Second Annual Somerville Toy Camera Festival

On May 4, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Lo-fi art fest takes over Somerville, Massachusetts

Wheel of Fortune — Shero.

Wheel of Fortune — Shero.

This June the second annual Somerville Toy Camera Festival (STCF) will take place at five locations throughout Somerville, making it among the largest toy camera festivals in the world. Showcasing the work of local, national and international photographers, the STCF highlights the talents and creativity of artists using low tech tools to create high art images.

The festival was launched in 2013 by members of the Nave Gallery and the Washington Street Art Center, two Somerville nonprofit artist-run arts organizations. Defined as any low-end, low-tech, limited-control camera, the “toy camera” has been a source of inspiration for both art spaces, with each having held a toy camera exhibition in the past. Juried by the toy camera photographer Isa Leshko, the 2013 festival exhibited the work of 40 local, national and international photographers at three locations: The Nave Gallery, Nave Gallery Annex and Washington Street Art Center.

The festival expands this year to include Brickbottom Artists Association and the Somerville Museum, and is juried by Meg Birnbaum and Lee Kilpatrick, two Somerville-based fine art photographers. Birnbaum’s work has been juried into numerous national and international photography competitions, and she has hosted solo shows in Kobe, Japan, the Davis Orton Gallery, NY, Panopticon Gallery, Boston, Corden Potts Gallery, San Francisco and the Griffin Museum of Photography, among others. Kilpatrick is the director of the Washington Street Art Center and he works with both digital and film in conventional and panoramic format. His photography primarily focuses on documentary candids, and he shows regularly in the Boston area in both solo and group exhibitions.

Fear of forgetting 18 — Harmon.

Fear of forgetting 18 — Harmon.

The Nave Gallery, Nave Gallery Annex, Washington Street Art Center and Brickbottom Gallery will display work selected by the jurors. In collaboration with the Parts and Crafts Collective maker space, the Somerville Museum will host a workshop with local youth on toy camera photography, encouraging them to take photos of their urban environment with low-tech digital keychain cameras. The results of their exploration will be on display during the festival.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this,” says Michael O’Connor, Director of exhibitions at the Somerville Museum. “It is a fantastic way to engage our young community creatively and through a medium unlike what they are accustomed to. And for their work to be on display during such a unique festival is thrilling.”

“This is such an inclusive event, both in the accessibility of the medium and in the joining together of so many creative Somerville venues,” Debra Olin, Brickbottom Gallery coordinator notes. “Brickbottom Gallery is proud to be involved in this dynamic festival.”

A schedule of exhibition dates and openings is below. Full details on the festival’s participants and other events will be available early May at

Artists, panel discussions and guest speakers to be announced.

Schedule of Exhibitions and Events:

Somerville Museum
Exhibition dates: June 5-28, 2014
Reception: Saturday, June 7, 2-5 pm
Gallery Hours: Thursday, 2-7 pm; Friday, 2-5 pm; Saturday, 12-5 pm
1 Westwood Road, Somerville, MA 02143

Brickbottom Gallery
Exhibition dates: June 5-28, 2014
Reception: Sunday, June 8, 5-7 pm
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 pm
1 Fitchburg Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Nave Annex
Exhibition dates: June 6-28, 2014
Reception: Friday June 6, 6-8pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 6-8 pm; Saturday, 2-8 pm; Sunday, 2-6 pm
53 Chester Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Washington Street Arts Center
Exhibition dates: June 7-28, 2014
Reception: Saturday, June 7, 7-9 pm
Gallery Hours: Saturday, noon-4 pm
321 Washington Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Nave Gallery
Exhibition dates: June 7-29, 2014
Reception: Sunday, June 8, 3-5 pm
Gallery Hours: Saturday & Sunday 1-5 pm
155 Powder House Blvd., Somerville, MA 02144


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