The Center for Creative Photography is temporarily closed to the public during the spring semester. However, their extravagant Finding Meaning exhibit and other collections remain open for viewing online. CCP curators hope the works can provide a space for community and collective reflection as the pandemic continues.
In January 2020, CCP launched its application, CCP Interactive, which allows users to discover exhibitions, galleries, programs and more via a digital format. CCP Interactive can be found on the App Store.
This virtual shift has shifted the centre’s audience engagement from a focus on local Arizona communities to international communities that were previously unable to attend exhibitions in person.
Audrey Sands, Assistant Curator of Photography for Norton Family at CPP, is excited about the centre’s expanding audience and can’t wait to engage more diverse perspectives with their upcoming exhibitions.
“We are looking to grow our collection outside of our current areas of strength so that they more directly reflect the experiences of more diverse populations,” Sands said.
With the increase in the use of social media apps and platforms like Instagram this year, Sands and his colleges have taken a closer look at their collections, forms of public engagement, and exhibits. They hope to engage and encourage more voices and more perspectives.
Along with the question of how to reach a wider audience, the impacts of COVID-19 have also raised questions about the role of art in times of crisis and times of emergency.
This led to the development of the Finding Meaning exhibit, created by the Curatorial Department and designed by Chief Curator Dr. Rebecca Senf.
Their mission through Finding Meaning was to provide a space for personal and collective reflection throughout the pandemic. Both types of thinking were important because each individual is experiencing the pandemic simultaneously but in radically different ways.
Megan Jackson Fox, Associate Curator of Academic and Public Programs at CCP, spoke passionately about the importance of this exhibit.
“It was really interesting to see all the different ways we react to this particular experience and how we use photographs and art to heal or think or think more critically,” Fox said.
Finding Meaning includes short written essays that describe personally selected photographs that reflect their current human experience. These images can represent journeys of loss, loneliness, depression, anxiety, discomfort, and more.
Finding Meaning then encourages others to express their thoughts and responses to the shared images in the hopes of creating a sense of community and connection between individuals and their stories.
“Having a platform for artistic expression during times of great flux, uncertainty and fear is really important to reflect what’s going on in society,” Sands said.
When the pandemic first struck, Sands noticed that many people were dealing with increased anxiety and insecurities about health, the inability to be with loved ones, fear of the safety and security of the family. use.
“I think that at the most basic level there are a number of mediums that can offer some form of solace, but it is also a platform for distilling criticism and commentary and responding to the troubles in our society,” said Sands.
Noah Kitazawa, a management information systems specialist at AU, appreciated the nature of the Finding Meaning exhibit.
“I found it really relevant because, being an Asian American and from an immigrant family, I have siblings and relatives all over the world. It’s scary because the pandemic is preventing us from maintaining healthy communication between our families, ”Kitazawa said.
Kitazawa, whose work hours have been reduced and who experienced some isolation from friends and family, noted that adjusting to his new lifestyle was unsettling at times. However, he found solace in the photographs and short essays provided throughout the exhibition.
“When you see art with a similar story to yours, it can help relieve stress because you know and understand that there is someone out there who has had a similar experience,” Kitazawa said.
The PPC is delighted to continue to present stimulating exhibits that present a wide range of voices and perspectives. As part of an upcoming partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum, the CCP will present Freedom Must Be Lived: Marion Palfi’s America, which will open in Phoenix in July.
“Everything we do, from the photographers pictured to the subjects we decide to talk about… we want people to know and feel they belong because they indeed belong,” Fox said.
Through their app, digital programs, and social media platforms, they hope to continue expanding their community and making as many human connections as possible.
Finding Meaning will be available until May 30, 2021. Those interested in visiting the exhibition can find more information on the CPC website.
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