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Photographer Empowers MSS Students With Message of Inclusivity

Main Street School students welcomed artist Angélica Dass – the creator behind the “Humanæ” photography project – to their school on March 5. During her visit, Dass discussed what inspired her work and encouraged the students to continue to celebrate inclusivity.

“We are beyond appreciative and thrilled that she connected with us in person,” Principal Joyce Chapnick said. “Her visit further inspired our students to consider how they are kind and respectful of our many identities.”

Dass, a Brazilian photographer based in Madrid, took 4,000 portraits for her project to show the range of human skin color and challenge how people think about skin color and ethnic identity. Her project directly aligns with Main Street School’s work on character-building and its efforts to continue to foster an inclusive school environment.

Since the beginning of the school year, fourth and fifth grade teachers have been providing direct-instruction lessons that celebrate the inclusion of all students. They’ve also been integrating lessons into the classrooms that include books with characters from diverse backgrounds and identities. Main Street School’s work is in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program, thanks to the generous support of the PTSA and with the support of social worker Gina Menendez, school counselor Alissa Kane and school psychologist Meg Granfors.

Prior to Dass’ visit, the students created their own project, Welcoming Hands, which was inspired by her work. It is a collaborative art piece that celebrates the inclusion of all students.

Dass’ work is featured in the Nature of Color Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.