For the past 8 years, photographer William Arnold (MFA 2017) has been fighting to help end the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. Having worked as the Program Manager for the Ohio AIDS Coalition and Camp Sunrise, he has had a large role in developing programming for both organizations that reach every county in Ohio. But his efforts don’t just stop there. He’s also been dedicating his efforts to an orphanage in Honduras, called Montana de Luz, where he holds photography workshops for HIV+ children. Read more about William’s experience in his own words below-
“This past January I had the privilege of returning to Montana de Luz (MdL), an orphanage for HIV+ children located in southeast rural Honduras, to live and work for eight days. I often describe my first visit as a ‘lighting bolt’ experience, however, upon my return this year, I found myself completely caught off guard at the ‘hurricane’ type of experience it turned out to be. The personal connections with the children deepened even further, as I was able to lead a three-day photography workshop, working with the children to sharpen their already creative eye for snapping images. Exploring image components, such as the background (el fondo), the focus (enfocar), lighting (el alumbrado), and the framing (enmarcar), the children gained confidence in their photography and creative abilities (collectively they snapped over 1400 images). It was at the conclusion of the workshops that it hit me, why aren’t more artists working with Montana de Luz? It is my hope that over my remaining time here in the MFA program, I am able to facilitate the building of a far reaching and impactful relationship between CCAD and MdL. Artists sharing their knowledge and assisting the children in sharpening their existing creativity will strengthen valuable trade skills and create opportunity as they transition into adulthood.”
Additionally, starting in April, William will become an artist in residence at the community-based Second Sight Project in Franklinton, Columbus.