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Dec. 15, 2003

The Home Project

A Calvin professor and 19 area high school students teamed up this fall for a photography project that helped the students think about what "home" means.

Their concepts of home will be on display in January in the school's Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is schedule to run January 7-27, concurrently with Calvin's annual lecture program, the January Series.

The Home Project saw the 19 students, who represent 15 different area high schools, meet for eight weeks with Calvin professor Jennifer Steensma Hoag as part of the fall 2003 program of ArtWorks, a local job-training program which partners with local arts organizations and educational institutions to hire professional artists and youth ages 14-21 to produce artwork for public installation, performance and publication.

All 19 students were paid for their time and talent while working as ArtWorks apprentice artists. They met twice a week on Calvin's campus from October 1 to November 22, an experience that Hoag says was good for the kids and good for her.

"I’ve been interested in this topic of home for some time now," she says. "The opportunity to work with kids from such diverse backgrounds really added a layer of depth to the entire process. And the images are really wonderful. They have an inherent mystery to them due to the low-tech cameras we were using."

Those cameras were, in fact, Holgas. Considered a "toy camera," the made-in-China Holgas have developed somewhat of a cult following in the photography world and are hailed for their ability to take remarkable photos despite being nothing more than a molded plastic box with a fixed shutter.

As one Holga user put it: "What is amazing about this camera is that it takes pictures at all. What is even more amazing is that, given the right conditions, it can produce pictures that are simply wonderful."

Simply wonderful, says Steensma Hoag, also describes the Home Project.

NOTE: A reception for the apprentices and the public is planned for January 27 from 5-7 pm at the Fine Arts Center.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)