CatchLight Local: PhotoWings in Partnership

CatchLight Local: Garfield Park


PhotoWings partnered with CatchLight on “Meeting History: A Garfield Park Citizen Archive” which culminated in an exhibition in the Chicago Public Library by CatchLight Local Fellow Samantha Cabrera Friend. With reporting by ProPublica’s Tony Briscoe, the exhibition is a community-based visual storytelling and archival project in which residents put in focus a previously undocumented history of Garfield Park—one that centers historical Black joy, ownership, legacy, and preservation through the sourcing of citizen archives. Through contemporary portraiture and the archiving, publishing, and exhibition of community photography, the project also reveals the fabric of resilience among the generations who remain in Garfield Park today.

Why Garfield Park? An extensive 2019 ProPublica story on systemic disinvestment by the City of Chicago dispelled the myths surrounding the struggles of Garfield Park and showed it was ongoing government neglect and not the result of riots sparked by the 1968 assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


The project was nominated for a Gather Award for excellence in community-centered journalism. The award, made possible by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s Agora Journalism Center, honors people, projects, and processes that center community information needs and voices in the production of journalistic work. The Garfield Park project also served as a pilot for the new CatchLight Local Visual Desk in California.



CatchLight has now expanded the local collaborative model of visual journalism, piloted in the Garfield Park partnership, into a statewide CatchLight Local Visual Desk in California. The three-year initiative directly addresses the decline of visual journalism across the United States, advances visual representation in local media, and serves critical community information needs. Six CatchLight Local Fellows, a Visual Editor, and CatchLight’s Editorial and Engagement Director will work to help advance visual representation in local news in California. By joining with California partner news organizations, this groundbreaking collaborative initiative is working to transform a local news landscape that has seen newsroom visual journalism staff nationwide sliced in half over the past decade. 

As education partner this initiative, PhotoWings will work with YR Media and the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco to solidify the “Field Guide for Visual Journalism”, broaden distribution of CatchLight’s curricular tools, provide training opportunities for visual journalists and build upon the work of community partners, such as local libraries, to develop visual archives and engagement projects. 

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