Young photographers to exhibit chronicle of South Bend’s Northeast Neighborhood

by Megan Zagger

Robinson Community Learning Center

The works of the Robinson Photoformers, a student club based at the Robinson Community Learning Center, (RCLC) will be on display from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday (Jan. 25) at the center, located at 921 N. Eddy St., South Bend. The exhibit, titled “This Little Light of Mine,” is based on a collection of photos and stories about residents from South Bend’s Northeast Neighborhood created 10 years ago by local artist Jacquee Dickey. Images are currently on display in the hallway of the Robinson Center.

The after-school photography club consists of 12 children from ages 8 to 16, instructed by Dickey and assisted by RCLC AmeriCorps member Lu Ella Webster. During the past year, ten years after the original project, participants spent time documenting community history by photographing and interviewing residents of the Northeast Neighborhood in order to create a new exhibit of local residents.

“Early in the fall, letters went out to the community asking for nominations of ‘unsung heroes’ among the local residents," said Jennifer Knapp Beudert, manager of the RCLC. "Twenty-three people were selected, and the Photoformers went out to photograph and interview each individual. The photography club increased its knowledge of community history and photography as a method for recording history through field trips to the Northern Indiana Center for History, the Natatorium and the Snite Museum of Art

At Friday’s photography exhibit open house, the 23 residents who were photographed will be presented with copies of their portraits and stories, and a set of these will also be presented to the Northern Indiana Center for History, where they will be permanently archived.

This project was supported by the ArtsEverywhere initiative of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the Dan and MaryAnn Rogers Cross Cultural Fund from Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

Founded in 2001 as an initiative between Notre Dame and the Northeast Neighborhood, the RCLC aims to strengthen the surrounding area through relationship building and educational opportunities by promoting innovation and excellence. In its nine-year history, more than 5,500 people have participated in classes and activities at the RCLC.