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Urban Realities: Two youth photo-therapy projects

Local at-risk youth share photos addressing health and wellness.

Art is a powerful force. Through artworks, we can see the world in new ways, examine our past and imagine our future. Art communicates ideas, experiences, and emotions between people. Art also has the power to heal, as it enables people to be heard. Its gifts include asking questions and sharing understanding.

For the past year, Whalley has been the home of a program that uses photography to help youth in crisis engage with the world in a constructive way. This program, offered through the Adolescent Crisis Response Program and Fraser Health with the support of many partners, provides skilled therapists and resources for referred youth to learn positive skills and express themselves through art.

Surrey Art Gallery is pleased to present documentation about this program and exhibit the photos created by these emerging young artists. Snapshots of Street Life was a health and wellness-focused project in 2005 involving Surrey youth over the course of eleven weeks. This project received international attention for both the quality of the photography produced by the participating street youth, as well as the positive impact it had on their lives.

The second screen presents information about the Millennium Project, involving youth from Surrey and the Greater Vancouver region. This project challenges its nineteen participants to create photographs that respond to the United Nation’s eight Millennium Goals addressing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and other issues. When the project is complete, enlarged photos will be presented at the World Urban Forum, and cards included in the delegate packages for thousands of people coming from all over the world. The selected Millennium Project photographs will also be exhibited here, at Surrey Art Gallery from June throughout the summer.

Surrey Art Gallery was pleased to exhibit the photos created by these emerging young artists as part of its exhibition program responding to youth and digital culture.

Image credit: Summer Rain, A Step in the Right Direction, from the Snapshots of Street Life exhibition project.