Altered Portraits at Woodruff's Teen Lounge

We were so excited to host an event at the Woodruff Art Center’s Teen Lounge. We got to share this project with over 50 teens from all over Atlanta. We had a large team of artists to brainstorm the project. Amy Myers, Ross Boone, Margaret Crane, and Caitlin Chase all gave of their immense talent to make this project possible. The theme was social justice in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We did what all busy artists with jobs do, we started an email chain to collaborate. This might be my favorite stage of any project. I love hearing ideas and seeing things come together.

We started talking about the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. We're all so different, but we are also very alike, for reasons that have nothing to do with the color of our skin. We started thinking about what your actions have to say about the way you fit into the world? When you alter your portrait, when you act at all, you have the opportunity to show your true character. If we judged people by character alone, what would that look like?

This quote stood out to us from the I Have a Dream speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

That was our prompt. We like to come up with really deep questions, but then wait to see what the group dynamic is like before diving in. We let the kids decide how deep they want to go when discussing a theme. It turned out that we had tons of great opportunities for discussion. We had four Paint Love artists and one stellar volunteer so there was a lot of room for hands on instruction and one on one conversation.

The first step in our project was to take photos against a plain wall and print on canvas paper. 

 A little practice run on an old canvas! 

A little practice run on an old canvas! 

After that, students were able to add to and alter their portraits using embroidery, paint and other found objects. We were so enchanted with the results. I've posted a few here, but you can find the full galleries on our Facebook Page

Gallery I   Gallery II   Gallery III 

A big thank you to Woodruff’s Teen Lounge for hosting us and to our incredible artists and volunteers. Special thanks to Binders for donating canvas boards!