Undergraduate internship inspires virtual art exhibit platform for students, “Work Left Unsaid”

four people sitting in a row

It was a winding path that led Charlotte Jones HD ’22 to create “Work Left Unsaid,” a virtual art exhibit where Cornell student organizations could display visual and performing arts disrupted by global coronavirus pandemic.

The journey began when Jones took an internship the summer after her sophomore year with the global non-profit organization Positive Exposure (PE), which showcases people with physical and cognitive disabilities through photography, films, exhibitions, lectures and educational programs to promote a more inclusive world.

The internship inspired her to launch her own inclusiveness project at Cornell called Cameradery. In the spring of 2020, the organization paired Cornell students with local adults who have cognitive disabilities for a photography project. This semester, she is partnering with Positive Exposure to provide a virtual photography experience for PE’s ambassadors. 

Work left unsaid poster

Poster for Cameradery show, "Work Left Unsaid".

After launching the organization in the spring of 2020, Jones planned to showcase the photographs created by program participants this spring. But that art show was canceled when the Cornell campus shut down in March.

“I still wanted an opportunity to display these amazing photographs,” she said. “I realized it couldn’t have been just me who didn’t get to show the work they did because of COVID, so I decided to try to incorporate other student organizations in the art show.”

Eight student organizations are participating in the virtual art show, which is hosted by Cornell University Mann Library. Other displays will include entomology photographs, acapella groups and a dance troupe. 

“It’s really a wide range of performing and visual arts,” Jones said. “Putting all of these art forms in one place makes a big impression and showcases the depth and breadth of talent at Cornell. I also want to thank the staff at Mann Library for giving me the forum to publish all of this.”

Each organization participating in the virtual art show will get several weeks in the spotlight. Cameradery is currently displayed in the show. The exhibit shows photographs taken by people with cognitive disabilities living in the Ithaca community.

“The people with disabilities actually took the photos, although some needed help operating a camera” Jones said. “We wanted it to be their art. The idea is to boost self-esteem and show the beauty of everyone.”

The art show, found at https://exhibits.library.cornell.edu/work-left-unsaid, will showcase new student organization every few weeks. 

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