Online Exhibition Features Local Student Photographers Reflecting on Water

As Columbia's Year of Water rolls to an end, a virtual photo exhibit shows the different ways that local middle school students think about water.

Mary McGee (The Forum)
May 18, 2020

Earlier this year, The Forum invited students from the YWCA after school program at New Design Middle School in West Harlem to participate in a photography exhibition inspired by their thoughts on water.

A part of Columbia’s Year of Water, the project sought to deepen the students’ awareness of one of Earth’s most precious resources. Originally scheduled to open during the traditional spring Community Day at Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus, the exhibition, Reflections on Water, has moved to a virtual gallery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While not all of the students were able to complete their projects before schools were closed, many did submit photographs. Kiersten Oteyza and Phoebe Streblow, artists who teach student photography in the after school program, selected one outstanding photograph from each student to include in the online exhibition. In speaking about the experience, Oteyza shared that "Water is such an important part of our world. For the students, it was a fun challenge to find water in their everyday environment and explore how it looks through the camera." 

This project was made possible through the generosity of the Josephine Herrick Project, a nonprofit organization that teaches photography “to change the way we see.” The Forum looks forward to hosting future Community Days on the Manhattanville campus where we can create and learn with one another while building connections and community.

To view the digital exhibition, visit The Forum website.