It all began with a “Vision”…and a Photo Team
When Fr. Wayne Watts, Associate Administrator for Catholic Charities, designed the “Visions” program, along with Ellen Gorney, a Senior Administrator, their goal was to encourage Tuesday Night Supper guests to discover their creative talents through photography. Ellen hoped each guest artist would “have an experience of empowerment, to see themselves and take pride in the pictures and the writing.” Fr. Wayne hoped the “Visions” program would be a way for the artists to have something special in common with people from all walks of life who have an appreciation for fine art. He invited professional photographer Jody O’Connor to join the effort and soon the 2003 gallery opening was planned.
The first exhibit was in a warehouse of a building Catholic Charities owned. It was a one-afternoon event and 17 artists participated. A dedicated college freshman named Noreen Russo helped frame prints that year and has volunteered with the project ever since, while becoming employed by Catholic Charities as a Call Center Supervisor. Longtime Tuesday Night Supper volunteer Maureen Kelley also offered her skills, early on, becoming the organizational backbone of the group. This year’s photo exhibit is the most outstanding display yet by this remarkable “Photo Team.”
“Visions” is based on a very simple premise: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” With warmth and compassion, the “Photo Team” helps artists discover their own ability to capture beauty in the world around them. Jody O’Connor, who has guided artists through photography workshops, sums it up well: “The best part of the project, for me, is when the artists discuss each other’s work on Tuesday nights. To see the artists help each other describe how to take a good photo is really incredible. There have been many nights where I just step back as six or eight artists are together at the table in heated discussion.” Maureen agrees and says, “I feel that we nourish the body with the supper and the spirit through the art of photography.” Noreen adds, “We treat every artist like we would like to be treated.”
The program has developed beyond the expectations of the Photo Team…but they know there is so much more that still can be done. They invite you to join in this very worthy endeavor.
“This is my vision of heaven…
We’re all here on an equal plain, young and old.
Well-dressed volunteers sit side-by side with people
who bear the burden of being homeless or hungry.
Our common bond is an opportunity to share a meal
and a vision of our lives.”
– Fr. Wayne Watts