Williams Alliance for the Arts brings photography classes to middle school

Visitors observe the eighth grade Photo Identity project at Williams Elementary Middle School. submitted photo

Visitors observe the eighth grade Photo Identity project at Williams Elementary Middle School. submitted photo

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams Alliance for the Arts (WAFTA) has teamed up with Williams Elementary-Middle School to support art and music in the schools. Williams Alliance for the Arts secured grants and donations to further these programs and has been conducting a photography class at the middle school.

"We wanted to help the schools by encouraging the programs," said Kris Williams with WAFTA. "A lot of the funding, especially the music, was raised in memory of Chris Mills."

The Identity through Photography project with Williams Elementary Middle School began the first week of March. The program is for eighth graders and shows them how to explore their own identities and how they fit within the community and world as they learn the basics of creative photography and use high quality cameras purchased for the school by Williams Alliance for the Arts.

The student project will culminate with a month-long show in April at The Gallery in Williams.

"The students have had photography lessons for two weeks," Williams said. "The first week was just and introduction. The second week they actually got cameras and went outside."

Williams said the Williams Alliance for the Arts purchased 14 Nikon P530 cameras and a high quality printer for the school.

"They are good cameras," Williams said "The kids had time last week to go outside and take as many photographs as they could. The results were incredible, they took some great ones."

Two professional photographers, Grazina Wade and Amy Martin, are teaching classes with Sue Hamilton at the middle school.

During the second week of class Wade and Martin taught the students about editing, color and composition. The students were assigned a camera and were required to take photographs that reflect their personal and community identities.

"We talked about what is identity and how might you express it through photography," Williams said. "They we talked about what is the identity of their community."

The students took a variety of photographs outside the school and some city scenes.

"They've taken trains and street scenes, and some Route 66," Williams said.

Wade took the photographs and displayed them on a screen for the students to analyze. She pointed out the qualities of light and composition to the students.

Students are also allowed to check out the cameras overnight to gain more experience with the cameras.

At the end of the project, the students will print their photographs and display them in the hallways at the school.

The Williams Alliance for the Arts show takes place throughout the month of April.

"It will be their own special show," Williams said. "Some will be large format and some will be on canvas."

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