Kids Use Photos to Show Off the “Heart of Hartford”

Hartford is often discussed in terms of poverty, violence, and lack of resources. These stereotypes have serious implications for personal sense of worth and overall mental health of city residents.

To combat these stereotypes, youth from the Institute of Living’s TOPS Extended Day Treatment Program used photography to share the ways they experience Hartford as a beautiful place. The TOPS participants used disposable cameras to photograph beautiful things in their community and their artwork was displayed at the ‘Heart of Hartford’ photography exhibit on Friday, April 21 at the Commons Building.

The project was a joint effort by Dorothy Manley, Haley Rice and Tatiana Martínez, students from Smith College School for Social Work and TOPS Extended Day Treatment Program. Funding from Hartford HealthCare made this event possible.

“It is crucial to acknowledge the impact of adverse narratives as it fails to recognize the many positive aspects of the Hartford community,” said Tatiana Martínez, MSW intern in the child and adolescent outpatient clinic at IOL. “By empowering Hartford youth to define themselves and their city, it is our hope that stereotypes will be challenged and a stronger sense of community will emerge.”

After the exhibit, the artwork will be displayed throughout the IOL.