• The In This Moment chapbook project pairs 10 teams of Black writers and photographers with 10 Black leaders from across the city of Rochester resulting in the publication of a series of 10 chapbooks. The project offers vital learning opportunities and reflection for all students and community members. The project teams and chapbook images are curated by local Black curator, Amanda Chestnut.

    **Upcoming Events**

    Book Launch and Panel Discussion with Dr. Linda Clark and Melanie Funchess

    • Date: October 2, 2023, 7pm

    • Location Dryden Theatre (900 East Ave)

    • Free but please register here

    Join us at George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre for a book launch and community discussion celebrating the release of chapbooks 7 and 8 from the second series of In This Moment. Chapbook 7 features Dr. Linda Clark, Chief Medical Officer Jordan Health, with an essay by Lisa Maria Rickman and photographs by Cocoa Rae,  Chapbook 8 features Melanie Mama Mel FunchessCEO/Principal Ubuntu Village Works, with an essay by Quajay and photographs by Natalia Lauer. VSW Assistant Curator Hernease Davis will moderate a discussion with artists involved in the project. The chapbooks will be distributed for free at the event as well.

    A special thank you to George Eastman Museum for sponsoring and hosting our ITM launch.

    The ITM chapbook series is curated by Amanda Chestnut, coordinated by Jeanne Strazzabosco and published by VSW Press.

    Donate to Support ITM2

    Melanie Funchess

    Melanie Funchess, photographed by Natalia Lauer

    History of the project

    VSW published the first set of ITM chapbooks in 2020/2021 during the pandemic when many students were learning virtually, and libraries solely offered curbside pick-up of books. Despite these challenges, VSW staff was able to distribute 1,000 copies of each chapbook through 12 Monroe County libraries that were open for curbside pick-up.

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    The librarians enthusiastically promoted the chapbooks and invited many of our 1st cohort of Black leaders and artists to give virtual presentations. Public artist Shawn Dunwoody teamed with photographer and essayist Quajay Donnell to offer presentations on The Role of Public Art. Dr. Celia McIntosh teamed with Debora McDell-Hernandez and spoke about Black Women’s Health and anthropologist Kathryn Mariner discussed Placemaking and Racism. SUNY Geneseo and the college at St John Fisher invited many of the ITM contributors to speak to their students including presentations about Blackness and Intersectionality with Luticha Doucette and Taurus Savant, and Human Trafficking with Dr. CeliaMcIntosh. RPO trumpeter Herb Smith spoke on Classical Music and Racism. To this date, Mr. Smith is the first and only Black musician hired by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. 

    As the pandemic lessened, a growing number of public schools began to invite ITM contributors into their classrooms and auditoriums to speak about their stories and art. For example, Quajay Donnell gave a presentation on the Role of Public Art to all the 4th and 5th graders at Park Road Elementary School this spring. The students were engaged, curious and proud when they were able to identify one of the images of public art from their own neighborhood. A quote from a 4th grade student referring to the public art images captures the spirit of Donnell’s presentation: It’s like another human being. When I look at art, I see someone feeling the same as me. Even though I thought I was all alone.

    The “In This Moment” chapbooks series is an incredible asset to our community. In particular the chapbooks are great for helping kids see themselves in artists and activists from their community. In the spring of 2021 I taught my 4th grade students about local history of redlining and civil rights. I paired several of the chapbooks with the unit. The students were so inspired by the photographs of joy and beauty to take action in their community through activism, art and music. – Shane Wiegand, Co-Director of the Antiracist Curriculum Project @ CCSI



  • ITM2 teams are confirmed! Throughout the next 16 months photographers and essayists will meet, interview and photograph selected community leaders. VSW will host public events to launch each completed chapbook. By December 2023 VSW will have distributed 10,000 copies of the chapbooks to schools and libraries for free. In RCSD alone, 25,000 students and their educators will have access to sets of chapbooks in their libraries and Culturally Responsive Resource kits.

    VSW’s In This Moment 2 chapbook project is innovative and intentional in elevating the images, voices and experiences that are often underrepresented in our classrooms and community. 

    ITM2 Teams  (in publication order)

    Timothy James Johnson PhD, Volunteer Minister Asbury First United Methodist Church & Professor Emeritus Roberts Wesleyan College, essay by Miriam Zinter, photographs by Rashaad Parker

    Reenah Golden, Founder, Executive & Artistic Director the Avenue Blackbox Theatre, essay by Luticha Doucette, photographs by Granville Carroll

    Joshua Rashaad McFadden, visual artist and Assistant Professor of Photography at RIT, essay by Franny Padilla, photographs by Arturo Hoyte

    Anita Cameron, Disability Justice Activist, essay by Brianna Milon, photographs by Sean Boose

    Ian J. Wilson, MD, Founder, Co-curator of WALL\THERAPY, essay by Erica Bryant, photographs by Quajay Donnell

    Reverend Myra Brown, Pastor Spiritus Christi Church, essay by Chris Thompson photographs by Jackie McGriff

    Melanie Mama Mel Funchess, CEO/Principal Ubuntu Village Works, essay by Quajay Donnell, photographs by Natalia Lauer

    Linda Clark, MD, Chief Medical Officer, essay by Lisa Maria Rickman, photographs Cocoa Rae 

    David A. Paul, MD, MS, Chief Resident, Department of Neurosurgery, UR/Strong Memorial Hospital, Founder, Bold and Gritty Coffee, essay by Christopher Coles, photographs by Allison McDonald

    Shaun Nelms, EdD – Vice President of Community Partnerships, U of R (Effective 7/1/23), essay by Reenah Golden, photographs by Markè Anderson

    “The Pittsford Community Library was honored to display, promote, and share the chapbooks from the [first] In This Moment series last year, and it was clear the stories resonated with our patrons who were quick to collect each new offering. Additionally, the series creators and featured artists generously worked with us to bring programs and events to our community, helping foster new and vital experiences and connections. ” Jim Byrne Adult Services Librarian, Pittsford Library

A huge thank to these ITM supporters and to all the individual donors:

  • We are grateful to these many generous supporters of In This Moment: Revolution Reckoning Reparation

  • Anonymous

    Mara Ahmed

    Olivia Bacot

    Jennifer Barth

    Ann Binstock

    Michael & Lynn Boucher

    Michael Brisson

    Samra Brouk

    Jennifer Canning

    Christopher Carretta

    Chantal Corriveau

    Michael Darcy

    Tate DeCaro

    Megan DeFranco

    Kristen Dolan

    Chris Dolgos

    Matt Ehlers

    Chris Fanning

    Karen Faris

    Richard Glaser

    Arseniy Gutnik

  • Thomas Jacobs

    Timothy James Johnson

    Kathleen Jordan

    Dale & Joe Klein

    Kimberly Kane

    Sean Leahy

    Adam Lewandowski

    Hannah Lightbody

    Frank Mancini

    Debi Mansour

    Barbara Marsh

    Amanda Martin

    Scott McCarney

    Jenna McDavid

    Dr. Celia McIntosh

    Carmel Merrill

    Miranda Mims

    Thomas Mitchell

    Linda Moroney

    Brian Murphy

    Erica Neuburger

  • Clara O’Connor

    David Pellegrino

    Lori Jeanne Peloquin

    Deborah Pierce

    Dave Regan

    Susan Reuter

    Liz Richards

    David Sanchez

    John Schull

    Mona Seghatoleslami

    Karen Soanes

    Megan Sullivan

    Jane Sutter Brandt

    Renee Stout

    Joyce Strazzabosco

    Renee Stout

    Cathy Sweet

    Sharon Turner

    The Marfa Group Inc.

    Deanna Varble

    Miriam Zinter