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When Did it Stop Being Fun?: Exhibition and Panel Discussion Focuses on Kids

A new exhibition aims at drawing attention to the burdens that K-12 students carry while at school, hoping to shed light on the importance of kids being kids. “When Did it Stop Being Fun” opens Saturday at DNJ Gallery in Santa Monica, with a panel discussion scheduled mid-way through the exhibition run.

The opening reception is scheduled for 7.30pm April 16, with photographer Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg hoping her work and the collated exhibition will have an impact.

“I want to draw attention to this crisis for parents, educators and elected officials about how kids today are on this mad dash to the finish line,” Mayers-Schoenberg said. “Many of them [kids] are in therapy or on medication because they have too much anxiety,” she added. 

“Getting enough rest, family time, exercise and proper nutrition during elementary, middle and high school,” is of vital importance, Mayers-Schoenberg said.  

The exhibition includes images by children of all ages, photographs by Mayers-Schoenberg and original images taken by photographer Lewis Hine (1874-1940), used to establish a background.

Hine wanted to show things in society that had to be corrected – he was one of the earliest artists to use the photograph as a documentary tool, according to the J. Paul Getty Museum. Hine is known for his ground-breaking pictures that documented the plight of the working children establishment in the early 1900’s, thus helping the child labor laws to be altered, exhibition organizers stated.

A panel discussion on the issue is scheduled for Sunday May 22 from 1pm-3pm at the gallery.

If children are spending all of elementary school worrying about getting into a good middle school and then also concerned with attending a good high school, are we denying them a childhood?,  Mayers-Schoenberg asks.  “Are they are overly-challenged by demanding homework, projects and activities, instead of the rest and play associated with youth?”

DNJ Gallery is located at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica. The show continues through June 11th.  Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm.

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