The Lehigh University Art Galleries hosted a virtual photo workshop for families in the Bethlehem community this past Saturday.
Christa Neu, a photographer and photo editor in Lehigh’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, led the workshop, which showed local children different ways to document their world using toys and supplies from around the house.
Around 10 kids and their parents attended the virtual workshop and were encouraged to think outside of the box and take still life photos of things in their daily lives.
Neu, who has been interested in photography since she was young, said her job has changed because of COVID-19, but has also had the opportunity to experiment more with photography.
“What I have found … with the process of going through photography, Zoom photo shoots or different workshops, photography has changed,” she said. “It’s kind of a tool to foster an avenue of connection with people where it’s not necessarily the end result of the photo, but the process.”
The workshop was inspired by a new exhibition from the Lehigh Art Galleries titled, “Taking It to the Streets,” which features candid glimpses of street photography.
Neu hoped the children will take what they learned from the workshop and explore by taking pictures of their neighborhoods and daily surroundings on their own.
“You can pick up your camera and get lost in your world for a little while and find something to appreciate about what you’re seeing around you,” Neu said.
Stacie Brennan, the curator of education at Lehigh Art Galleries, said they host a family day program once a month as part of a larger cause to connect people of all ages and encourage creativity and inspiration.
“We at the gallery really feel strongly about being a gateway to the community, because we have this incredible collection that also reflects the diversity of the Bethlehem community,” Brennan said.
Brennan said these workshops are an important way for people of all ages to express themselves and share experiences in a time where most things are virtual.
Jessica Galarza, ‘22, is a member of the Lehigh Art Galleries Student Advisory Committee and has helped to design family events in the past.
Galarza said her favorite part of the events is interacting with the young children who live in the Bethlehem area and even some who come from out of state.
“They’re all very sweet and trying to learn something,” Galarza said. “I never thought that I’d have that kind of position while I was in college, but it’s definitely very fun. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
The next virtual Family Day workshop through the Lehigh Art Galleries will be held on Oct. 17 from 1 to 2 p.m. The galleries have multiple exhibitions this semester, including “Taking It to the Streets” and “Doing Democracy.” The galleries are open to visitors and students by appointment for viewings and tours.