As an artistic and educational model, Fighters Don’t Quit chronicles my experience building bonds with Chicago’s toughest kids, the fighters. In this exhibit, youth at The BLOC, a West Side boxing nonprofit, are empowered to create their narratives through photography. Their work, along with my ongoing story, gives a glimpse of how to create healing and bridge communities in a city in need of progress.
By photographically documenting the many facets of Mr. Cannon’s nonprofit boxing gym; the project aims to afford a creative record of the achievements of students and fighters, and the immense social impact of The BLOC and similar organizations. Aside from the photographic practice, the work also aims to directly engage in community backing through The BLOC’s volunteer program. This ongoing work includes tutoring, to help fighters achieve their academic goals, mentoring, through personal check ins, and enrichment classes in the arts and photography to encourage students to find and use their voice, while learning valuable life skills along with technical arts training.
The BLOC is more than just a boxing program; spend any time with Mr. Cannon and he will tell you “It is so much more than boxing.” This continuing practice has many facets, the first being a group exhibition of fighter’s work, along with my ongoing story as a facilitator. Through weekly lessons students continue education in camera controls and exposure settings, composition, and art history, editing and creating narratives, as well as print and book making, all of which will culminate in a group show along with a student produced exhibition catalog. The exhibition will be hosted at The BLOC’s beautiful boxing sanctuary pending a decline in the Covid-19 pandemic. By Jacob Pesci.
Help raise funds for the next stage of the project by purchasing a catalog
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