Exposing blank paper

Buildabridge student photographer

Buildabridge student photographer

I read and obituary in the New York Times on August 11th about a photographer and she described how magical it was to watch the image on a blank piece of paper come floating towards her in the developer after she had exposed it.  Its funny her description is exactly what happened this week here as our 12 young people exposed their blank paper and watched their images float to them in the darkroom.

Cleo and I saw five does running and darting in the field across from where we stood this morning.  They ran in zig-zags of joy bounding in the grass and looking back for a moment as if to say, “see if you can catch me”.

I’ve also attached a photo of one of our young photographers at work from the art camp.

Thanks again for everything.

From the Flathead-greetings,
David J. Spear, Photographry Teacher

As Arts for Hope Camp ends, renowned artist talks about the great futures for those who attended . . . and says they now know someone from somplace else cares about them!

When the BuildaBridge team gathered here more than a week ago, we sang a chorus: I can do all the world needs, but the world needs all that I can do.

Since then the team has worked with about 40 children on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Montana Arts for Hope Camp 2009. Volunteer artists came at their own expense, most of them from Philadelphia and Harrisburg, taught classes in dance, culinary artistry, acting, photography and mural painting. At the start of the week the students were quiet, extremely shy. By today the children were laughing and showing family and friends what they had done in just five days.

“If they can do this much in a short time, they have a great future,” said renowned Indian artist Corwin Clairmont, at the closing ceremony. “Arts not only create beautiful things. It is also an opportunity for things deep inside a person to come out and say hello.”

Mr. Clairmont said thanked the artists for coming and, speaking to the children, he said the camp has been an opportunity to “learn that good people from some place else care about you.”

Corwin ClairmontCulinary arts class feeds closing celebrationMural paintersSierra Lilly signs muralDance ClassDavid SpearCorwin Claiborn & Dr

The drama class was interesting today. Screen actor Talib Hester (stage name Talib Andre) calmly kept working with his class on the basics, even though the final performance is tomorrow, affirming the little steps of progress they made. One moment he was doing more exercises. Actors must know their bodies in ways you learn doing exercises so you can be intentional about movement. When a student doesn’t stay with a chosen way of doing an activity, he gently prods: “Like in life, you have to make choices in acting. And when you make a choice you have to make a commitment to it.” Later he was coaching them about their positions on stage and their relationship to other on it, and going over the script again and again.

Talib lets the students know that he’s been in movies, no serious parts yet, and talked with famous actors like Jack Nicholson, who gave him advice on how to stay true to himself and not let agents have too much influence. But he doesn’t talk much about himself. The talk is mostly about the crafts — acting and storytelling.

Drama is one of five classes being taught at the first annual Montanna Arts for Hope Camp, staged at the invitation of the Tribal Council by volunteer artists lined up by BuildaBridge International of Philadelphia. Most students got their first choice.

Drama class learns movement

Drama class learning place on stage
Drama class learning script

BuildaBridge cofounder thanks Tribal Council

Before today’s Arts for Hope Camp session, Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, cofounder of BuildaBridge, met with the Tribal Council and thanked them for their invitation and support for our work with their children. They thanked us for coming. Dr. Nix-Early, who is directing the camp, is accompanied by Rebekah Wilcox, our coordinator for international programs.

Dr Nix-Early thanks Tribal Council

Community invited to exhibition Friday
to see what children learned at Arts Camp

PABLO — The Montana Arts for Hope Camp, held this week at Three Eagle River School, will showcase what the children have learned at 1 p.m. Friday in the Arlee Charlo Theater, next to the gymnasium at Salish Kootenai College.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend this exhibition.
“They will see their young people doing things they haven’t seen them do before. The arts give family and friends an opportunity to see children in a new and positive light,” said Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, director of the camp and co-founder of BuildaBridge International of Philadelphia, PA.
Seeing children in a positive light is important, added BuildaBridge’s co-founder and president, Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt, who is also here helping lead the camp. “When we encourage our children we enhance the future for all of us,” Dr. Corbitt said.
The camp is staffed by volunteers, most from the Philadelphia area, who came to Pablo at their own expense and are donating their time. The team includes a professional actor, dancer, mural painter, chef, photographer and writer, along with several graduate students from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia.
Two Montana residents are also on the teaching team: photographer David J. Spear, who teaches and works in Pablo, and Melody Rice of Butte, a licensed professional counsellor and certified specialist in grief counseling and art therapy.
BuildaBridge programs use the arts as a means of building hope and communications skills which help children perform better in school and get a job later in life.
The camp this week includes five classes: movement and dance, mural painting, culinary arts, photography and acting.
BuildaBridge has conducted arts camps and after-school programs in Philadelphia since its founding in 1997. Its growing group of volunteer “artists on call” have also conducted camps overseas. They were invited here by the Tribal Council.

(Photo caption) Ana Michel shows chef Steve Thompson, a member of the BuildaBridge “Artists on Call” team, her progress in making a ball of pizza dough in Culinary Arts class Tuesday morning. She’s being assisted by Melody Rice, of Butte, Montana, another member of the team. That’s Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, co-founder of BuildaBridge, next to Ana.

Culinary Arts photo in paper

The Montana Arts for Hope Camp’s Photography class got hands-on-camera experience Wednesday. Photographer David J. Spear, a former professional photographer in New York City who now works and teacher  in Pablo, Montana, is the teacher. He loaned each student one of his personal cameras, Nikons and Minoltas. In picture below he’s posing, pretending to be on a lawn chair, while the students compose the best picture they can from where they are sitting. In the other picture he’s coaching a student who was assigned to go outside and shoot for different kinds of pictures. In an earlier exercise they took photographs of ugly things they found around the campus and used various photographic techniques to turn them into something attractive. Spear is one of the volunteer artists recruited by Philadelphia-based BuildaBridge International to stage the week-long camp, which uses the arts to build sustainable hope and improve communications skills. The other classes include dance, culinary arts, acting and mural painting. We were invited here to the Flathead Indian Reservation by the Tribal Council.

Photography class exercise


. . . to keep hair out of the food. So chef Steve Thompson taught his class to make hats, as well as pizzz dough,  in his culinary arts class on Tuesday. Here James Farmer, 9, and Steve model their hats. James plans to be a chef or a construction engineer when he grows up. Both, he said, would use his math skills. The children at the Arts for Hope Camp were mostly very shy when they arrived, but smiles and laughter emerged Tuesday as they learned new skills in acting, dance, photography, mural painting or cooking.
Every chef's gotta have a hat