• 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. 

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    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.

    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



  • 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 Neurosurgeon, Complex Deformities and Neurotrauma Fellow University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, founder Bold & Gritty Coffee (Director of Brain and Spine Trauma at the University of Rochester Aug. ’24) essay by Christopher Coles, photographs by Allison McDonald

    Chapbook 10 features Shaun Nelms, EdD, Vice President for Community Partnerships, University of Rochester, CEO of Nelms Consulting Group, with essay by Robert J. Vickers and photographs by Marke Anderson

    For information about In This Moment 3 visit www.inthismoment585.org.

    “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

Thank you to the ITM sponsors and individual donors:

  • Thank you to our individual donors:


    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