Pais Youth Development Center
PAIS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Training: February 1 - April 12, 2011; Pais Counseling Center; Instructor, Lois Ingrum
Exhibition SITE #1: Photography Project Gallery @ UMSL, September 27, 2011 - January 8, 2012
Exhibition SITE #2:
Exterior Banners: Pais Youth Development Center, 5057 Ridge, St. Louis, September 27, 2011 -
January 8, 2012
Framed Photographs: Victor Roberts Building, 1354 N. Kingshighway, St. Louis,
Pais Youth Development Center is located in the Academy neighborhood, off North Kingshighway. It is a not-for-profit organization established in 1988 to provide counseling services for St. Louis Metropolitan area children and adolescents ages 3-18. Pais is the Greek word for “sent to serve.” The Center’s mission is to provide various supportive services to help children effectively adjust to life’s challenges. Pais staff also work closely with the children’s families so they can develop the tools they need to achieve their child’s full potential. Pais Center’s youth meet in the evenings weekly for individual and group therapy and hands-on, art-based programming. Working with Photography Project instructor Lois Ingrum in the spring of 2011, Pais youth began by learning the basics of digital photography and finished by using their cameras to chronicle the Center's neighborhood, its people, homes, and shops.
Once known as the site of the Judy Garland movie Meet Me in St. Louis, the Academy neighborhood has fallen on hard times recently, with many homes lying in ruins due to illegal brick scavenging operations. Seeing these sights every day can’t be avoided, but Academy also boasts well-kept older homes, newly renovated houses, busy shopping centers, and an active street life. Lois Ingrum had the Pais Center participants balance their photographs of looming ruins against friendly neighbors, modern storefronts, and beautifully kept gardens. She had them seek out patches of bright color and in doing so they captured: Jasmine A. sitting on the deep turquoise steps of the Christ’s Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, a close up of a glossy yellow fire hydrant cap and a vintage red Cadillac parked in front of a red brick home with red ribbons on its wrought iron door.
Perhaps the strong contrasts in the Academy neighborhood explain why the youth in the Pais Photography Project titled their photographs in such disparate ways. Two chose: "My Eyes See the Best of Things" and "The Warm Sun on my Face," while two others decided on: "I See What I See" and "Walk on By."
––Mel Watkin, Director
PPRC Photography Project
Stanford C. Jr.
Pais Counseling Center
Victor Roberts Building