A glimpse into each other’s lives. That’s what 22 University of Denver students and 22 residents of Clermont Park have been exchanging for the past few weeks. Those insights are being shared via photography and story as part of a partnership between DU and Clermont Park.
The students are currently enrolled in a Life Walks photography and writing course led by Roddy McInnes. Roddy approached Clermont Park Life Plan Community to see if residents there would be open to participating. Students and residents were paired with the goal of interviewing and portraying each other through photography and story.
Clermont Park resident Shirley Brown, an avid photographer for more than 50 years, met with McInnes and helped map out the project. She jumped on the idea but wasn’t sure whether her neighbors would share her enthusiasm. She was very surprised that they were able to fill the 22 spots fairly quickly and that the reaction has been so positive. Once the residents had met with the students and were sharing their experiences, other residents came forward and said they’d be willing to participate if such an opportunity presented itself again.
“It was great to find out people really enjoyed it,” she said.
For her personally, it has been gratifying. “It was so refreshing to have a chance to meet with a young person,” she said. “A lot of kids don’t have a close relationship with a grandparent and they have a lot of preconceptions, as do we. It’s really good to get to know somebody, and find the generalities you thought about them are not necessarily true.”
The portraits and stories will be on display at the Clermont Art Park Gallery May 19-June 20. The public is invited to an opening reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 26.