Schoolkids capture diversity of southeast Fresno through unique art project

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Giant black-and-white photos are displayed at Sunnyside High School, showing the faces of the people who live, learn and work in southeast Fresno.

It's all part of a project that's a collaboration between photography and art students at the school.

"The kids came up with the idea of - 'Let's celebrate our Sunnyside region family'. So they went out and photographed random people at our feeder schools," said Tamela Ryatt, Sunnyside High School teacher.

Those schools include Easterby, Greenberg, Kings Canyon and Terronez Middle School, to name a few.

Nearly 450 people were photographed to help represent the "We are Family" theme for the project.

"We told them about the project and they knew they were going to a part of something special. So it was a pleasant surprise for us to know that they were willing to have their picture taken and were not nervous or anything like that," said Enrique Villanueva, a student of Sunnyside High School.

More than 2,400 square feet of paper and more than 60 gallons of wheat paste went into showcasing the diverse community.

Photographs were sized, tiled and sequenced to cover pillars, walls, and staircases, all inspired by world-renowned artist JR of Paris.

About 100 students worked from Saturday through Monday morning to put up the giant photos.

"And my team helped with the north pillars. We did it by section and we stepped back and looked at it. We were proud of it. We never thought we would have done it or be involved in it," said Viviriana Santos, another Sunnyside High School student.

This is the third year for the art project, which continues to grow with the help of the community around Sunnyside High School.

"We celebrate our diversity and our unity here at Sunnyside," said Ryatt.
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