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"Abandoned Buildings/A Band in Buildings"

Public Access Television Show


Volunteers teach teens and mentor college-age students in creating a program that showcases local talent and spaces ready for redevelopment. Shows have been filmed in partnership with owners of grocery stores, nightclubs, and churches. It is a unique opportunity for students to learn about onsite video and sound recording, and for artists and performers to showcase their work. 


(viewing episode four with performers Frontier Ruckus in Old Town, Lansing)

Gardner Photo Program:

supporting youth with an incarcerated parent or family member


Children with an incarcerated parent or relative need positive and creative modes of communication to express their feelings and attitudes. The photo program gave students a safe, constructive environment to write about their lives through photographs. Dozens of letters and photos were mailed to the students’ families in jails and prisons all over the United States. Before the program began, less than half the students reported regular communication with their family member (once every three months). During the program, they communicated weekly.



NorthWest Initiative Photo Program: teaching literacy through photography to urban youth


Students were given cameras and asked to document their lives. Working in a collaborative team, adult mentors blended art therapy, communication skills, reading and writing. 


Learn more at the program blog.

Ruth Ellis Center Youth Photography Exhibition

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit


The Ruth Ellis Center, in collaboration with MOCAD Department of Education and Public Engagement, presented an exhibition focused on identity construction. Ruth Ellis youth participated in a month-long workshop to create 25 powerful photographs that explore LGBT homelessness, sexual identity and love.

Ruth Ellis
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