The Fourth Grade Project The Fourth Grade project compares fourth graders from different economic, cultural, and geographic areas. Fourth graders answer the following three questions: “With whom do you live”, “What do you wish for,” and “What do you worry about”? Each student is photographed with his or her back to the camera, facing the school door. Words and image are juxtaposed to create a word portrait. Since the student does not face the camera, he or she remains anonymous. The words and images become more universal, rather than specific to that particular student
Immediate Goal: I want to expand the project to include two more schools in the Los Angeles area; a school with a large Hispanic population, and one with a large upper class population.
Funds will be used to travel to Los Angeles to spend a week in each school interviewing and photographing the fourth grade class. I will also create and print a 7" x 7" book of word portraits of each class to give to the school.
If More Funds are raised, I will expand the project further to include a school in Mississippi affected by Hurricane Katrina, and a school in New Mexico that has a large American Indian population. The more funds I raise, the more schools I can include in the project.
Ultimate Goal: Ten schools...one large book of word portraits including all of the schools....an exhibition of projected word portraits onto the walls of the exhibition space...a space where viewers can come to discuss the project, helping them appreciate how they are similar, how they are different, and where they fit into our global society.
Testimonial: July 2011 "Last year, Judy Gelles visited our elementary school to work on the Fourth Grade Project. Judy has the warm, easy, and humorous manner loved by all children. She is also a great photographer. The project was a moving experience for our students, their families, our teachers, and everyone who looked at the book, because it captured the essence of our school in a way that is universally understood---the definition of great art! Any school would be lucky to have Judy continue her work there. Please feel free to contact me if I may elaborate further." Dr. Edward Marshall, Head of Greene Street School, Philadelphia
Another Testimonial: Critical Mass Juror 2009: "Fabulous - tough stuff - wish you could do every inner-city school across America and then maybe we would all learn about what color this country really is and maybe, just maybe, what hope and change really are."
- (30 days)