TWG Takes Deeper Look: Critical Exposure

Over the years, The Webster Group has worked with and helped a number of nonprofit organizations. We have provided services to some of the largest high-profile national organizations and advised smaller local nonprofits, reaching thousands in our own backyard.

One of our favorite local organizations, Critical Exposure (CE), is a DC-based nonprofit “that teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change.”

In 2009, TWG began a partnership with Critical Exposure in planning fundraising and sponsorship materials, while offering some insight into preparation of their annual photography auction, “Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment through Photography.” This fall, as TWG prepares to give back to the local community, we look forward to serving on their host committee once again.

Adam Levner, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Critical Exposure and Alison Hanold, Development & Communications Director, both took some time to speak with our resident blogger, Brittanie, about Critical Exposure and the power of photography as a tool to create social change.

At TWG, we know starting a nonprofit is far from easy, but Critical Exposure managed to get a jump in 2004 with a brainstorming session in two DC studio apartments. From there, the team began operating at a quick pace.

Adam explained that, in terms of board development, Critical Exposure used personal networks and worked through direct relationships to recruit members and expand their reach. Soon enough, CE secured a few small grants which enabled them to buy cameras and get a start with a group of Baltimore students.

When asked what moment or moments have made him most proud as a founder, Adam stated, “Getting to hire staff! It really makes you feel like a real organization….”

Adam also mentioned that Critical Exposure just wrapped up a huge project within the last year. Working with high school students to use photography to advocate for a new library in their school, CE taught the students to tell their story, use photos to tell their stories to the audience that could help them create change, and persuade public officials to fund their library.

“We had the opportunity to advise and follow this group through the whole process; from research to ribbon cutting,” said Adam. “It’s an exciting process to watch.”

He continued to explain that all nonprofits face challenges in this tough economy, but staying innovative in a niche that is not quite filled is what keeps Critical Exposure going. “[We] are teaching young people to use an art for concrete changes.”

Looking ahead at 2013, Adam painted a very eventful season for Critical Exposure. Between the annual spring exhibit in May at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery, a fellowship program and student-run campaign geared towards improving the current DC school discipline system and CE’s summer leadership program, Adam and his team have their hands full.

TWG wants to wish the best of luck to the CE team and their students over the next few months. We look forward to continue working with them!

For more information on Critical Exposure please visit their site here or follow them @pictureequality.