression, as well as their own personal aspirations and future plans. This year one of the shorts examines the issue of girl-on-girl bullying.

“Students become aware of the power of electronic media to advocate for the changes they could like to see and as a way to have their voices heard,” Ms. Howard says.

Their completed films will debut at a public screening 6:30 p.m. May 22 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room in Oakland. The event is free.

For more info: pca.pittsburgharts.org/education/pca/child-teen-family/youth-media or www.hear-me.net/hearme_101


Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here