“The Road :)” by M is just one of the student photographs used to inspire North Olympic Peninsula poets.

“The Road :)” by M is just one of the student photographs used to inspire North Olympic Peninsula poets.

Poets to interpret student photography

Exhibit to show teens’ pandemic experience

PORT ANGELES — Poets from around the North Olympic Peninsula plan an ekphrastic poetry reading at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in conjunction with a show of student photography, The World on Pause: Youth Perspectives on a Generation-Defining Experience.

The free reading will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday outdoors in the gallery courtyard at the fine arts center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Olympic Peninsula Authors (OPA) will host the reading along with the fine arts center. Since it is outdoors, attendees are urged to dress warmly. Masks are required.

Poetry described as ekphrastic focuses on works of art, such as photographs. These poems will be centered on original photography by Port Angeles High School students during the pandemic.

Fifteen local poets will interpret what individual photos mean to them.

The selected photography will be projected as the writers read their poems aloud.

Performing poets include Dianne L. Knox, Katherine See Kennedy, Linda Gavin, Al Kitching, Ruth Marcus, Judy Rosen, Judith R. Duncan, Linda B. Myers, Jan Thatcher Adams MD, Nancy Fowler, Eva McGinnis, Gary Bullock and Stephen Workman. Heidi Hansen will read for Sandy Murray.

The exhibit in the Esther Webster Gallery, which opened in January and will remain on display through Sunday, highlights 39 images taken by students after a series of Zoom workshops.

Amy McIntyre, local photographer and teaching artist, and Sarah Jane, fine arts center gallery and program director, worked with teachers to engage more than 500 teens in a conversation about their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students were asked to share how their lives have shifted and changed under the pandemic and were led through a series of online workshops to help them develop their photo documentary skills as a means for communicating their experience to the larger community.

Throughout the exhibition, people can visit a small display in the gallery where they can write or draw messages to the artists of the 11-by-17-inch works.

The students also wrote short artist statements that are posted beside their photography to illuminate what they were thinking about when working on the project.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington State Arts Commission, “The World on Pause” marks the return of local teenagers to the gallery space after a years-long absence, Jane noted.

Photography can be viewed at the gallery or online at The World On Pause-Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

The Esther Webster Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

View the gallery online at pafac.org/worldonpause.html.

For more information, email pafac@olypen.com or call 360-457-3532.

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