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Amplifier and the Getty Museum Announce Student Winners of “In Pursuit of ___”

Ava Burton

The nonprofit design lab Amplifier and the J. Paul Getty Museum have announced the winners of In Pursuit of__”, a joint open call for photography from students ages 13-19. Selected from over 1,500 submissions from teenagers around the country, the 34 winning artworks will be displayed as large-scale projections in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Anchorage and will be shared by both organizations’ social media channels starting on January 19, 2021.

The winning artworks were chosen for their thoughtful and creative responses to the theme of “In Pursuit of ___,” inspired by the famous Declaration of Independence phrase, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Looking toward 2021, the prompt invited teenagers to reflect on their own lives, consider the state of the world, and inspire others through their unique artistic vision.

The panel of judges includes Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs Mazie Harris, Associate Director for Collections Richard Rand, and Interpretive Content Specialist Tuyet Bach at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Amplifier’s Creative Director Aaron Huey and Executive Director Cleo Barnett; and artists Chip Thomas, Joanna Toruño, and Phil America; photographers Arlene Mejorado and Chuck Grant; and curator Maceo Paisley.

“The J. Paul Getty Museum is proud to partner with Amplifier to assemble this impressive body of work from young people across the nation,” says Keishia Gu, head of education at the J. Paul Getty Museum. In a time of isolation and limitations, we are inspired by the passion and motivation of burgeoning photographers to explore a message of systematic change and opportunity, which highlights the Getty Unshuttered theme, “In Pursuit of____”.

Hailing from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, the open call winners thoughtfully address themes of social tolerance, access to education, climate change, immigration, and endurance in the face of COVID-19.

“Each of the winners is unique in their impressive artistic vision and thoughtful response to the world around them. Together, along with all 1,500 of the submissions, they represent the diversity of the hopes and dreams of the next generation,” said Amplifier Executive Director Cleo Barnett. “Along with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Amplifier is proud to give a platform to America’s youth, and hopes that these artworks can be used to inspire discussion about the future.”

Educators around the country were able to utilize the free “In Pursuit of ____” teaching guides: “My students ran with the “In Pursuit of ____” project — I used it as a final project in both my photography and graphic design classes. The video went a long way to show the kids the process and was super helpful…It really gave them a chance to reflect on their world and express their ideas thoughtfully,” said an educator about the experience.

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