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The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Cuckoo's Nest Café Metro present:
Our World: The Children of Oakland

by Marianne Thomas

MetroCenter offices
101 8th Street
Oakland, CA
third floor
- and -
Cuckoo's Nest Cafe
first floor

Marianne Thomas"As the project progressed, I noticed that no matter what the background of the children, they had such joyous spirits. I tried to cover the spectrum of the childhood experience as it unfolded for me so that, together, the photos made a statement about being a child."
-- Marianne Thomas, Photographer

Children of Oakland is a project of InnerCity Expressions, a teen graphic arts business run by Harbor House. Volunteer professionals train teens in skills such as computer graphics, marketing, accounting, printing, photography, interviewing and writing. The teens produce flyers, newsletters, business cards and other graphic art services for Harbor House and outside agencies.

The teens who worked on the project--Takena Feazell, Mercedes Gibson, Katie Khanthavong, Arnell Pleasants, and Lai Saelee--helped set up photo shoots, interviewed virtually all the child subjects for the book, transcribed the interviews, and helped with planning and marketing.

This exhibition demonstrates the beauty of Oakland through 37 children from different ethnic backgrounds. As Brenda Payton, journalist at The Oakland Tribune noted, "The children personify the beauty and power of racial and ethnic diversity. In these stunning photographs by Marianne Thomas, they share themselves openly, the way only children can." As the photographer, Thomas not only captured the differences between children, but also their similar values and pastimes.

The display of photographs and book of the same title were produced by InnerCity Expressions, a business run by Harbor House Ministries, Inc., that trains Oakland teenagers in graphic arts and business skills with assistance from volunteer professionals. The book contains 48 photographs, full captions from the children, photographer's notes, and a description of a cultural tradition represented by each child.

Marianne Thomas has shown her on many issues and subjects work in numerous art exhibitions. She was a general winner in the 2000 M.I.L.K. International Photographic Competition and received an Award of Excellence in the 1998 Pictures of the Year Competition. Thomas is a photo editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as an instructor at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

All photographs were taken by Marianne Thomas between March 14, 1999, and July 16, 2000.
Order the book from Harbor House Ministries, Inc. (510) 534-0165

For more information, contact Brenda Kahn, MTC Public Information, at 510.817.5773

Back to MTC Art Gallery Page