Youth showcase photography on final night of free workshop at West Philly gallery

A gallery in West Philadelphia is encouraging the next generation of artists and photographers with a free workshop and students are showing off their new-found skills.

"For this one, it was to find something orange," said 14-year-old Annalisa Hall. She’s showing off some of her best work from a youth digital photography workshop she just completed.

"We put a lot of work into it. Like lots of work," she said. She and five other students took part in the 12-week free workshop at the Urban Art Gallery on South 52nd Street in West Philly. Friday night, they showcased their work to end the program.

"I really love it a lot. This is how I express myself and show people things that look normal, but can be deeper than what they look like," said Hall.


Instructor Briana Stroman thanked everyone for turning out. "They've learned that creativity has no limits. I think that's the best way to sum it up, because art is subjective. Photography is subjective. There's, of course, certain techniques, but there's no right or wrong way to photograph," she said.

Khaliek Hayes is the program director and says students will also use what they've learned to make some money as people bid during a silent auction to take home the art.

"Make their own money and make something they can be proud of. This is their work. Parents are going to buy their stuff. Friends will buy their stuff. They'll be able to hang it. It's tangible," said Hayes.

"Probably this one because everybody's talking about it," said 14-year-old Kareem Sumner as he showed off his favorite picture he took for an assignment on a specific light setting.

"It was in an alleyway, and I just saw a cat and it was looking at me so I just decided to take a picture of it," he said.

Students like Hall are also looking at this as a career. She’s started her own business.

"I do family portrait, regular portraits and I'm starting to do stuff. I got my own camera this weekend," she said.

Parents say they're grateful for the free workshop. They wouldn't otherwise be able to afford and it keeps their kids off the streets for a few hours a day each day the class meets. The Urban Art Gallery offers a variety of free programming for the youth. For more information, visit its website.