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JustArts Photography Program exhibit showcases teens' take on the "Culture of Brooklyn"

On Tuesday, June 19th, the Red Hook Community Justice Center hosted an end-of-season Photography Exhibit for the Spring 2012 JustArts: Photography program, in partnership with the Brooklyn Arts Council. The students showcased their best work based on their perspectives on the “Culture of Brooklyn,” and presented a video about their experiences in the program.

The JustArts Photography Program is part of the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative, which reframes the conversation about juvenile delinquency.  Instead of pathologizing court-involved youth and adolescent behavior, the Justice Center works to serve all young people within a positive youth development framework, drawing on their strengths as well as their potential to contribute to their communities. Funding is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Teen participants create a portrait studio at the Justice Center.
This program provided free photography classes to 15 young people, ages 14 to 18. Through this program, students gained photography skills and learned to effectively express themselves through the medium of photography, as well as other aspects of the arts. In addition to being wonderful photographers, they are also great writers, dancers, singers, activists, painters, athletes, and so much more! 

In addition to increasing their knowledge of photography, they also made new friendships, developed their interpersonal skills, and learned more about responsibility. It is amazing how they all supported each other’s work and encouraged each other to do well! Whether or not they continue to pursue photography, the lessons that they learned from this experience can definitely be applied to other aspects of their lives.

Overall, this season’s photography program was successful, fun, and memorable. In addition, we are extremely pleased that everyone who began the program stuck with it until the very end, which we believe speaks volumes about their dedication and commitment. These young people are an inspiration, and will leave an impression on the Red Hook Community Justice Center for many years to come.

See below for photos of the event, and for examples of the group's excellent work. You can also view their work in Photoville, a large-scale photography exhibition currently running in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Teaching artist Brenna McLaughlin (front, with red folder) with students and their work


  1. The photographs are just amazing. Loved them. The content too is pretty strong.


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