The University's Gordon Parks Gallery was officially named in honor of noted artist, photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer, Gordon Parks, in May of 2010. The Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship and the Gordon Parks Gallery, together with In Progress, a local non-profit intermedia arts organization, developed K-12 workshop curriculum that aligns with local public school learning standards.

Year-round, community and school youth groups travel to the university to participate in workshops and other gallery experiences focusing on Gordon Parks' and other artists' work.  The workshops allow students to explore the arts and envision diverse and positive means of expression, gain inspiration to succeed in school, become engaged in their community, and dream big dreams for their futures. Students visit the Gordon Parks Gallery, critique and analyze the technical aspects of exhibits including Gordon Parks' photos, learn about Mr. Parks' life work and participate in digital photography workshops. Students gains skills by learning to use digital cameras, take photos that "tell a story" and learn to digitally enhance the photos through Photoshop. Student's final pictures are then printed for them to take home. The goals of this youth outreach initiative include:

  • Increasing outreach and the impact of the art gallery through community partnerships and youth engagement initiatives.
  • Presenting positive alternatives to youth and communities confronting negative social challenges related to poverty, violence and racial justice.