2014 Easter Seals Invitation
College of DuPage Photography Department in Partnership with Easter Seals Announces 15th Anniversary Photography Exhibition
On October 2nd, 26 children from Easter Seals DuPage & the Fox Valley will be featured in the 15th Annual Photography Exhibition. For the last 15 years, the College of DuPage (COD) Photography Department has partnered with them to showcase the beauty and daily lives of children with special needs.
In 2000, Terry Vitacco, Professor of Photography and Coordinator of the Photography Program at the College of DuPage and founder of the photography exhibition, agreed to have her photojournalism students photograph Easter Seals children. “I saw this as a great vehicle for my photojournalism students to have a meaningful, real world assignment for their final project,” said Vitacco.
Every spring, COD photojournalism students are paired with children from Easter Seals and photograph the daily lives of the families to portray a truthful story about the challenges and accomplishments of children with different disabilities. They also make multi-media presentations to be shown on the COD Photo website and Easter Seals website. The photos are also entered into a juried competition and the selected images are showcased as large format prints for the exhibit.
“Ever since the first show in 2000, the exhibit continues to grow,” Vitacco says. “Because there are more families that want to participate than there are students, I have begun asking past students to become our ‘Special Forces’ photographers so that everyone can be accommodated.”
The exhibit itself not only brings joy to the families being photographed, but it also brings awareness to those who have never experienced the world of special needs children.
Students get to know the family and become friends with the child they are photographing. This helps breaks down stereotypes and increases understanding about families with special needs children.
“The photos truly showcase each child’s unique personality,” Theresa Forthofer, President and CEO, said. “Through these photos you can see a child’s sense of humor or favorite activity and you realize that they are just like everyone else - yes, they face challenges - we all do.”
“I think the most important thing my students learn by doing the Easter Seals project is that their photography really makes a difference,” says Vitacco. “The families that see the photos hanging in the Easter Seals lobby are encouraged and heartened that their child can enjoy life despite their challenges.”
The exhibition will be held on Thursday, October 2nd at College of DuPage. At the conclusion of the event, the photos will be brought to the Villa Park Center to be hung in the lobby. Easter Seals is continuously grateful for the partnership with the COD Photography Department.
To learn more about Photojournalism at College of DuPage, contact Terry Vitacco at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next Photojournalism class will be held in the Spring 2014 semester. Register early to be part of this enlightening humanitarian project.
To see a movie about the 15 year anniversary exhibit:
See a video about the Easter Seals Project on the Silicon & Silver blog.
Chicago's ABC Channel 7's News TV piece
about the Easter Seals Project.