Untitled, Washington, D.C., 1963
The first ever Gordon Parks Dialogues – a symposium created in partnership with the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Pratt Institute – is aimed at helping young people to, in the vein of Gordon Parks, explore social justice themes and the world around them through an artistic lens. The full-day event will take place on Saturday, October 28 from 8:30am to 1:00pm at the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus, and will include presentations from participating students exploring topics inspired by Gordon Parks’ famous assertion that he used his camera as “a weapon of choice” to contest racial injustice. These presentations highlight a diverse group of students’ engagement with contemporary social issues in their artistic practice.
In addition to these presentations, 2017 GPF Fellowship recipients, Devin Allen and Harriet Dedman, will both present and discuss how social justice themes have influenced their photographic work. The program will also include a discussion led by Stephen Hilger, Chair of the Photography Department at Pratt Institute and Professor Deborah Willis, Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU Tisch, in response to the important themes presented by both the student presentations and by Allen and Dedman’s keynote talks. “Since 2009, the Gordon Parks Foundation has partnered with renowned arts institutions to support promising and talented young people in their further exploration of the arts, so we are thrilled to partner again with NYU Tish and with our new partners at Pratt Institute to bring these young people together to explore such important themes through the lens of the arts with the Gordon Parks Dialogues,” says Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. “Through this symposium, our hope is to continue the scholarship program’s ongoing legacy of working to change the world by engaging issues regarding social injustice with fresh eyes.”
“Gordon Parks provided the model for a poignant interaction between the arts and social justice,” said Stephen Hilger. “The Foundation has enabled and encouraged young artists working in this tradition and the Dialogues provides these emerging artists an opportunity to share their work with a greater artistic community and to forge a deeper understanding of their collective vision for a better society.” As part of the Gordon Parks Dialogues, Gordon Parks Scholars - including current and alumni students from Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, Harlem School of the Arts, NYU Tisch, Pratt Institute, Purchase College/SUNY and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation - will present their work in a symposium style setting moderated by a faculty lead from each program. Each institution will give a ten minute visual presentation that will be followed by a discussion about a selection of work that highlights the institution’s connection to the scholarship program. The panel will then address how their artists’ creative work defines today’s society and how they can combat social injustice and perpetuate political and social change.
(Photos Katrina Lillian Sorrentino/Pratt Institute.)