Youth by Wing Young Huie and the FAIR School students
Location: 10 S 10th St (FAIR School)
Subjects: FAIR School Students
The youth theme of “It’s the People” is a story of Hennepin Avenue from the perspective of young artists.
“I’ve gotten to see a lot of cool things around here,” says 10th grade artist Ahlam Karama. “Nothing can ever be boring here.”
These portraits are the result of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s partnership with the FAIR School and artist Wing Young Huie to create an opportunity for students to learn fundamental portrait photography and storytelling skills. Huie mentored the students, who then went out onto Hennepin Avenue to find their inspiration and create art.
Huie says he coached the students in how to approach people they don’t know and have meaningful conversations. He challenged students to write an identifying or revealing phrase on a chalkboard, and have the stranger do the same. His hope was that the students will think of people differently.
“I think if we, as a society, redefine what a stranger is, we would have more of a society. We live in a time when we are very polarized,” says Huie. “One of the most human things you can do is to find something in common with someone you don’t know.”
Huie’s message that “people are just people” seemed to land well with the students.
“Some people might look scary, but they’re not,” says Jersey Jones, a junior at the FAIR School.
Karama adds, “I learned that taking the first step isn’t as scary as it seems. It’s only that moment before you take it that’s the scary part. After that, everything’s just a breeze, and it’s all fun.”
Huie is a Duluth native who lives in Minneapolis and spent a lot of time on Hennepin Avenue, particularly when the FAIR School building was a photo lab. He says Hennepin Avenue is a microcosm of society.
“There’s so many different communities that comprise Hennepin Avenue, and I feel that this project is going to be a pretty good reflection of Hennepin Avenue.”
You can view the student art in the gallery at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s event center at 900 Hennepin, as well as on large-scale banners displayed on the FAIR School building at 10th Street and Hennepin Avenue.