KENDRA SITTON | Uptown News
The San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) has extended its deadline for submissions to its Annual Juried Youth Exhibition to May 22 due to the coronavirus. MOPA typically works with teachers who are adjusting to distance learning and may not have had time to submit at the previous deadline.
“Everything else we’ve kind of changed at this point is just opening it up to be more accessible to allow people more time, because everybody is navigating around some pretty difficult things right now so we wanted to make sure to provide ample time for people,” explained Chantal Lane, who is overseeing the exhibition.
Lane launched the exhibition in 2006 before leaving the museum a couple years later. She returned five years ago as the museum’s manager of youth and visitor engagement and has been leading the program again. It was important to Lane and the museum to continue the event in its 15th year. Because of the milestone anniversary, the theme for this year is “Growing Up.”
“We were thinking about how this program has changed and transitioned and grown up over the last 15 years. It inspired this idea and we’re wanting the students to think about what it means to grow up — the different ways to think about it or give us kind of a snapshot into their journey of growing up,” Lane said.
The exhibition is juried by experts and selected photographs will be on display at the Balboa Park-based museum, although there are plans to make it virtual if need be. The exhibition is also being postponed past its usual opening in the fall. The extensive juried process is done by artists connected to the museum and other experts whose experience aligns with the theme. Last year, a neuroscientist was brought on to jury the “Dreamscape”-themed works. The jurors are given a rating system for photographs based on certain criteria before a final selection process.
The exhibition is a way for local youth to think creatively about photography and be recognized for their talents.
“We understand that the process of being juried in and then that exhibited in the museum has really given [the youth] a lot of confidence in their artwork and their vision and their voice,” Lane said. She explained that many students in school have always had the same sounding board: their peers, parents and teachers “who are always telling them that they’re talented and you should be doing this more. They are built up in these communities, which is fantastic, but what’s really exciting about the youth exhibition at MOPA, is it provides a platform beyond that. They’re getting recognition for their work from people they don’t know and that are also in the wider art world in the community. I think that it’s a huge confidence builder for them.”
In addition to the youth exhibition, some of the youth programs have been moved online. On MOPA’s Facebook page, they are uploading a youth-oriented video that is less than 10 minutes long each week covering a topic or activity that requires no special equipment so creatives can be stimulated at home. Find these videos at facebook.com/MoPASD/.
— Editor Kendra Sitton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.