In honor of the 101st birthday of the great chronicler of African American life in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art will pair classic photographs by Charles "Teenie" Harris with 50 prize-winning snapshots by children living in Pittsburgh neighborhoods today.
Following in the footsteps of the legendary Teenie Harris, these local children have photographed the meaningful people, places, and things in their lives as part of the "One Shot Teenie Harris Photo Contest." In keeping with the theme of a child's vision of Pittsburgh, the Teenie Harris images are selected by his son Charles A. Harris, including scenes of Charles A. Harris's own childhood. The children's work is sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and the citywide "Gathering of Peace" antiviolence initiative of the Police Athletic League.
The objective of the contest was to help foster creative and constructive alternatives to violence for at-risk youth in the Pittsburgh area. More than 1,000 disposable cameras were distributed to nearly 500 children between the ages of 6 and 18. The Housing Authority committee selected the first round of photographs, and the finalists were chosen by a committee at Carnegie Museum of Art.
Jimmy Cvetic, a retired Allegheny County policeman and leader of the peace incentive, or intiated the idea for the "One Shot" contest. Mr. Cvetic began the Three Rivers Peace Project to eradicate violence in Allegheny County with the help of artists, public schools, churches, and local governments.
The children's images will be on view alongside 184 photographs by Teenie Harris in the show Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part Three which runs from July 18 to November 1, 2009.
"We're pleased to have played a role in this program. I am very proud of all of the young people who took the time to learn about Teenie Harris and to practice his craft. I think anyone who has the opportunity to see the results of their work will be impressed as well," said Michelle Jackson-Washington, chief community affairs officer, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Harris is revered for his documentation of historic events and daily life in Pittsburgh's African American community starting in the mid-1930s. The "One Shot" contest was named not only to signify the life-altering course of a gunshot but also because Harris was called "One Shot" by former mayor David L. Lawrence. He was said to take photographs with such ease that he needed only one shot to capture his subject.
On July 23, from 6 to 7 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art will host the event "Celebrate the Photography of Teenie Harris," during which some of the contest winners will share their experiences of documenting their world. Additionally, Dr. Laurence Glasco, professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, presents an illustrated lecture on Teenie's life and the range of subjects he captured. The event will be held in Carnegie Music Hall and is free to the public.
Vintage prints and negatives in the Teenie Harris Archive were acquired with funds provided by the Heinz Family Fund, the Second Century Acquisition Fund, Milton and Nancy Washington, and by gift of the artist and the Harris Estate. General support for museum programs is provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Heinz Endowments, and Allegheny County Regional Asset District. Cataloging and scanning of the Teenie Harris Archive is supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for Preserving and Creating Access to Humanities Collections.
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895.
For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412-622-3131 or visit their web site at www.cmoa.org.