Sunday, December 12, 2010

Help Portrait Milwaukee at St. Ben’s meal program

How revealing a turn of phrase can be! Instead of “taking” pictures, as we so commonly say, the photographers who volunteer with Help-Portrait Milwaukee give them.

Jim Stingl’s unerring eye for the human interest stories of Milwaukee landed on this one in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Read Jim’s column.

Help-Portrait was started in Nashville by Jeremy Cowart and has grown into an international project. Volunteers offer their "time, gear, and expertise" to those in need who don’t normally have ready access to photography that most of us take for granted. They shoot and then they give away the prints to their subjects.
What a fabulous idea!

The Milwaukee effort was spearheaded by Matt Heltsley and includes others who are members of CoPA, Milwaukee's Coalition of Photographic Arts. It should be mentioned – without diminishing the good work that Help-Portrait is doing there – that the people who eat at St. Ben’s have had an in house photographer for years. Leroy Skalstad takes – and gives – photographs and produces a calendar each year for St. Ben’s. (Full disclosure: although I haven’t given photographs there, I have given much time over the years as a volunteer at the St. Ben’s Meal Program. I have long appreciated the unheralded work that Leroy does there. This year's calendar sits next to my computer. I'm also a CoPA member.)

ArtsWithoutBorders salutes Help-Portrait, Leroy, and St. Ben’s!

And please check out the Help-Portrait Milwaukee website to see the wonderful people featured there. It’s bound to make you smile yourself to see their bright faces.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Eddee,
    > Interesting arts representation at Harley but are the arts a welfare program? The language, especially “fragmented, siloed and under-resourced." (Yeah, even MS Word underlined some of that jargon – I believe it means bunkered and underfunded.)" reflects how capitalism is an industrial quest and has always devalued the individual. Creativity has only been valued when it can be financially competitive. My only suggestion is to start a union of agreement to not remain dependent on subsidized financial support and start charging the price (that the only people that can purchase art now - wealthy) it deserves. Artists are already subsidizing their work by limping along with other employment (and tidbits thrown out to them, like food scraps with the attitude that they should be grateful for anything at all. As well as, as lot of artists are afraid to speak up because they feel it will impinge on any investors.) They are in a position to hold to a price as a group, set up healthcare groups, and establish the respect and dignity that freedom of innovative thinking deserves in this country. Innovative thinking that has been successful are the ones that market their goods without the welfare jargon. Art education is a different ball game because it does depend on State and Federal funds. I noticed art ed. was not included in, "overlapping councils: design, film & media, and cultural" councils. Start teaching contracting agreements and establishing legal regulations that hold true to written contracts without compromising the artist. The pity party just keeps creative thinkers in a slave trade, while the businessmen and politicians market the ideas for profit. Let me know if there is anything I can do. Not even sure how to start because it almost sounds the the councils are already established.
    > Thanks you very much for you updates,
    > Laura