Expanding the Walls

About ETW

Expanding the Walls (ETW) is a deeply engaging photography-based program that uses the work of renowned photographer James VanDerZee as a catalyst for discussion and art-making. ETW participants work with a diverse group of arts professionals to explore issues related to community, history and culture while learning the basics of photography. The program ends with an exhibition of student and VanDerZee photographs in the Studio Museum’s galleries.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify to participate in ETW?

To participate in ETW you must be in high school or in a GED program within the five New York City boroughs and have a valid employment certificate.

What will I do in ETW?

Explore the work of famous Harlem Renaissance photographer James VanDerZee.
Learn about The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Engage with arts professionals like curators, educators, arts administrators, artists, designers, collectors and writers.
Investigate topics related to photography, history and community.
Train to make excellent photographs.
Create an individual photography project.
Curate an exhibition for The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Lead tours and workshops for families, seniors and youth at the Museum

Do I have to already know photography to participate?

It is not necessary that you have experience in order to participate in this program.

How much time will I spend in ETW?

The ETW program begins in the first week of January and runs through to the first week of August. Participants meet every Tuesday (4pm–6:30pm) and Saturday (10am–3pm) from January to June. During the summer, the program meets Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (10am–3pm). All public school holidays and breaks are observed by the program.

Where will ETW take place?

The Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th St, New York, NY, 10027.  Program participants also take excursions to sites throughout NYC.

Do I get paid for participating in ETW?

Yes! While this is not a job, ETW participants receive a stipend for their participation at the completion of the program. Please note, you will need to present valid working papers upon acceptance to the program.

If I have additional questions, who should I ask?

If you have questions, please email expandingthewalls@studiomuseum.org.