This month in Hillsboro, as you are driving down 10th Avenue, strolling through the Saturday Farmer’s Market or stopping by a downtown business, you may see the face of one of your neighbors in an unexpected way. Large black and white photos of local residents have popped up around the downtown Hillsboro area as part of the “Hello Neighbor” Project. These striking portraits were taken by young photographers from South Meadows Middle School who participated in this exceptional project. The middle school students worked with professional photographer and journalist Julie Keefe, learning to not only to take photographs but also how to conduct interviews to learn the unique story of each subject. The students took portraits of people that they admire in the community, interviewing them with questions such as, “What inspires you?” and “What are you most proud of?” A quote was selected from each interview to become an integral part of the portrait, adding further depth and perspective to the portraits. The tables were then turned when Keefe photographed and interviewed each of the students involved in the Project, giving us insight into the young people behind the cameras.
The portraits were transformed into weatherproof banners locally by Impact Signs. The supportive downtown businesses displaying the banners are Columbia Community Bank, Hillsboro Bike Company, Supermercados Mexico, Walgreens and the Hillsboro Police Department.
The goal of the “Hello Neighbor” Project is to present faces of the neighborhood through the eyes of its young people, and for the students to see that they have a place in their community. The portraits of “Hello Neighbor” challenge us to think about the stories behind the neighbors we pass every day. As student Juli Geddes reflected, “Just because you know someone’s name, it doesn’t mean you know their story.” So get to know a little bit more about your neighbors as you keep an eye out for the “Hello Neighbor” photo banners around town this next month.
Hello Neighbor is sponsored by the Public Art Program of the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council in partnership with the 4-H Tech Wizards program of Oregon State University Extension. Student
participants were Jonathan Bradley, Veronica Cruz, Blythe Estes, MaKayla Fanning, Juli Geddes, Britney Norby, Kelsey Ornelas, Louis Rodriguez, Hailey Serrano and Alexis Waggoner.
To see all of the portraits created in the “Hello Neighbor” Project or to learn more about this great program, go to hillsboroarts.org.
The Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council (HACC) is a program of the City of Hillsboro’s Parks and Recreation Department. The HACC’s mission is to support the growth of arts and culture as assets for a vital, prosperous and livable community. This workshop is a part of the HACC Professional Development Workshop Series. To learn more about the HACC and its programs, go to hillsboroarts.org or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/hillsboroarts.