Baltimore United Viewfinders

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Baltimore United Viewfinders is a youth driven organization using the arts to explore their own definition of self and place.

Mission:

 To foster the leadership potential of young people as social entrepreneurs producing multimedia arts for community action and income.

The Baltimore United Viewfinders organization was founded in large part to challenge the negative associations and destructive stereotypes placed on young people in East Baltimore. The camera is a means to lift up the young people with an empowered sense of self, confidence and destiny.  Viewfinders has become a strong force in the community for their skilled photography, graphic design work and entrepreneurial practice.

Youth ages 13-17, participate in workshops and related projects in four target categories: critical and creative thinking, community engagement, technical skills and entrepreneurialism. Members are recruited from local youth development organizations — each youth demonstrating an aptitude for creative expression and leadership potential.

The Viewfinders developed and designed their photobook, Eastside Stories, for sales and to share with the greater community about their work. A second volume of their book is slated to be released in the summer of 2013. Viewfinders photos have been featured in exhibitions at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church and other locations through out Baltimore. They have 28 photos as part of the permanent collection at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

History:

Viewfinders was co-founded in the fall of 2010 by Natalie Tranelli, Anne Kotleba and eight East Baltimore youth under the auspices of the Maryland Institute College of Arts’s MFA in Community Arts program. In 2012, Anne Kotleba was awarded with an Open Society Institute – Baltimore Community Fellowship for her work with Viewfinders.

For more information: BaltimoreViewfinders@gmail.com

Website: www.baltimoreviewfinders.org

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