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USF hosting free online photography workshop for veterans

Selina Roman, a well known Tampa-based fine art photographer, will serve as the instructor.

TAMPA, Fla — With everything going on globally right now, we could all benefit from a creative project or two that will allow us to express our thoughts and feelings in a relaxing yet creative way.

That's why well-known fine art photographer and first-time course instructor Selina Roman is teaming up with the University of South Florida to offer an online photography workshop for veterans. 

"There's so much more to it and I’m so excited to open them up to this more artist realm with cell phone photography that goes beyond just a snapshot," Roman said.

Welcoming all backgrounds and skill levels, the program is called Breaking Barriers and serves as an initiative to expand access to the arts for military personnel, veterans and their families. The three-part program is working to amplify veteran voice through art-making. 

USF began Breaking Barriers after the USF Contemporary Art Museum was selected as one of three statewide to develop an arts-based program for military veterans and their families and form a consortium of museums in Florida dedicated to serving the veteran population. 

"Especially with all the deployments that happened, with Macdill and all the different branches that are in Tampa and I think that's why we started this, starting at USF and then branching out into the community" Leslie Elsasser, Faculty Advisor to CAM Club at USF, said.

The online workshop experience, lead by Roman, will last for five weeks and focus on cellphone photography and self-portraiture. Classes are being made available through recorded zoom sessions at 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1-5 p.m. on Friday.s

Credit: Loretta Fields

No prior experience is necessary as participants will have the chance to express experiences while learning new, transferable skills that can be applied across an array of professions. 

"We, veterans come from all walks of life and it never hurts to learn a new skill. I have no idea what my cell phone can do as far photography goes. So I am going to learn so it gives me the chance to express myself using my cell phone" said U.S. Army retired master sergeant and class participant, Loretta Fields.

Following the workshop, veterans will join a Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) discussion of the current artwork seen in the exhibition at USFCAM. The VTS experience is designed to foster critical thinking and communication skills and provide veterans with a means to contextualize and discuss their own artwork.  

Once the VTS session is complete, the series concludes with a portfolio review and a special showing of the artwork created from each participant. The work is displayed at USFCAM and on the Breaking Barriers websites.

The online photography workshop is offered free to all USF veteran students, staff and alumni and veterans throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Credit: RaeAnne Swanson

For more information or to sign up,  email Leslie Elsasser at lelsasse@usf.edu or visit the website here

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