DiverCity Lens


Hillside Arts & Letters Academy, Nolasco/PrincipalBethany Trust/Visual Arts Teacher

I am proud to be part of the DiverCity Lens learning community. I hoped that participating in this project helps to put my small school on the map. Thanks to the Office of Arts and Special Projects for acknowledging the work I do and inviting me to be a part of this creative and supportive group of educators. Thanks to Zion Ozeri, founder of DiverCity Lens, for the inspiration and thoughtful curriculum. The program has pushed my own creative boundaries, as well as engaged a whole new set of students at my school. Last fall when I voted for Sanctuary as the theme for the project, I never thought it would mean as much as it does now, living in the age of COVID-19. This “plot twist” to our theme has all of us reconsidering our own safe spaces.


Scholars’ Academy, Michele Smyth/Principal I.A. Kelly Trpic-Rukavina/Art Teacher

The DiverCity Lens program has given my students a different perspective and understanding of themselves, their community and the world around them, while at the same time exposing them to the medium of photography. The curriculum provides enriching assignments. Students become empowered through the camera and it gives them a platform to express their thoughts and ideas. My students love the DiverCity Lens program and it has become an integral part of my photography curriculum.


Thomas A. Edison CTE High School, Moses Ojeda/Principal Evelyn Loveras/Art Teacher 

This year’s theme Sanctuary has been one of our favorite themes, because it has allowed our students to interpret what sanctuaries mean to them personally. It was amazing to see the theme come alive through photography. Students chose a reading nook, a bedroom, a kitchen or religious area as a safe space to spend time and calm the mind.

The Gap/Elysa Cisneros/Hillside Arts & Letters Academy/HALA Jamaica, Queens/2020 Grade 10/Hillside Arts & Letters Academy/Bethany Trust I look at the world through my given space. This gap frames my perception of what time is.
The Path Not Taken/ Hemlata Gocool/144th Street and Foch Blvd./2020 9th Grade/Hillside Arts & Letters Academy/Bethany Trust Cold and calm as the rain falls, the snow disappears. Behind the glass I sit, warm and safe. As vehicles come, from this path we move.
Winter Road/Dylan Griffith/Baisley Pond Park/2020 10th Grade/Hillside Arts & Letters Academy/Bethany Trust In the snow I am safe. Its soft touch is quiet and peaceful. There is a path for me to take. In the crowd, Ive become forgotten but the snow remembers me.
Daily Drive/Daisy Ramos Plata/Forest Park/2020 9th Grade/Hillside Arts & Letters Academy/Bethany Trust My daily drive with Dad cars honking, nature vs. the road, or nature vs. man? People jogging in bright colors, sometimes as bright as the sunrise over the park.
Transfer to the 7/Bethany Trust/Jackson Heights, Roosevelt Avenue/2020 Anonymous movement reminds me that I am smaller than I think, a humble part of the machine. The train station is a metaphor for passage, sometimes like a maze, up/down, over/under, pushing through the turnstiles. An obstacle course-like journey that is isolating yet crowded, old but new, challenging and peaceful all at once.
Train Track/Brianna Heenpella/Location/2019 12th grade/Scholars Academy/ Kelly Trpic-Rukavina Public transportation has become a part of my daily routine between my home, my sanctuary, and my destination. Relying heavily on trains, I spend so much time standing on the edge of a platform often wondering, where the day will lead me.
Cathedral/David Mojica/ St. Patricks Cathedral NYC/ 2019 12th Grade/Scholars Academy/Kelly Trpic-Rukavina I am fascinated with the beauty that is revealed in what is mysterious and dark. This dichotomy exists within Gothic architecture and a blackbird Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly. Into the light of the dark black night. (Beatles) 83
Closed for the Season/ Angela Rodriguez/ Rockaway Beach, Queens/2019 12th Grade/Scholars Academy/Kelly Trpic-Rukavina From within, serenity glows like a beacon radiating a moment in time. To whom walks by, the glow eerie, mysterious, unknown. Serenity captured within, we are closed for the season.
Reflections/Annie Schmitt/Breezy Point, Queens/2020 12th Grade/Scholars Academy/Kelly Trpic-Rukavina The waves break ashore A place of safety and more Will always be home
Terrace/Kelly Trpic-Rukavina/Brooklyn/2020 Art Teacher/Scholars Academy/Kelly Trpic-Rukavina When the day ends Pause and take in the stillness My sanctuary
Subway Cart/Arora Blackman/NYC/2020 12th Grade/Thomas A. Edison CTE High School/Evelyn Loveras This is a sanctuary to me because without the subway, I wouldnt be able to travel as much as I do, explore New York City, and see the world from another perspective. The train plays a major role in my life, as I use it to travel a lot.
Heaven on Earth/Brian Fernandes/Queens/2020 12th Grade/Thomas A. Edison CTE High School/Evelyn Loveras Not only is this a place of worship but it is also a place where I feel most connected to my mom. It always brings joy, reminding myself of the days we spent together. It also is significant as it has been a place of growth for me as a dancer, singer, artist and writer. It is where I feel at peace. Im able to let go of worldly attachments for a few hours of my day, focus on healing, and have a greater connection with Shiva, the presiding deity over my birth month of February.
Crimson Night/Fahmida Khan/Queens/2020 12th Grade/Thomas A. Edison CTE High School/Evelyn Loveras My sanctuary is a sunset. The transition into the night is a beautiful and relaxing sight no matter where you are. The moment the sky slowly turned red, our worries went away and we enjoyed the view as it became dark. Sunsets arent religious and they cant fix things for you throughout the day, but the moments when the sun sets and rises can ease your stress away.
A Comfortable Place/Cindy Lean Ho/Queens, NY/2020 12th Grade/Thomas A. Edison CTE HS/Evelyn Loveras I consider my room a sanctuary because its the one and only place I feel safe and sound. When Im in my room I feel comfortable. Its the place where I begin and end my day. I dont have to deal with drama or stress. Its a space where I feel a sense of solitude when I need or want it.
Worlds Away/Alicia Santiago/Queens, NY/2020 12th Grade/Thomas A. Edison CTE High School/Evelyn Loveras The picture shown is one taken of my bookshelf at home. The reason this is depicted as my sanctuary is because books have always brought me a sense of comfort. Reading books gives me the ability to be Worlds Away while standing in the comfort of my home. Each book I read helps me escape, to be in a whole new world away from reality. Books are my sanctuary.
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