THE ART START PORTRAIT PROJECT
Founded in 2013 by Natalie Brasington and Art Start co-Executive Directors Hannah Immerman and Johanna De Los Santos, the Art Start Portrait Project has become a means of exhibiting Art Start’s work, creative point of view, and organizational values to a wide audience, and served as a means to expand the organization nationally. The project began with a simple call to action from Johanna- to volunteer to create family portraits in a shelter where Art Start was conducting weekly workshops. From this catalyst, Natalie designed the model for both the family and youth divisions of The Art Start Portrait Project, produced the project, and secured industry sponsors to bring the program to fruition. Over the past five years, Art Start has developed it into multifaceted creative programing, an advocacy-focused media project, and a means to frame a dialogue about representation and self-definition- the discrepancy in how Art Start youth and families are often “looked at” and how they wish to be SEEN. The project is self reflexive of its values- rather than passively creating media where the audience “looks at” those surviving poverty-related hardships, Art Start youth and families are provided a platform to express their unique talents, goals, meaningful relationships, and individual creative voices. The Art Start Portrait Project is comprised of two major divisions- one focusing on the teen and young adult population served by Art Start, and one focused on Art Start families.