A Letter from Executive Director Den Quinsay
As the year draws to a close, I hope you’ll consider making an end-of-year gift to support our mission and our programs. Your contribution will help us sustain our efforts, reach more individuals and deepen our impact. Please invest in the enduring power of visual storytelling to shape minds and communities.
This has been an exciting year for me personally and for the BDC, as I’ve stepped into my new role as Executive Director. Twelve years ago, Mike Kamber had a bold vision and built something truly extraordinary here in the heart of the South Bronx, and served for over a decade as the BDC’s Executive Director. Taking on the role of someone with such a significant impact on the community is a tall order. When Mike and I discussed the transition, he told me, “You’ll make your own impact, and you won’t be doing it alone”. Having been a part of the BDC family since 2019, I’ve come to appreciate his words–in every facet of our work as an organization, we rarely do it alone. The essence of the BDC has been a collective effort on the part of our staff, students, volunteers, and supporters like you. And now, along with Mike as Creative Director, and the efforts of all the members of our community, we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.
Over the past year, we continued to provide incisive exhibitions, broad-ranging education programs, professional training, festivals and other cultural events to thousands of Bronx residents. Our exhibitions remained at the forefront of documentary practice, showcasing an incredible lineup of photographic work–We Cry in Silence: Smita Sharma; The Eyes of the City: Richard Sandler; Everyday Bronx; Sylvia Plachy: Echoes and Omens; and Lens to the World: A Scholastic Awards Exhibition. This past summer we celebrated the 6th year of the Latin American Foto Festival, bringing work from emerging and established Central and South American artists to the neighborhoods surrounding the BDC, with in-person workshops, tours, panel discussions and other community events.
This fall, we expanded one of our most effective education programs–the BDC Senior Photo League, serving older adults throughout the South Bronx. Since 2018, we’ve hosted classes in various Bronx neighborhoods, including the South Bronx, Claremont, Highbridge, Bronx River, and Castle Hill; starting in September 2023 we also began classes at our center as part of this program, allowing students to be more connected to our exhibition activities, public events and the resources found at the BDC.
We’re also extremely proud to be marking a significant landmark in the BDC’s history–the 10th-year anniversary of the BDC Youth Photo League. This program, which has served hundreds of middle and high school students over the years of its existence, provides students with training in photography. journalism, communication and teamwork, allowing them to make sense of their world and make connections to their community. To mark this achievement, we’re hosting an exhibition Through Our Eyes: Youth Photography at the Bronx Documentary Center, 2013-2023. We’ll also be celebrating the publication of a book of the same name, a compilation of BDC students' photos from the past decade. BDC students have consistently won honors for their work, and have participated in exhibitions at Photoville, the Bronx Botanical Gardens, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, Polka Gallery in Paris and other venues. Our students have represented the US at international photo festivals and their work has been published in The New York Times and the Washington Post and featured on ABC News, BBC, Univision, Pix11 and other media outlets.
Everything we accomplished this year was made possible with the support and generosity of individuals like you who believe in our mission and the power of documentary work to drive change.
Thank you for being an integral part of our shared journey.
Happy New Year!