Fostering Art - "Far From Over"

We invite you to read Come As You Are, a collection of poetry and prose written by advanced Fostering Art students during an intensive summer workshop on memoir and democracy. The workshop, titled "Fostering Democracy", consisted of daily writing exercises asking students to chronicle their personal journey in the California foster care system, explore their roles in the democratic process, and examine how their actions can influence their futures. After the workshop the students presented their work at public reading events at Modern Times Bookstore and Books Inc., independent bookstores in San Francisco. Come As You Are features some of the students' best photographic and written work focusing on their childhood memories, their search for personal identity, and their varying definitions of home.

Dr. Toni Heineman’s remarks at the December 15th exhibit that marked the end of the current Fostering Art Program:'Fostering Art 2003-2011'
Fostering Art 2003-2011 is a powerful collection of images and essays created by Fostering Art students, who use photography and creative writing to document their lives in foster care and as a form of self-expression. This book was made possible by generous support from the California Council for the Humanities and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Thank you!

"I’m honored to welcome you to this year’s Fostering Art exhibit. As many of you know, this is a bittersweet moment in the history of the Fostering Art program because we are celebrating the transition of the program from its home in San Francisco to a new internet home.

To help us honor this occasion, we are particularly pleased to have Jessica Ingram, who launched the program in 2003, with us this evening. At that time, Amanda Herman was her assistant. Bringing things full circle, Amanda has been the program director since 2008, and will continue as Fostering Art moves into its next phase.

In thinking about this evening’s event over the last few weeks, I have remembered the first Fostering Art exhibit held at the Presidio in San Francisco. With Jessica’s help, the students created what came to be known as “the little blue book,” a collection of their portraits without faces. Fittingly, that work has been incorporated into the fabulous book that we are launching this evening, the coffee-table book that was our dream from the beginning.

The transition of Fostering Art from a program serving only Bay Area youth to a web-based curriculum, available anytime to anyone with internet access has made me think about how things both change and stay the same.

Over the years, the offerings of strawberries, chocolate, and champagne at these annual events have stayed the same. But in the same time, photography has changed. It has moved from analog to digital. Negatives, prints, and darkrooms have given way to gadgets that both make phone calls and take photographs that are uploaded into and downloaded from “the cloud.”

The students have both changed and stayed the same. Some students were with the program only briefly; others stayed for months or years. Tee and Shedrick were here from the very beginning and their work is showcased in the new book.

What hasn’t changed is the commitment of the teachers and the dedication of the students to the exploration of art and the internal and external worlds it can open.

To the students, I would like to say “thank you.” I speak on behalf of the board, the staff, and the many people in the community who have been moved by your work over the years. You have inspired us. You have reminded us that photography can make us laugh and cry. It can make us see different worlds in different ways.

Your contribution to A Home Within has been immeasurable. We use your images and your words on our website and in our presentations. More important, we carry what you have created with us. The work you have done has given us the confidence to move to the next step. You have shown us that this program can make a profound difference in the lives of young people. We thank you for that, and for having the courage to let go of what has been so that we can learn together what will be."

Toni Heineman,
Executive Director

Click to buy the book: 'Fostering Art 2003-2011'



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