RECAP: 2014 Exposures Summer Program

In-Sight’s Exposures Program creates opportunities that enable youth to cross geographic and cultural borders as they develop and exchange their perspectives, experiences and artistic skills.

Youth from Vermont, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota gathered at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for the 2014 Exposures Cross-Cultural Youth Arts Summer Program this past July.

For three weeks, participants worked in daily photography and writing workshops, went to cultural events on the reservation, toured national monuments, and visited sacred land in South Dakota.

“I feel like I learned the most by watching and listening to members of our group once everyone got comfortable. By the end of the program I was able to get a really good idea about the various types of backgrounds that people had and what led to the way they think and act (both good and bad).”

–      2014 participant Luke M., New Mexico.

Participants stayed in group housing in the town of Pine Ridge. They lived together, cooked together, and learned about one another. Monday through Thursday the group engaged in workshops in photography and writing. They made cyanotypes, learned how to use large format 4×5 view cameras, learned how to interview and collect audio, and create multimedia stories. They also had the opportunity to participate in Bard College’s Writing and Thinking Workshop, which was a new addition to the program this year. The workshop, led by Bard instructor Tim Casey, guided the participants in writing and reading exercises that would reflect on their experience on the reservation and relate to the imagery they were creating.


“I think daily life and cultural events changed how I thought the most. I didn’t know very much about Native American culture before this trip, so I had a lot of assumptions that were proven incorrect just by interacting with Native people.”

–      2014 participant Daisy O., Massachusetts.

Cultural events were, and always are, an important and popular part of Exposures. This year participants went buffalo kissing and horseback riding; they went to sweat lodges, a sun dance, a powwow, and a rodeo; they camped in the Badlands and the Black Hills. They visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and the Wind Cave. They also went to a parade for the Fourth of July and saw fireworks, Pine Ridge style. They had many opportunities and experiences that have often been described as life changing.

“Dismiss all previous assumptions and expect the unexpected.”

–      2014 participant Julian M., Vermont.

The program ended with a community exhibit and meal. Throughout the program the participants are encouraged to meet and engage with members of the Reservation, and this community is then invited to the exhibit and meal to see the work participants have done. Over 200 people showed up to view the multimedia stories, wall murals, quilts, and prints that covered the walls. It is a great time for participants to reflect on their experience and make some valuable connections with the community.

Please contact Zach Stephens at (802) 251-9960 or email if you are interested in helping with the Exposures Program or participating next year. We’re already planning!

Created with flickr slideshow.