Critical Exposure


1816 12th Street, NW
Washington, DC20009
202 745-3745 x 20
Organization Type: 
Arts Organization
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Critical Exposure is a nonprofit that teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change. By empowering young people to develop skills as documentary photographers and advocates, we expose citizens and policymakers to the reality of inadequate schools and low-income communities through the eyes of the youth who confront those realities every day. We use a unique, three-pronged approach that combines art and advocacy: Youth Empowerment. Train students in documentary photography, leadership, and advocacy; teach them how to document issues that directly affect their lives through their personal stories; and help them use their photos, writing, and voices to build support for policies that will address those issues. Public Engagement. Inform and engage the public through traveling exhibits of students’ photographs and writing that are shown in art galleries, libraries, coffee shops, state capitols, and other public and legislative spaces. Policy Change. Partner with advocacy and community organizations to implement creative strategies that use youth photography and voice to strengthen campaigns for improved public policies that directly impact youth lives. Critical Exposure was founded in 2004 by two photographers with education backgrounds —a teacher/community organizer and an education policy analyst. The policy changes required to ensure adequacy and equity in our schools and communities won't happen without widespread recognition of injustice and a collective sense of responsibility to address it. Critical Exposure seeks to empower youth to provide this necessary light. Our students have documented inadequate school facilities, poor school nutrition, teen pregnancy, youth homelessness and unemployment, and the causes and consequences of dropping out of school, among other issues. Our youth have contributed their images and stories to successful campaigns for more than $400 million in additional funding for public schools.

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