The Santa Monica Human Relations Council will hold a program finale for its third annual Kids with Cameras project Saturday, Oct. 15.

The event will begin with a tour of the gallery at 1 p.m. and the program is scheduled to start at 1:50 p.m., followed by a community dialogue at 2:30 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica, 2441 16th St., Santa Monica.

The theme of this year’s project was Public Art as Community Wealth. Through the project, youths from the Police Activities League, Boys & Girls Club and Family YMCA in Santa Monica took part in photojournalism workshops focused on how art portrays the community’s wealth.

“By showing them the community’s wealth expressed through public art, the children are exposed to a world many of them would not experience otherwise,” Santa Monica Police Chief Tim Jackman said. “This opportunity will enrich their lives in a way that will alter their futures for the better.”

The youths met once a week for eight weeks throughout the summer exploring the rich displays of public art in the city. The program finale will include a reception and photo exhibit with a slide show and performances by the youth organizations.

At a recent seminar on public art at Santa Monica Public Library, the participants focused on the power public art has in being a bridge between cultures, creating meaning and demonstrating solidarity in action, a project spokesperson said.

“The theme of exploring community wealth through public art establishes a solid foundation to educate the ‘whole’ student by learning through enrichment activities such as photojournalism and the appreciation of creative artifacts,” said Ilda Jimenez y West, a Kids with Cameras Committee co-chair.

“Not only do youth appreciate their surroundings by understanding an art piece that they walk or drive by every day but through learning about the background of the art and artist, they derive a sense of ownership about their community and a love for lifelong learning; knowing that this is their community and they belong here.”

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