Focus: HOPE’s Focus on the Mission Celebrates Diversity with Teen Photo Exhibition at Swords Into Plowshares Peace Center and Gallery
Focus: HOPE’s Focus on the Mission photography and leadership program presents a culturally inspired exhibition of photographs taken by high school students from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Focus on the Mission’s four day-long sessions provide high school students an opportunity to confront and embrace cultural diversity in both society and their lives. Students share their experience with peers who represent different ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, cultures, and faiths.
“This program allows our future generation to recognize diversity in a positive and constructive way,” said Annette Vanover, manager of Focus: HOPE’s Community Arts Department. “It not only teaches valuable skills and provides an artistic outlet, but it introduces them to the variety of experiences available in their city.”
In 2016, Focus on the Mission celebrated its 20th year with 48 participants introduced to various cultures through diversity presentations, art activities and traditional foods. They documented their perceptions of diversity through photography during guided tours of Detroit neighborhoods and historical landmarks. Throughout the program, professional photographers and art educators assisted students and taught them basic camera techniques.
“Focus on the Mission is a perfect educational tool for teens to experience diversity in a creative way,” said Focus on the Mission photo mentor, Ralph Jones.” “Year after year, I’m amazed at the photographic work the students create and their mature insight on social issues. I think it’s safe to say that our community is in good hands if they are our future visionaries and leaders!”
Focus on the Mission aims to create a deeper understanding of one’s own culture and other cultures while challenging preconceived notions, building positive youth-adult partnerships, developing leadership and teamwork skills, and providing students with a means of artistic expression.
Swords Into Plowshares is located at 33 E. Adams, Detroit 48226. Gallery Hours:, and from . FREE Parking is available at the rear of the building, off Elizabeth Street.