Portfolios /

The Cleveland Plan: Changing Minds

Lisa Kessler’s photographs capture the pulse of public schools in Cleveland today. For two weeks she immersed herself in 11 schools—district and charter—capturing the unbridled enthusiasm, hard work, and sense of community among students, teachers and parents. Kessler’s interest in documentary photography was sparked in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquakes, where she witnessed a profound transformation in individuals, communities and spaces. Since then she has photographed people dealing with change within diverse contexts: health, violence, education, faith, abuse, etc. Kessler’s work on the clergy sex abuse crisis was runner-up for the Honickman Foundation First Book Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies, and has been shown in galleries, film festivals and classrooms across the country. Kessler’s recent work exploring the idea of the color pink in America has been called “zesty and playful without being at all unserious,” and was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in 2011. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Danforth Museum of Art, and the Teaching Museum at Lehigh University. She holds degrees from Brown University and Boston University and teaches at Boston College.