Lenses Collective is a collaborative photography and writing program for seniors (aged 55 and up) and youth (middle and high school students) in the East Lansing community. The seven-week program is designed to bring youth and seniors together to explore generational perspectives and experiences through dialogue, creative writing, and photography.
Since October 2018, Lenses Collective participants have met for two hours a week in the East Lansing Public Library. Sessions have included an activity that sparks discussion around a theme (i.e. identity or life stories), time for small group dialogue, and photography-based activities through which participants have shared their experiences. As the program has progressed, it has focused on participants’ collective artistic projects. This has been achieved largely through the creative processes of photography and writing, where participants have been encouraged to express their life experiences, desires, and imagined futures. The project will culminate in a collaborative art exhibition opening at the library on Dec. 19 and eventually traveling to various venues throughout the community.
Awesome Foundation grant funds will help to cover the cost of two digital cameras, memory cards, and a tripod that will be donated to the East Lansing Public Library at the completion of the program, thereby providing Lenses Collective and community members continued access to equipment for future collaborative photography projects.
The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation is the Ann Arbor chapter of the Boston-based micro-philanthropic organization known as the Awesome Foundation. Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1,000 or the local equivalent, come out of the pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.