When the local art teacher realized that most of the children in her Akron charter school would not have the privilege of receiving school pictures, the Cleveland Institute of Art photography and video graduate turned to the college for help.
“I asked (Professor) Nancy McEntee if she would be willing to let me borrow the proper equipment to photograph the children myself,” Bozickovich says.
McEntee did her one better: she brought the equipment, three Cleveland Institute of Art students and one other graduate to STEAM Academy of Akron on Nov. 19 for a proper photo shoot.
“I made a complete schedule and the shoot was very successful,” Bozickovich says. “We photographed 150 students, staff members and seven class photos.”
McEntee, a 1984 Cleveland Institute of Art graduate, was happy to help and even happier to have her students participate.
“This experience was valuable for our students on a number of levels,” she says. “They gained professional experience working with clients and adhering to a deadline as well as working together as a team. They were successful in empowering and collaborating with the children in order to portray them in the best possible way. They also learned that using their unique artistic skills for the benefit of others is extremely fulfilling and that art can be a rewarding way give back to the community.”
The STEAM Academy principal, teachers and parents were grateful. More importantly, the students were beaming.
“It was so special to witness because you could see the amount of confidence the students had, knowing they were getting their photos taken,” Bozickovich says.
She and the volunteers are printing the photos, with Cleveland Institute of Art’s Photography and Video Department donating the supplies, so that each child will receive one 8×10, two 5×7, and four wallet-sized prints.
Bozickovich believes the students will also receive a message about their value: you are important enough to capture in a formal portrait; you matter.
“This is a really special project to me that I have created, so I am very thankful to Nancy and Cleveland Institute of Art for assisting me and joining in on this movement,” she says. “I’m also very thankful that I created such a strong relationship with Cleveland Institute of Art, Nancy, and the Photography and Video Department, that they believed in me and helped me. It makes me very happy knowing that Cleveland Institute of Art supports their alumni and is willing to give back to their community and inner city children.”
McEntee is glad Bozickovich reached out.
“Opportunities like these not only benefit the larger community but foster connections between the students and graduates as they support and learn from each other. In the Photography and Video Department, we encourage our graduates to create internship positions, participate in department critiques and events and become mentors and role models to our current students. Through those relationships, our majors recognize that even as alumni they continue to be vital members of the photography and video department community.”
Bozickovich goal now is to grow this project, possibly forming a new nonprofit to fund future photo shoots for local charter schools.
“I want to continue to be a positive role model for children (who are in need), to remind them that they have a purpose and they are the future of our community,” Bozickovich says. “The children really inspired me to create this movement.”
The STEAM Academy project is an example of Cores plus Connections, Cleveland Institute of Art’s academic vision in which core values of world-class faculty mentorship, studio and academic rigor, cutting edge curriculum, and state-of-the-art facilities power extensive connections for student engagement in field-based hands-on learning, real-world professional projects, and community-based practices in art and design.
Anyone interested in assisting Bozickovich in this project should contact her at [email protected]
Story submitted by Cleveland Institute of Art, cia.edu