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Library News Release

Release Date: 09/01/2016

Explore Youth and Family Homelessness at The Seattle Public Library Through Mary Ellen Mark’s ‘Tiny: Streetwise Revisited’ Photo Exhibit, Sept. 15 Through Nov. 3

Tiny, Halloween, Seattle, 1983 © Mary Ellen MarkThe Seattle Public Library will host "Tiny: Streetwise Revisited," an exhibit of photographs by the late Mary Ellen Mark, from Thursday, Sept. 15 to Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 8 Gallery, 206-386-4636.


The exhibit presents 30 years' worth of images in chronological order, bringing the viewer along on Erin "Tiny" Blackwell's journey from a homeless teenager living on the streets of downtown Seattle to a mother of 10 children. Tiny grows up in difficult circumstances and uses her intelligence and stamina to create a life for herself and her family.


Using Mark's art and the associated films of her husband, Martin Bell, the Library invites the broader Seattle community to be part of an important conversation about our city's youth and family homelessness crisis.


"We are so fortunate to be able to host these deeply personal and moving images and films to facilitate important community discussions about Seattle's homelessness crisis," said Valerie Wonder, community engagement manager for the Library. "We are also extremely grateful to several community partners who are bringing expertise, richness and depth to our related program offerings."


Program partners include the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle University's Project on Family Homelessness, United Way of King County, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, Photographic Center Northwest and Youth Speaks.


The photography exhibit and public programming are made possible through support from The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to support The Seattle Public Library's exhibit of 'Tiny: Streetwise Revisited'," said Kollin Min, Pacific Northwest senior program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We are hopeful that Mary Ellen Mark and Martin Bell's sensitive 30-year chronicle about a Seattle family experiencing homelessness will contribute to the important ongoing public discussion about homelessness and poverty that is taking place in King County and will add momentum to the efforts of our community to find solutions to this problem."


"High quality exhibits are a great way to bring more people into the Library and provide our patrons with a new learning experience," said Jonna Ward, executive director of The Seattle Public Library Foundation. "We were delighted by the thousands of people who came to see Shakespeare's First Folio in the spring and hope this exhibit, which is so timely for our community, is equally as popular."


Tiny pregnant with Daylon, 1985 © Mary Ellen MarkMark (1940-2015), known for her photo essays and portraits in publications such as LIFE, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, used powerful imagery with decades of photos to document Tiny's life, from a homeless youth on the streets of Seattle to a middle-aged mother of 10 children. Gallery images are provided by the Aperture Foundation.


"Mary Ellen never exploited a situation, never exploited someone else's pain or difficult conditions," said Melissa Harris, editor/curator-at-large for the Aperture Foundation and co-curator of the Library's exhibit. "Her work was simultaneously uninflected and deeply inflected. That is, she got you to feel, without telling you what or how to feel. She was passionate and compassionate. Life mattered."


In addition to the Mary Ellen Mark exhibit, the Library will offer public programs exploring the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness as well as four public tours of the exhibit. A complete list of events is below.



The exhibit, "Tiny: Streetwise Revisited," will be on display during normal open hours from Thursday, Sept. 15 to Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 8 Gallery, 206-386-4636. The exhibit is free. Tickets and reservations are not required. Photography is permitted. No flash photography please.



Film Screening: 'Streetwise' by Martin Bell & Mary Ellen Mark

An outdoor screening of the classic 1980s documentary on youth homelessness in Seattle, accompanied by art making, spoken word poetry and live music.




Streetwise Revisited: Public Tours

Join us for community-led tours of the special exhibit "Tiny: Streetwise Revisited." Tours last 30 minutes and registration is not required. All tours meet at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 3, The Norcliffe Foundation Living Room at the Fifth Avenue entrance. Once gathered, the tours will proceed to the Level 8 Gallery.







Art History Talk: The Legacy of Mary Ellen Mark

Michelle Dunn Marsh, executive director at Photographic Center Northwest, discusses "Streetwise" in the context of Mary Ellen Mark's 50 years of documentary photography.




Film Screening: 'Streetwise' by Martin Bell & Mary Ellen Mark

A screening of the classic 1980s documentary about youth homelessness in Seattle.




Film Screening: 'Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

A screening of the recently released follow-up documentary that traces the journey of a mother who experienced homelessness as a teen in Seattle during the 1980s. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with film director Martin Bell; Erin "Tiny" Blackwell; and housing advocate Mark Putnam.




Create Change: Youth & Family Homelessness and the Arts

Take part in an interactive day exploring civic engagement around youth and family homelessness. Use your voice for good! Listen to dynamic housing advocates share their successes (and failures), then take part in interactive workshops on the use of art and social media to address homelessness with a larger impact. Presented in partnership with the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture.




A Historical Perspective on Homelessness in Seattle

What did local homeless encampments look like 80 years ago? How did homelessness become a state of emergency in Seattle? Gain a historical perspective on homelessness from a panel of experts.


For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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