Thu | Dec 8, 2016

‘ArtUpDownTown’ begins second leg of its journey

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Contributed CARIMAC students, Latoya Collins (extreme left) and Latoya Gilzene (second from left), Studio 174 facilitator, Anton Kats (fourth from left, back), and Studio 174 participants Shane Morgan (fourth from left, front), Sheldon Green (second from right) and Kirk Cockburn (extreme right) greet a vibrant, friendly local carpenter selling his mattresses and bed frames along Harbour Street, downtown Kingston.

Having graduated from its pilot phase, Studio 174's 'ArtUpDownTown' is now set to celebrate its second year of programming with a new series of creative outputs.

The second annual exhibition will be launched on Saturday, January 31, at 6 p.m. at Studio 174's Harbour Street base (174 Harbour Street, at the corner of West Street).

The event will feature photography, video, and audio pieces produced by the 2014-2015 cohort of Studio 174 and the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) student participants.

The community-oriented media training initiative, being implemented in partnership with CARIMAC, is designed to strengthen community relationships in downtown Kingston and to encourage change leadership through media by empowering Jamaicans from diverse educational and socio-economic backgrounds to tell their own stories.

Sound in film

This time around, extra emphasis has been placed on the significance of sound. CARIMAC student Latoya Collins said, "Sound is an aspect of film-making that can be easily missed or underappreciated. Through the programme, I became more aware of the variety of sounds around me, the role they play in the observation of a space, and how important it is for sound to be keenly and appropriately captured in the representation and recounting of natural, undistorted human interaction."

The participants spent most of their time exploring Fleet Street, Tower Street, and Coronation Market. They also researched the work and impact of the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation and RISE Life Management Services. Most of the groundwork was completed during the summer of 2014 and they began working towards the exhibition in the subsequent months. Their activities were supported by Studio 174's team of trainers, led by founder/CEO Rozi Chung; television producer and CARIMAC graduate, Basil Jones Jr; and art practitoner-sound specialist Anton Kats.

In keeping with observations during the pilot phase, the transformative impact of the programme on participants remains evident. Incoming CARIMAC and Studio 174 students alike have experienced liberation from limiting paradigms. "The CARIMAC participants were exposed to a different culture, an intriguing culture, which proved fundamentally dissimilar from the stigma they had believed," said Collins.

Developing youth

With most Studio 174 students coming from challenging areas, their participation in 'ArtUpDownTown' has served as an antidote for pessimism, increasing their sense of self-worth and motivating them to expect more out of life.

Leroy Alvaranga, a participant and resident of downtown, said, "It encouraged me to connect more deeply with people in my community. The skills I learned made me want to continue making movies. I feel confident in myself and my skills. I learned to relate better to people and find out about their lifestyles while producing documentaries about their life, feelings, and opinions. I feel like I'll always continue practising what I learned. I felt happy being there!"

The participants are proud to be contributing to the complex process of improving attitudes towards, and relationships within, downtown Kingston. They are excited to be sharing their creations with the public.

Admission to the exhibition is free.