“There they are!” my wife exclaimed. I glanced where she had pointed and I saw them too. The group coming down the sidewalk was stretched out over approximately 50 feet and I could tell immediately it was the young artists from the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. It was the cameras that gave them away. Almost everyone was carrying a camera. Led by their teacher, Kathy Olson, they were headed to the “new” Old Downtown area in Vista or you might know it as the Krikorian part of downtown Vista because of the theatre by that name.
It was the middle of the day and one might wonder why these students weren’t sitting in some classroom on campus. However, I already knew the answer to that puzzler. My friend Winnifred Meiser had contacted me about this special field trip being taken by students enrolled in a wonderful program at the Academy. It’s the Artist Conservatory Program and it is a semester long program (mostly an after school Program) attended by students that are passionate about creative arts such as drawing, painting, ceramics and of course, photography. Students must apply for acceptance in this program.
The field trip today was in collaboration with another unique program called “Through Children’s Eyes”. According to their website, this program “uses photography, writing, and the performance arts as educational tools”. “It teaches the children visual awareness of their community, increases communication skills, and helps them develop a sense of pride in accomplishments without competition”. It is a volunteer outreach program for gifted and talented and it is a nonprofit incorporated in 1984. Winifred Meiser is the founder and executive director. http://www.throughchildrenseyes.org/
Today’s excursion was for the purpose of exposing the students to the Culture and Art in the downtown areas (both new and historic) of Vista. They each had a digital camera. Some brought theirs from home and a few were provided by the Through Children’s Eyes supply of cameras. The Conservatory students were learning firsthand the techniques of photo composition. In addition to the teacher, Kathy Olson, there were several other adults accompanying the students. One of these was none other than Winifred Meiser, the artist that created a lot of the art in the downtown areas.
We followed the walking tour along Main Street to the intersection of Wave Street and up to “Freedom’s Struggle”, the beautiful sculpture that sits along the sidewalk in front of the water park. The progress was slow as the photographers were capturing masterpieces as we went. I was impressed with the way they would see something like a flower and immediately sense the possibility. They all seemed to recognize beauty or at least I thought so until one young photojournalist popped up in from of me and asked “May I please take your picture, sir?” I consented because I was internally applauding the etiquette she used to obtain the photograph. I have often been appalled at fellow tourists that take photos of the locals without their consent.
As they surrounded it, there was the sound of hundreds of shutter snaps as the young artists tried to capture the best angle of “Freedom’s Struggle” sculpture in the afternoon sun. On down Wave Street by the River walk was another statue that was on the itinerary. It kind of resembles a scarecrow. This one was also assaulted by an onslaught of clicking cameras. When they finished here they had to hurry back to campus to meet waiting parents and they planned to visit the Historical Downtown area tomorrow. Unfortunately, I won’t be there to see them photo-capture the “Ginkgo” and “Obelisk” sculptures by artists Amber Irwin ( email@example.com ) and Lia.
The photographs produced by these two expeditions (and possibly other photo journeys) will be showcased at two upcoming exhibitions. The Vista Library will host the first show in their Community room on Dec. 8 thru January 6. This will replace the current exhibit of large format photos of Italy by photographer Sanford Sherman. Also a special reception will be held to honor the young artists on Sunday Dec. 14 from 3 to 5 PM. I plan to be there and I hope you will too. The final exhibition of photos by the Artist Conservatory students will take place on the campus of the Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in the La Galeria art gallery from Dec. 5 thru Dec. 19, 2015. I can’t wait to see what their world looks like through the camera lens.
Photos by Mary Murphy