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David Mamet: People may not say what they mean, but always say something designed to get what they want."

Lynn Warshafsky

Founder and Executive Director

Lynn conceived and created Venice Arts' award-winning arts education and mentoring programs for Los Angeles-area youth; initiated its program of exhibitions, film screenings, and workshops for adults; and has led the vision for its participant- produced documentary media initiatives, as well as its international program of capacity building for NGOs and Foundations in participant-media, artist training, program development, and curriculum design.

In 2007, together with Jim Hubbard, Dr. Neal Baer, and the University of Southern California's Geoffrey Cowan, Lynn co-founded the Institute for Photographic Empowerment at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, which launched the first-ever Minor in the field. She was also a Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School (2008-09) and, from 2000–04, held a Faculty appointment at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where, from 1990 to 2004, she was a consultant and trainer for the UCLA School of Medicine's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

In 2014, Lynn received the Milestone Certificate of Appreciation, awarded to only seven arts leaders nationwide by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. In 2003, she received a Fellowship from Stanford University for the Graduate School of Business' program Nonprofit Leaders: Arts and, in 2002, was selected as one of 10 arts leaders, countywide, for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Arts Leadership Initiative. She has been an invited lecturer on visual communication and participatory media at, among other institutions, Stanford University, UCLA, Colorado College, and the Aspen Institute’s Convening on Culture and the Arts (Paris).

Lynn is a Board Officer (Secretary) of the Social Change Institute. She is a member of the Youth Media Steering Committee of NAMAC (National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture), the National Guild for Community Arts Education, and the California Alliance for Arts Education.

In addition to her work in arts education and participant-media, Lynn has been an organization development consultant for more than 20 years, consulting to arts and human service organizations, foundations, academic institutions, and governmental agencies. She studied photography as an undergraduate student and at the Los Angeles Women’s Building, where she also taught. She received her Master's degree in Psychology in 1982 and has held a license in the State of California since 1985. She is the mom to a teenage daughter, Sofie.


Observer in Advanced Studies: Internship Program
Organizer in Picturing Health: South Los Angeles' Figueroa Corridor
Mastermind in BMS Think Tank
Organizer in Through Our Eyes: Hong Kong
Organizer in Picturing Health: Coachella Valley
Participant in Venice Arts Web Developers
Observer in Picturing Health: Long Beach Documentary Project
Participant in Building Healthy Communities: South Kern Documentary Project
Organizer in Picturing Health: Boyle Heights Documentary Project
Participant in Picturing Health: East Salinas Documentary Project
Organizer in The House Is Small But The Welcome Is Big
Observer in Building Healthy Communities: South and East Merced
Participant in Shipping and Receiving: Letters and Photographs between Venice and South Dakota
Director in Picturing Health: Southern and Central California
Organizer in Green + Black = White
Observer in Got Caught Up Out There: Photography by Homeless Women
Co-creator in The House is Small, But the Welcome is Big
Organizer in Picturing Race: From Los Angeles to South Africa
Traveler in Hong Kong February 2011
Organizer in Breaking Website—Tell us all about it!
Organizer in From Senegal: Stories that Demand to be Heard
Mistress of Ceremonies in College & Post-Graduate Internship Program
Blogs, art, and stories from Venice Arts' Interns

Organizer in The Institute for Photographic Empowerment
Admin in Voices of the Forest: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand
Organizer in In A New Land II: Ten Years Later

publicgalleriesBACK TO SUMMARY

Voices of the Forest: Thailand

A story about how a group of women in the Khao Rao Thian Thong Community Forestry Network, Thailand, make a living through sustainable practices and bamboo harvesting. (2014-15)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Voices of the Forest: Myanmar
A Family's Aspirations

A beautiful, short story about how a mother's best hopes for her daughters' educations and futures are derailed, when her husband dies and her access to the forest—and its products—diminished. (2014-15)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Voices of the Forest: Thailand

A story about how a group of women in the Khao Rao Thian Thong Community Forestry Network, Thailand, make a living through sustainable practices and bamboo harvesting. (2014-15)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Voices of the Forest: Cambodia

Two stories from Pursat Province, Cambodia that illuminate the importance of protecting and sustaining the community's forest for generations to come. (2014-15)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Voices of the Forest: Myanmar
A Family's Aspirations

A beautiful, short story about how a mother's best hopes for her daughters' educations and futures are derailed, when her husband dies and her access to the forest—and its products—diminished. (2014-15)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Working with Cure India, April 2014

Lynn traveled to New Delhi, India, with Jim Hubbard to assist on a project for Cure India, which has as its goal "to eradicate disability caused by clubfoot in India...and to enlighten the public that clubfoot can be treated and neglected clubfoot leads to lifetime disability."

Curated by Lynn | Items: 8

The House Is Small, But The Welcome Is Big

A small selection of photography from this internationally traveled exhibition by South African women living with AIDS (Venice Arts, 2006-2009)

Curated by Lynn | Items: 1

Stories of Change

From the Kolda Region, Senegal, January 2013—This shares images from the field, and three short-short films (4–5 minutes) made by participants and funded by Sundance-Skoll's Stories of Change. To watch the films, click on the links below:
  • Waylo Waylo (Change)
    The story of 13 year-old Maounde, who was determined to be educated, and her father, who comes to understand the importance of girls' eduction.

  • The Crossing
    A story of interethnic marriage and the hope it offers for peace and security.

  • Peace Come In
    Stories of health, education, and the environment.
These films are being used by Tostan's staff in three different ways: at the local level to sensitize and educate people living in other villages in Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea Bissau and working with Tostan for the first time; to demonstrate to other NGOs working in Africa Tostan's unique approach; and, to raise awareness and understanding in the international community about positive change in West Africa facilitated by Tostan's work.

These films also show the extraordinary efforts of men and women, elders and youth to break from long-held traditions, perhaps making a small contribution to inspiring the efforts of others working toward peace and security, whatever their methods and wherever they may live.

Tostan's Model: Tostan’s intensive, three-year community-based approach to informal education in Africa starts in a classroom, teaching people about human rights—to health, education, a clean environment—after which participants disseminate or "diffuse" what they have learned to others in their families and communities, as well as to other villages. Tostan also works with each community to create their own infrastructure, called the Community Management Committee, with elected leaders who oversee community development and assure that the work lives on long after Tostan has left. For more information, visit Tostan.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 15

Teaching in the Field: Senegal

Our third day of training included reviewing shooting exercises from the previous day and doing critique; taking out and reviewing the field-equipment (better cameras, sound equipment, and more); and a team shooting exercise that focused on interviews and/or portraits. With one interpreter and a few participants who also spoke English, the teams navigated French, English, Woloff, and Pulaar to create their pieces.

Our Process
Alex, Brigid, and Christian each worked with a different team of three participants with a goal to help them integrate everything they had learned, thus far about the power of story and participant storytelling, documentary aesthetics, and filmmaking concepts and technical skills. Each group worked in crews, with some choosing a single role for the duration of the exercise (sound, camera, direction, etc.) and others rotating roles. In addition to integrating knowledge and building skills through practice, our goal was to give participants an experience of "teaching in the field," which is central to Venice Arts pedagogy. This was done in several ways: At times, the Venice Arts' filmmaker set-up the shots and talked through what they were doing and why, including other choices that they might make; at other times, the participants set-up all components of the shot and received feedback from the filmmaker and their peers on shot composition, sound, light, and more. The filmmakers also asked questions of the participant-team to get them thinking about the creative and technical choices that they were making and why. They also worked collaboratively to make decisions about what stories to pursue and what the approach might be.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 10

Goree Island, Senegal

On our second day in Dakar, Alex, Brigid, Christian, and Lynn visited Goree Island, one of the "gateways" that held enslaved people before their terrible journey to the Americas.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 4

Consulting With Global Citizen Year

In the Fall of 2012, Venice Arts began a new program of consultation and training with Global Citizen Year. Their 9-month gap year program places recent high school graduates as Fellows in Brazil, Ecuador, and Senegal. Their goal? To unleash the potential of the next generation of young Americans as authentic leaders and effective agents of change.

Venice Arts is providing consultation on storytelling and use of media to both staff and Fellows. The August staff training included a discussion of the role of storytelling in organizational communications and messaging, as well as hands-on experience telling 1-minute video stories. The Fellows training looked more broadly at the intrinsic nature of story to the human experience; the growing dominance of visual storytelling in the age of technology and digital media; the history of participant-produced stories; and the fundamentals of crafting compelling, visual narratives.

Want to develop your organization's skills in media-based storytelling? Interested in supporting participant-produced photography and film projects in your community? In need of consultation or curriculum development? Learn more about our Consulting and Training services here.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 9

Artists' Training in Hong Kong, August 2012

This year marked our third year training teaching artists (tutors) at the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation in Hong Kong. We were so pleased to also provide a "Training of Trainers" for two of the tutors, Jenny and Ceci, who co-lead the training program. Their participation was especially helpful in providing the cultural context for our efforts and added significantly to its success.

Check back later this fall as we begin to share work from Twin Cities, a new, collaborative project with the Foundation that links Hong Kong and Los Angeles youth through their creative works.

About Venice Arts training, consultation, and media services: Venice Arts works with a wide range of organizations and individuals both locally and internationally to provide services that support their growth and development. Click here to see a partial list of clients and projects. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us here. Please indicate Training or Consultation Request in the subject line.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 8

Revelation: Photography by Youth (Hong Kong)

This week, Joanne and I walked the historic Hong Kong district of Wanchai, following an art walk map that guided us to seven venues—historic buildings, bookshops, malls, art centers—featuring photographic works by youth. Titled "Revelation," the exhibit marks the culmination of the 2011–12 iteration of Through Our Eyes (TOE), a program created by the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. It is wonderful to be here, celebrating with the Foundation, its Teaching Artists and students, and reflecting on how TOE has grown over the last several years that Venice Arts has been providing consultation, artist training, and curriculum development, as well as curating an exhibit at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2011. We are also in Hong Kong to plan the artist training for 2012 and a new project that will link young in Hong Kong and Los Angeles through their images and words (and, of course, to eat Dim Sum). Our colleagues, Jenny, Leon, and Tin Pui will be traveling to Venice in May to see our culminating exhibit and to put the finishing touches on the HK-LA youth collaboration. We will start sharing work from the project later this year, but you can check out past work here.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 12

the jojo eug riff

and more than art is made love is made.

with random words contributed by cathy. deanna. elysa. new liz. lynn.

i dreamt i was free falling in a dark universe of 1s and 0s. now i know what binary means.

amazing. not just venice. or california. but mozambique. jordan. israel. palestine. hong kong. macao. lost baggage and handstands in johannesberg. [please no handstands on the plane. ferry. row boat. funicular. cable car. trolley. aerial tram.]

food. stalls. restaurants. kitchens. talking. tasting. eating. eating. eating. 2 a.m. swimming pools. sleeping at the table. chinese opera. elusive wallet. handmade paper. taking kristen and alex to palm springs. photo taunting liz. lost in denver. snow. lost in coachella. earthquake. lost in venice. rain.

no one will believe this. i cut six handstand photos. they multiply on their own. must have something to do with talking with our hands.

jojo. roro. soso. pabs. eug. rox. mom. dad. and, of course. francesca. alex. sam. genevieve. evelyn. chris. shane. itzel. kristen. joss. sofie. and all of the other people of youthful persuasion whose lives you have touched. kind hearted. stealth couple. pablo's secret weapon. magical. nicest people ever. love.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 23

Light and Shadow

A gallery set of work by renowned photographers intended to demonstrate dramatic use of light and shadow. Also provides an opportunity to discuss the work of iconic photographers.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 10

25 Vantage Points

This Gallery shares student Karina's response to the 25 Vantage Points exercise, a hands-on activity that demonstrates point-of-view, among other photographic concepts.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 10

Hong Kong Teaching Artists Visit Venice Arts

In 2010, Venice Arts began consulting with the Hong Kong-based Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. Among other things, we created a tailored Curriculum Guide for the Foundation's youth photography program, Through Our Eyes (TOE), advised on a summer Photo Camp, and led a Teaching Artists training program. This year, we are honored to be the Guest Curators for the TOE Grand Exhibit, to open June 2011 at the Hong Kong Arts Center, as well as to continue our work collaborating on the TOE curriculum and artist training. Click to see photos from the artists' visit to LA in April.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 15

The Witch Of Shell Avenue

Visit her if you dare.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 6

Student Work From Hong Kong

This gallery represents work in progress by students in Hong Kong who are participating in Through Our Eyes (2010-11). The images have been posted by their Teaching Artists. Let them know what you think! Share your comments about the work under "Buzz", below.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 10

Amman, Jordan

Jim, Joanne, and Eugene arrived in Amman, Jordan on June 25, 2010 to work on a project with children in Jericho, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 14

Day 1 in Coachella

During the first day of photo camp, youth talked about telling the following stories: picking fruit; family health issues (asthma, diabetes); healthcare; the quality of food at their schools; safety; teen pregnancy; and new housing developments. For their first shoot to get comfortable with their cameras they documented a shrine for a 16 year-old killed outside of the Boys & Girls Club; the town of Mecca, including a trip to Painted Canyon and an orange and grape grove.

Curated by Lynn | Items: 11

At the Deli (for Alex)

Alex asked (and, now, she is receiving) pictures of the Deli (or, as she called it THE DELI) to prove that, in fact, after 2 years it finally opened. More to come!

Curated by Lynn | Items: 5

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