If you go
What: Photography show featuring work by Hayden Middle School students
When: 5 to 7 p.m. today
Where: Hayden Public Library, 201 E. Jefferson Ave.
Steamboat Springs A small boy throws out a challenging stare, standing firm on the playground.
A dog looks quizzically ahead, its shadow squat on the snow beside that of the photographer.
A rose drips out from an outstretched hand.
Hayden Middle School students captured these moments on film, striking in black and white. They will be displayed at Hayden Public Library starting with a grand opening tonight.
Jenny Ackerson and Virginia Lamneck helped guide the students through after-school efforts in photography and writing. The two are AmeriCorps volunteers, as school-based mentors with Partners in Routt County. They have taken courses in the two arts and wanted to share them with the students.
"I guess if you give them an outlet, then they'll go above and beyond your expectations," Lamneck said. "If you give them just a little bit of instruction and they know what to do about it, you'll be impressed."
About 25 students' photos will be on display. Steamboat Springs photographer Kim Keith helped teach the students, Lamneck said, and several portraits she shot of the children sit among their pieces.
The group is called PAWS, for photography and writing society. Lamneck said she was surprised about how popular it was, though the group shrank when sports picked up. Most of the school's sixth- through eighth-graders attended at least one Wednesday class, she said. A core group of 15 to 20 came regularly.
"In middle school, they don't have art until eighth grade," Lamneck said. "We wanted to give them an opportunity to express themselves, and we thought this was a great way to do it."
The community has helped push the young artists' project.
Photo Express House donated the disposable cameras, PostNet enlarged the shots for free and City Market provided a gift card for refreshments at tonight's grand opening, Lamneck said.
The students also experimented with writing, sampling different types. Their work will be available tonight in the form of Writer's Back-talk, a publication printed for free by Lincoln Avenue Printers. Students chose the name and cover art for the art and literary magazine, Lamneck said.
Hayden librarian Ana Lash has helped coordinate from the library's end.
"Everyone obviously is welcome just to give them some extra support," Lash said.