The Fourth Grade Project

The students’ stories capture the gamut of societal issues
that we face today….

The Fourth Grade Project

Opening February 1, 2023

In the past decade, acclaimed artist Judy Gelles interviewed and photographed more than 300 fourth-grade students from a wide range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, Dubai, South Korea, and multiple areas of the United States. She asked all of the students the same three questions: Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What do you worry about? Their varied stories, collected in the exhibition The Fourth Grade Project, touch on the human condition and urgent social issues. In 2015, Gelles talked about this photographic series at TEDxPenn.

Displayed in the historic McKune Room at the library, explore sixty photographs with stories that capture a variety of societal issues, such as violence, immigration, global hunger, and the impact of the media and popular culture. More than that, the students’ perspectives reveal common human experiences including the impact of family and friends, our desire for acceptance, and an enduring hope that we will grow to make our community and world a better place.

My dream for this project would be if it could be instituted in curriculums all over the world, and kids could be connected and become a part of one huge global community. — Judy Gelles

CDL Community Fourth Grade Project

In Gelles’s 2015 TEDxPenn Talk, she expressed her desire for this project to be implemented in school districts around the world as an effort to build empathy and understanding of different cultures and lifestyles.She dreams of children being part of one connected global community. In an effort to fulfill this mission and engage the local community, CDL staff has worked with students at South Meadows Elementary School to create our very own local Fourth Grade Project.

Join us at the library!

Grand Opening

Saturday, Feb. 4 | 5–7pm | All Ages | McKune Room | Drop-in
CDL invites you to join us for an after-hours grand opening of The Fourth Grade Project exhibition featuring a variation of the Project created by local Chelsea students. View the main exhibition and explore photographs of Chelsea fourth grade students who created their own version of the Project by engaging with concepts of photography, art, journalism, and global awareness in their classrooms.

In partnership with South Meadows Elementary School and the Chelsea School District

Do you want to participate in the Project? We want your elementary school photos! Whether you were a fourth grader last year or 90 years ago, join the fun and contribute to our Community Fourth Grade Project! Bring your photos* labeled with first name and last initial to the second floor information desk.
*We will scan & print from your original photo. Copies will not be returned.

Photography by Judy Gelles

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