Iconic photographer Leibovitz will mentor teens at Crystal Bridges

Iconic photographer Leibovitz will mentor teens at Crystal Bridges

Dramatic. Quirky. Engaging. Iconic.

That’s how portraits created by master photographer Annie Leibovitz have been described. Since she landed a job at Rolling Stone in 1970 — and later worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue — Leibovitz has turned images of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Queen Elizabeth II, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg — into (sometimes controversial) art.

Now, her photographs are coming to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for “Annie Leibovitz at Work,” opening Sept. 16. The legend herself will be in Bentonville for a sold-out lecture Sept. 15 — but it won’t be her only visit. At 9 a.m. Sept. 16, she’ll meet a cohort of teens ages 13-19 who have signed up for “Beyond the Lens,” a teen photography mentorship program.

“Annie Leibovitz has a long-standing interest in mentoring young creatives, and Crystal Bridges has a long-standing commitment to educate our younger audience in various art forms,” says Marta Knodle, Studio Educator, Public Programs, for the museum. “This program, specifically tailored to teens, was the ideal way to honor both of these commitments.

“We find that providing teens with an opportunity to engage with living artists is a great way to inspire creativity and artistic expression.

Teens, says Knodle, were the focus from the start.

“We want to meet the teens exactly where they are and provide them with an opportunity to learn and grow their photography skills, whether they are just starting out or even looking on building a career out of it,” she explains. “Together, they will work to create a collective visual narrative of teen life in Northwest Arkansas through their portrait-style works inspired by Annie Leibovitz’s art.”

In addition to interaction with Leibovitz, the teens will have local photographers as mentors — Knodle is hoping for at least four — and will meet with them in September, October and November before a showcase of the students’ work Nov. 18-26. The program is open to any teen who wants to sign up.

“Many local schools are building it into their class projects for fall,” Knodle says. “Everyone that would like to participate must come to the kick-off on Sept. 16 to learn from Annie Leibovitz and the mentors as they introduce the program and provide a project packet. Photographs and artist statements are due on Nov. 3.”

Registration is required by 5 p.m. Sept. 15. Knodle says all experience levels are welcome, and no special equipment is required. Sign up at crystalbridges.org/teen-photography-mentor-program/.

The Leibovitz exhibit will be open Sept. 16-Jan. 29 and will include a set of new works made just for Crystal Bridges— Leibovitz’s first museum commission. Tickets for the exhibition will be $12 for nonmember adults.

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