Toronto - Today, youth from the Lawrence Heights community presented Then and Now: A Digital Imaging Project, featuring their representations of their changing community.

“Art teaches us to look at our neighbourhoods and ourselves in new ways,” said Mayor David Miller. “Then and Now has given these students and all of us new eyes to look at our history and our present community in interesting and unique ways. The skills these young people have gained through the project will serve them well in the years to come.”

The students worked with the City’s Arts Services and York Museum, to select photos from the museum collection as a basis for their project. The participants worked with professional artist Jennifer Chin, and Jessie Gordon, a photography teacher at Sir Sandford Fleming Academy to create pieces of digital art. Each student produced a new photo to reflect the changes the community has experienced since the time of their historical photos. Then and Now: A Digital Imaging Project shows how the “meaning” of a photo can change over time - today a simple snapshot from the 1920s or 1940s can take on a new life as a historical document of a specific point in time.

The students learned about the art of digital imagery, and gained life skills and training that could assist them in becoming the digital photographers and graphic designers of tomorrow. The program also provided the participants with positive reinforcement through the community’s recognition of their work, which helped to build their self-esteem and self-awareness.

Then and Now: A Digital Imaging Project is a venture between the City, Toronto District School Board and Toronto Public Library in support of the City’s Community Safety Plan - Neighbourhood Action Plan for Lawrence Heights community. Then and Now supports the Toronto Government’s key priority of strengthening the city’s at-risk neighbourhoods and is one of the programs that is offered by Toronto Culture in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood.