Children of Children

Portraits and Stories of Teenage Parents

This exhibit presents the powerful story of unplanned pregnancies. The presentation is not judgmental. The stories reflect hope, frustration, regret and fulfillment. It is an opportunity for both healing and learning. It is an exhibit of immense kindness.
-Dr. Fernando Guerra, Former Director of Public Health, San Antonio

About:
Children of Children introduces us to 45 individuals ranging in ages from 12 to 100 who have been touched by teenage pregnancy and parenting. Their stories are told through compelling black and white photographs, each accompanied by a recorded narrative that offers clarifying details and gripping insights.

This multimedia exhibition is a catalyst for family, student and community discussions, as it explores teen pregnancy and parenting. Many venues have used this exhibit as the centerpiece for related programming including, lectures, student field trips, radio and other educational and fundraising activities.


Artist Statement

This exhibition presents portraits and audio stories of those whose lives have been crucially affected by teenage pregnancy and parenting. Half of the subjects are current teenage parents and half are individuals who were once teenage parents. One story is from the father of a teenage mother and one from the child of teenage parents.

The project’s intention is not to condemn, condone or romanticize teenage pregnancy in any way, but to explore the context of young pregnancy and parenting in our society.

These photographs and stories are glimpses into much larger, complex lives. Each person carries a separate, very particular history. Whether the early pregnancy occurred in 90 years ago or today, it is a dramatic, life-changing event. Often it is the dividing line between childhood and becoming an adult. Teenage pregnancy can pull families apart, but it can also bring some families closer together.

All of the participants in this project faced difficult choices at a young age. If not already married, will I marry the father or mother? Should I keep this child or have an abortion? Should I give my child up for adoption? How am I going to support this child? How will the pregnancy affect my family and friends? How is this pregnancy going to change my educational and career goals? Am I going to be a good parent? Most of the individuals I interviewed said that they wished they would have waited, but loved their children.

I have found some families in difficult situations loving and caring for their children and working hard to improve their lives, while others seemed overwhelmed and unsure how to deal with the complexities of their situations.

It has been a privilege to have these passionate conversations. It has changed me. Everyone in this exhibition knows something important and valuable, a wisdom about their experience that only they know. Stories are places where empathy and understanding begin.

  • Al - audio excerpt
  • Angelica - audio excerpt
  • Christine - full audio
  • Claude - audio excerpt
  • Destiny - audio excerpt
  • Isabel - full audio
  • Jennifer - full audio
  • Jerri - full audio
  • Ka Veissa - audio excerpt
  • Laura - full audio
  • Lila Mae - full audio
  • Michael & Jackie - audio excerpt
  • Octevia - full audio
  • Pat - audio excerpt
  • Shanna - audio excerpt
  • Terry - full audio

Exhibition Can Be Installed in Any Space – On Walls or Easels Installation:
There are 46 portraits and 46 audio narratives. Each of the participants speaks in his or her own voice. Mounted below each portrait is a wooden box containing an audio player and headphones. The stories range from 4 to 6 minutes each. Many sites have used this exhibit as the centerpiece for related programming including, lectures, panel discussions, student field trips, radio and other educational and fundraising activities.

Installation
This exhibit can be installed on walls in formal museums or galleries – or anywhere with the optional easel installation. The easel installation has been designed to hold the photographs, lights and audio components and have been installed in universities, libraries, galleries and conferences.

Photographs & Audio
All photographs were made using an 8 x 10 view camera. Photographs are black & white silver darkroom prints. Each image is mounted on 24” x 30” archival board and framed. Audio narratives were edited/mastered with the approval of each participant.

Cost & Availability
Please contact Michael Nye

Children of Children has traveled to over 90 communities including: 

The Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Vantaa City Museum, Vantaa, Finland
The Grace Museum, Abilene, Texas
Red Brick Gallery – Texas A&M University, Bryan, Texas
Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida
Orlando Science Center, Orlando, Florida
Museum of Science & History, Corpus Christi, Texas
South Florida Community College Gallery, Avon Park, Florida
Art Serve Gallery, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Wells Family Resource Center, Wells, Nevada
County Healthy Start Coalition, Okeechobee, Florida
IMPACCT, County Government Center, San Bernardino, California
Regional Health District Gallery, Spokane, Washington
Cultural Council, Vera Beach, Florida
Robert & Mary Montgomery Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL
St. United Methodist Church, St. Louis, Missouri
Public Health Foundation, Reno, Nevada –
Karpeles Museum, Jacksonville, Florida
Mary Brogan Museum of Art, Tallahassee, Florida
Public Health Foundation, Las Vegas, Nevada
Martin County Healthy Start, Stuart, Florida
Your Choice Not Chance, Pullman, Washington
United Community Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Naples, Florida – International College of Naples
Neville Public County Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida
Northeastern University Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts
Tulare County Health Department, Visalia, California
Thomas Center Gallery, Gainesville, Florida 
Panama City, Florida
Salisbury University Gallery, Salisbury, Maryland
African Heritage Culture Art Center, Miami, Florida
Columbia, South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art
Tsetse Gallery, YWCA Providence, Rhode Island

The impact of Children of Children has been profound. Those of us who have devoted our careers to the museum field hope to provide experiences that have meaning to the participants. This exhibit has exceeded our expectations.

Linda Johnson – Former President/Executive Director at The Witte Museum

Parents and schools should make viewing Children of Children exhibition mandatory for every teenager in the county. These photographs are far more passionate and powerful than any words of wisdom we impart.

Naples Daily Dews: Naples, Florida

Children of Children exhibit is one of the most powerful public health promotion strategies I have ever seen. It conveys a compelling message in an engaging and emotionally stirring format. It is a work of art, and public practice at its finest.

Deanna Davis, Spokane Regional Health District


Reviews

Neapolitan, Naples Daily News:  Naples, Florida, March 12, 2001
“There’s a traveling photo exhibit opening at International College in Naples on March 14 called Children of Children. Parents and schools should make viewing this show mandatory for every teen-ager in the county. These photographs are far more passionate and powerful than any words of wisdom we impart. ”  Barbara Bova
 
The News: Stuart, Florida, February 2, 2001
“It crosses generations, all races and ethnicities are represented. And it’s as much teen dads telling their stories as teen moms . . .   The teen pregnancy Task Force of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition is presenting the show as a result of a focus group in May. . .  Results of the focus group showed that teens needed to be informed by something “real.” Nye’s exhibit fits that description.”
 
Tallahassee Democrat: Tallahassee, Florida, Mary Brogan Museum of Art, December 26, 2000,
“Most of their eyes look straight at you. There is no shame or defensiveness. Although few smile, most appear strong, open and alive. I think it’s so powerful. The people he interviewed spoke honestly about their lives: how they felt being a parent, what they want for the future, the dreams they had and lost and perhaps found again. Despite the subject matter, some people find the exhibit inspiring. Others find it sobering, even a little depressing. But few will leave there unmoved.” Sharon Rauch
 
Reno Gazette-Journal: Reno, Nevada September 12, 2000
“Each life portrayed in Michael Nye’s photographs has felt the effects of teen pregnancy. . . Children of Children is more than a collection of photos. With each picture is a narrative explaining how a teen pregnancy affected the lives and families of the person photographed and changed the person’s vision of the future. The exhibit is very powerful educational tool.” Lynn Carrigan, spokeswoman for the Nevada Public Health Foundation. 
 
The Palm Beach Post: Palm Beach, Florida, August 27, 2000
“Kristine Beane, the teen pregnancy prevention coordinator for Palm Beach County fell in love with Michael Nye’s work last fall. . . when she walked into his exhibit, the faces, the stories, the tears. They made her come alive. Nye’s show isn’t just photographs. It’s voices as well. . .  I don’t know what it was, but I saw it and I just thought, this is so wonderful. We have to have it here.”  Emily Minor
 
Sun-Sentinel: South Florida, May 23, 2000
“The hallmark of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Month, the exhibit was brought to Fort Lauderdale for five weeks by the Broward Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. We want parents to see this. We want community leaders to see it. We want policy makers to see it. The beauty of this exhibit is that it really speaks to the heart and soul of those who have experienced teen pregnancy. It is a very human portrayal.” Kathleen Kernicky
 
News-Sun, Highland County: Sebring, Florida April 12, 2000
“. . .  simple and mesmerizing art exhibit. It opens Saturday at The South Florida Community College. . . Nye’s goal wasn’t to condemn, condone or romanticize teen pregnancy, but to provide a forum where young parents could explain to their peers what the experience is really like.” Sharon Jones
 
The Local Planet, Northwest News & Culture: Spokane, Washington May 11, 2000
“May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and that’s a cause for celebration over having the travelling exhibition Children of Children here at our doorstep. . .  Go inside, and before you is a most intriguing gallery walk of sight and sound. Making your way around the room allows you to pick and choose which portraits to stand before, put headphones on, and listen.  As soon as you hear the first clear word, you are entranced. It’s as though someone is about to tell a great story. If you’re open to it, the room is full. This exhibit gives me hope.”   
 
Corpus Christi Caller-Times:  Corpus Christi, Texas, February 17, 2000
“Children of Children is currently on display at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Nye’s subjects are diverse. Their ages span nine decades. A young woman, herself once adopted, speaks of deciding to put her child up for adoption. “Graphically, his work is superb,” said artist and photographer Barbara Riley. . . “The prints just jump off the wall at you. I’m dazzled by them.” Paige Ross
 
The Tampa Tribune:  Tampa, Florida, November 25, 1999
“Sometimes a photograph of a person, that split-second portraiture, can convey emotions and attitudes that would otherwise escape notice. Such is the case with the evocative black and white photos by Michael Nye appearing in the show, at the Tampa Museum of Art through Jan. 15. Without condoning or condemning, the 50 photos depict people of all ages who have been affected by teen pregnancy. Grandmothers, babies, aunts and uncles and of course, teenage parents all come alive in surprising and touching ways through Nye’s lens. Augmenting the effect of each photo is an accompanying sound recording by the subject, offering personal reflections of this life-changing event. Don’t miss this opportunity to view the works of this renowned artist.” Esther Hammer
 
Abilene Reporter-News:  Abilene, Texas March 18, 1999
“With the added inspiration to record each subject and let their own words tell their stories, Nye created an exhibit that takes two-dimensional photographs and adds a stunning third dimension. “It was exactly what the Grace Museum and the Community Foundation of Abilene was looking for,” said Kathy Mayer, project administrator. It is incredibly powerful and unbelievably moving, it shows what happens when people have their lives impacted by teen pregnancy.”  Brian Bethel
 
 
The Austin Chronicle:  Austin, Texas,  April 3, 1998
“I got home from the opening of Michael Nye’s photo exhibit, Children of Children at the Witte Museum in San Antonio determined to inspire as many people as I could to see it. . . I am certain this outstanding exhibition will go on to be seen around the country. If this were just a show of photographs, it would be phenomenal. But the pictures are only half of what’s offered here. Beneath each image is a pair of headphones, and when you put them on, you hear the voice of the subject. . .  as it turns out, the way Nye listens is similar to the way he sees. . . He honors the stories the way he honors faces, and in doing so gives us almost shockingly immediate access to a stranger’s humanity. As you listen to the stories, staring into the speakers’ eyes, the meaning of the show quickly transcends its stated topic. Teen parenthood becomes a window through which all of life is seen: love, courage, family, aspiration, sorrow, and abuse, the way a destiny takes shape, the interplay between fate and will. There are so many stories I will never forget.” Marion Winik
 
San Antonio Express-News: San Antonio, Texas March 8, 1998  
I thank you Fernando Guerra, the public health doctor, who had a big hand in making the Nye exhibit possible. He would want me to commend the Witte for having the vision and courage to help young people through such a moving, intelligent and dignified exhibit. I am proud of the city of San Antonio and The Witte Museum for giving us Nye’s Children of Childrenexhibit. It is an example of the arts helping us to have a good –hearted community.”  Maury Maverick
 
San Antonio Express-News:  San Antonio, Texas February 1, 1998  
“Photographer Michael Nye has combined the skills of a journalist with the compassion of an artist to create his newest photographic exhibit, Children of Children, opening at the Witte Museum.” Dan Goddard
 
Culture and Entertainment Magazine:  San Antonio, Texas, April, 1998
“In a refreshing and touching new exhibit at the Witte Museum entitled Children of Children internationally recognized photographer Michael Nye presents both pictures and short audio biographies. . .  Michael Nye labored more than three years to create a personal and humane perspective on teenage parenthood. The photographs are large, quietly dramatic studio portraits that invite the viewer to inspect the person while listening to her or his voice. . . all of which encourages the viewer to imagine in deeper detail each individual’s experience.”   Karen Stothert