Bringing Out The Inner Artists In NYC’s Youth

Saturday Career Workshops Begin Spring Semester at ADC

ADC has served as an invaluable resource and inspiration for creative professionals for nearly a century. But while international initiatives such as the ADC Awards garner the lion’s share of the attention, it’s easy to forget that there is a segment of the ADC community who has interests that go beyond winning an illustrious Gold Cube.

Interests such as graduating from high school.

Since 1997, ADC and the School Art League have played host to the Saturday Career Workshops, a semi-annual program that brings together dozens of young public high school students from New York’s five boroughs for several weekends of classes taught by friends of the ADC community. Now these kids might be young, but they’ve already displayed a knack for creativity, and the Saturday Career Workshops are designed to open their eyes to a future in the arts, whatever that may be.

The Spring 2014 edition of the Saturday Career Workshops begins this weekend at the ADC Gallery, and will include such instructors as ADC Young Guns Rich Tu and Wael Morcos, graphic designers Karen Kohn and Jolene Delisle, and award-winning celebrity portrait photographer PAYAM.

To give everyone a taste of what the Saturday Career Workshops are like, let’s take you inside the final class of the Fall 2013 semester, where PAYAM lead a group of students on a portrait taking adventure on both sides of the camera. This was one of the most well-received classes in recent memory, and ADC is glad to have PAYAM back for 2014.

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50 high school students, all lined up for professional portraits. No, this is not some weekend version of senior photo day. It’s a very special Saturday Career Workshop hosted by a dear friend of ADC – portrait photographer, PAYAM.

For this grand finale of the Fall 2013 Saturday Career Workshops, ADC did something that it had never been able to do before: teach 50 high schools juniors the craft of shooting an honest portrait.

But PAYAM didn’t just show up the day-of to run a few Keynote slides and drop some pedantic knowledge. Instead, he assembled a crack team of four fellow photogs (Philip Van Nostrand, Krystallynne Gonzales, Paul Porter and Michele Cipriani) who volunteered their time and equipment, so that the workshop would have a total of five instructors at once. For all you parents out there: that means a much better teacher-to-student ratio.

Split into five clusters of five pairs, the students began to get to know each other as humans and try to bring out those qualities in a single photograph.

Sometimes with group activities like this, the vibe can be quite awkward. Introverts and “cool kids” polarize each other. Fortunately this wasn’t the case at the ADC Gallery on this particular Saturday. PAYAM and his team had a way of getting people to open up. Conversation and laughter ensued. Experimentation ran amok (and not the kind we’re usually terrified of, parents). Those with long hair flipped it back in the air, while those with unique features became proud of them. And best of all, 50 high school students that would normally be insecure were showing their true colors, being themselves, expressing their inner artists and having a lot of fun in the process.

Special thanks goes out to PAYAM, Rich Tu, Karen Cohn, Dark Igloo and all the other workshop instructors, and the Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation, without whom this program would not be possible.