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After Renee Cornue recently opened her studio in Durango, Colorado, it was a welcome surprise when the opportunity came along to help Hub students nurture their passion for art. It all came together with a Colorado Arts Partnership (CAP) grant and a call from a friend at the Colorado Creative Industries.
"I was asked if I would be willing to work with a student who was interested in photography, but the students didn't have access to any professional equipment. That's where the grant came in," said Renee Cornue, owner of Renee Cornue Studio.
LPYS, with The Hub, received a CAP grant, a funding partnership between the Colorado Creative Industries, Think 360 Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts. Grant funds were used to purchase camera equipment and a MacBook. Students could sign out a camera pack while working with Cornue either at her studio, in The Hub classroom, or going on photo walks to do street photography together. The goal at the end of the program was for the students to gain some technical skills and pursue their particular interests.
"Having access to a DSLR camera allowed us to work through understanding different manual settings and lighting. I also tried to keep it open-ended in terms of structure so students could explore what interested them most," said Cornue.
One of Cornue's favorite moments was looking at printed images of one student's work and sharing with the student what their body of work showed about them. Part of the photography project was for the students to share the stories and narratives of their lived experiences.
"This one student took a lot of photos of their home life, including extended family, and portrayed these images in a caring and compassionate way which is what I shared with the student," said Cornue.
Cornue has pursued photography since high school and first translated her work as an archivist for a bat biologist after studying environmental science. Following a temporary move to Durango as an AmeriCorps volunteer, she decided to stay and open her studio. Cornue self-published a book of her photography, and she plans to share this skill with another Hub student who is interested in illustrating and publishing their work as a comic book.
LPYS is committed to helping students find their passions and empowering their voices across La Plata County. If you are interested in working with our students as a volunteer mentor or if you have skills that you would like to share with our students please email Alyssa Lenhart (email@example.com) or learn more about our Radical Possibilities Mentoring Program and fill out an application.
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