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Aperture Commissions Five Emerging Photographers to Document Historic NYC Green Carts

NEW YORK, NY.- Aperture Foundation, a New York–based nonprofit arts institution and leading force in the field of photography, has joined with the New York City Department of Health and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund to document—through the distinct perspectives of five diverse, emerging artists—the New York City Green Cart Initiative. NYC Green Carts, independently operated mobile fruit and vegetable stands, are rapidly becoming a fixture in the urban landscape. The initiative by the Mayor’s Fund for New York City, the New York City Department of Health, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to underserved New York City neighborhoods in all five boroughs. In the fight against obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related health problems, the Green Carts offer New Yorkers more options for purchasing nutritious food, while at the same time creating up to 1,000 new business and job opportunities. Simultaneously, the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination fund gives Aperture the rare opportunity to commission young photographers as part of their ongoing mission to support emerging artists.

The Aperture–Illumination Fund New York City Green Cart Commission will document this important chapter in New York City’s history of public health innovation with a three-pronged enterprise as follows:

• Aperture, with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, has commissioned five emerging photographers to chronicle this remarkable program. The New York–based photographers bring a broad range of contemporary approaches to this work, with styles ranging from portraiture to landscape to street photography. The photographers will capture the Green Carts in designated neighborhoods in all five boroughs over the next eighteen months, photographing not only the carts themselves, but also the stories of the vendors, customers, and communities around them. The photographers are: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Thomas Holton, Gabriele Stabile, Will Steacy, and Shen Wei. The overall goal is to raise awareness about the geography of healthy food options and its relationship to a community’s health, and to document the challenges and opportunities of starting a new business. Each of the five professional photographers brings a unique artistic vision and point of view to this effort.

• Aperture will publish eight full-page public service announcements in Aperture Foundation’s distinguished quarterly, Aperture magazine, celebrating the NYC Green Carts initiative through select images and text. These announcements will be fully designed and produced by Aperture’s award-winning team in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fund for New York City, the New York City Department of Health, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

• An exhibition of the commissioned photographs, curated by Aperture, will be installed at a local exhibition venue in September 2011 as the culmination of the two-year initiative. The exhibition will showcase the pieces featured in Aperture magazine, along with additional images and commentaries by the photographers and project partners.

“We are honored to partner with the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund to celebrate and document this groundbreaking initiative to transform and inspire the people of New York City,” said Juan García de Oteyza, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation. “Through this partnership, Aperture reaffirms its founding commitment to explore social issues through the medium of photography and to provide a platform for emerging artists.”

“Aperture has a sterling reputation for showcasing photographers whose work captures the social, political, and historical issues of the time,” said Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “We look forward to collaborating with Aperture’s talented team, the photographers, the Mayor’s Fund for New York City, and the New York City Department of Health to bring these images to the broadest possible audience.”

“I applaud Laurie M. Tisch and Aperture for this innovative partnership and thank them for their support,” said New York City Food Policy Coordinator Ben Thomases. “I hope this project helps turn the NYC Green Cart into a cultural icon, further promoting fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The Aperture–Illumination Fund New York City Green Cart Commission kicks off this month and concludes in September 2011 with an exhibition of the work, the goal being to create an indelible and compelling record of an extraordinary New York City project, as well as lasting and eloquent works of art. The first public service announcement will appear in the winter 2009 issue of Aperture, which hits newsstands November 24, 2009.

Aperture Foundation | LaToya Ruby Frazier | Thomas Holton | Gabriele Stabile | Will Steacy | Shen Wei |

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