The 2018 Art Start Portrait Project offers Black and Brown young men the opportunity to portray the complex, positive narratives about their lives, asking the world to see them for how they choose to be seen. In partnership with Turnaround Arts and the Black and Latino Male Achievement department of Milwaukee Public Schools, Art Start will collaborate with approximately 15 Milwaukee and New York City teens to create visions of their future and show the world how they want to be seen. Through Art Start workshops and in-depth dialogue, participants explore personal identity and envision their lives without boundaries. With support from world-class photographers, retouchers and stylists, and oral historians, those visions now come to life through multi-media exhibitions.  With all of the elements in place, these images and stories are a picture of self-determination, representation, and authorship. The exhibition of these pieces throughout Milwaukee and New York galleries and public spaces offer communities the urgent challenge to see beyond statistics and circumstances to the essence of complex, self-determined young men in pursuit of self-discovery.

  “Art Start really helped me to expand my mind. I found a space where I could be comfortable. I was always this person who kept everything in, and now I can actually speak about what I'm going through.”   –Prince Akeem

“Art Start really helped me to expand my mind. I found a space where I could be comfortable. I was always this person who kept everything in, and now I can actually speak about what I'm going through.”

–Prince Akeem

The Portrait Project challenges the belief that the future simply will be a continuation of a difficult past. When given the freedom to imagine, mining the courage to believe, and access to the resources to create, we profoundly transform how we interact with the world, and how the world sees us.

Participating photographers on this year's project include Anyway Reps’ Natalie Brasington and David Johnson, as well as Mary Ellen Matthews (SNL), Zachary Maxwell Stertz, Paul Gilmore,  and Justice de los Santos. Makeup artists included Maegan Rebecca, Kim Goodwin,  Kim White and Emma Strachman. Wardrobe and prop stylists, William Costello (Milwaukee) and Jessica Zindren (NYC) loaned their talent as well.

For the fifth year in a row, Fast Ashleys Studios, now Smashbox Studios, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn has been a presenting sponsor of photo equipment and studio space for the Portrait Project in New York. This year, in Milwaukee, Studio C, comprised of Collura Creative and Cream City Films, sponsored studio space and equipment to bring the images to life.  DCOY Studios continues their long-term sponsorship, donating digital retouching for the project. 

Event details for Milwaukee and New York opening exhibition and public campaigns to follow.

Watch the 2017 Portrait Project video here.

Watch the 2014 Portrait Project video here. 


TRAVELING EXHIBITION

The Portrait Project gallery exhibition is available for rent or purchase by Art Start approved gallery spaces, organizations and schools, nationwide.

All fees are tax-deductible and will benefit Art Start’s Homeless Youth Outreach, a program that offers creative arts workshops up to 5-nights per week at NYC homeless shelters to youth 5 to 21-years-old.

Press Contact: johanna@art-start.org / 212-460-0019


Read about The Art Start Family Portrait Project, which has empowered over 70 homeless families through family portraiture, photographed by: Martin SchoellerAndrew EcclesJim Wright, Peter YangEric OgdenDavid Johnson and Natalie Brasington, among many others.