VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Eye on Third Ward: Jack Yates High School Photography 2010
February 8 - May 30, 2011
Eye on Third Ward is the annual exhibition of photographs by students from Jack Yates High School, designed to express the distinctive identity of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The students’ photographs reflect their personal lives as well as broader subjects including the economy, education and family as they relate to the Third Ward. The 16th edition of the exhibition opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on February 8, where it will be on view in the Audrey Jones Beck Building through May 30, 2011.
The MFAH’s education department and the Magnet School of Communication at Jack Yates High School founded the Eye on Third Ward photography project in 1995 to encourage students to hone their technological skills and powers of observation by documenting the neighborhood and its residents. A historically black community, the Third Ward is home to many important political, cultural, and educational organizations as well as strong religious and community groups. The neighborhood is adjacent to two universities, the Medical Center, the Museum District, and Interstate 45.
Yates photography teacher Ray C. Carrington III challenges his classes each year to make photographs that capture the personality of the area and the people who live there. During class time, Carrington leads students on photo-taking walks through the neighborhood.
About 60 high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, ages 15 to 17, participate in the project each year. A select number of the works created during the year-long class are chosen for the exhibition. This year’s exhibition presents 22 photographs by 14 students: Joanna Alvarez, Attallah Bates, Kaylon Beck, Anahi Diaz, Crystal Davis, Samyra Harris, Lauren Hicks, Keenan Jones, Jailen Palmer, Tralen Palmer, Johnny Pena, Stacie Richard, Ivon Rico, Luis Ruiz.
For the 2011 exhibition, many students not only capture daily life in Third Ward, but also record personal moments and self-reflections about their faith, their future, and their transition into young adulthood. The changes they are experiencing as teenagers parallels the ongoing changes in the neighborhood, and this exhibition seeks to capture those often hurried and nuanced moments in time,? said Lauren Fretz, MFAH student programs coordinator, who organized the exhibition for the museum. ?As the Third Ward continues to change and embrace new development, the student photographs in this exhibition and those created in the program over the past decade will serve as important documents for this historic neighborhood.?
For the exhibition, the students wrote brief, descriptive paragraphs to accompany the photographs, explaining their inspiration, their thoughts about what their subjects might be thinking or their observations about the process, including the following:
Sister, Sister, Sister
These three beautiful ladies are sisters. Ever since adulthood, they’ve been close to one another. Through the ups and downs, they are there for one another. All sisters should strive to have a bond and a connection like this. Growing up as the youngest of three girls was such a difficult task. I was always picked on because I was the youngest. My sisters and I tend to argue more than we bond. We have good days, but sometimes I wish they would visit more often. I love my sisters and I hope one day when we get older, we will be tight so nothing can break us apart. – Stacie Richard
Nothing But Old Times
It’s nice seeing familiar faces every day. I like catching up on everyone’s stories and listening to who has the best one. Someone will remember a joke or retell the same story that everyone’s heard for the umpteenth time. There’s nothing better than sitting outside eating and reminiscing about the past. There’s not one day that passes when this establishment is empty. There’s always music playing and someone is always playing dominoes. - Luis Ruiz
A Place to Live
These days a lot of people don’t have places to live. You can drive down many streets in Houston and see locals begging for money. Many times this is the reality of poor people. Food stamps, government checks, and paid shelters all help them get by. I would think finding a safe place to lay their heads at night would be a top priority for people in this situation, especially for those who also have a family. - Johnny Pena
This photograph shows that giving is a good thing, even the feeding of leftovers to birds, as this man is doing. When you give, it makes you feel good about yourself after the deed is done. I think if you give you will get rewarded. - Ivon Rico
This woman reminds me of my grandma. She looks loving and caring, and she probably loves her family a lot. I’m sure she loves her family just like my grandma loves me. My grandma lives in Mexico City and in my mind, no one in the world compares to her because I know she loves me and she tries to do everything she can for me. - Anahi Diaz
Yates School of Communications
Jack Yates High School opened in 1926 as the second African-American high school in the city of Houston. Named in honor of the Reverend Jack Yates, a highly respected minister and pastor, the school started with 17 teachers and 600 students. This landmark educational institute experienced rapid growth; in 1958, the school moved to 3703 Sampson to accommodate a larger student body. Today, approximately 1,300students are enrolled.
The Jack Yates High School – Magnet School of Communications officially opened at the beginning of the 1978-79 school year. The School of Communications has concentrations in media technology and journalism, and has implemented a series of educational reforms to enhance the magnet specialty curriculum, better serving the needs of its students.
The Yates High School Photography Program and the Eye on Third Ward exhibition receive generous funding from the CFP Foundation; the Junior League of Houston, Inc.; and the Tri Delta Art Show for Charity, Inc.
All education programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by Caroline Wiess Law; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.
Crystal Davis, What Happened to My Bike?, 2010, gelatin silver print.
Jailen Palmer, Shotgun House, 2010, gelatin silver print.
Johnny Pena, New Generation, 2010, gelatin silver print.
Ivon Rico, Give!, 2010, gelatin silver print.
Anahi Diaz, Old Lady, 2010, gelatin silver print.