Third Thursday, 7 pm Feb 21: Tom Jenz, Experiencing the Inner City

Restoration Church congregation Milwaukee, by Tom Jenz. All rights reserved by Tom Jenz.

Restoration Church congregation Milwaukee, by Tom Jenz. All rights reserved by Tom Jenz.

Third Thursday at 7 pm February 21 features Tom Jenz discussing his work documenting the lives and culture of the hardcore inner city in the most deprived and neglected areas.

In Tom’s words:

For five years, 2014-2018, I’ve spent hundreds of hours walking the streets of Milwaukee’s hardcore, inner-city neighborhoods, the residents mostly African-Americans. My goal was to get to know this isolated culture, photograph street scenes and people, and tell their stories.

If I had an agenda, it was to show the Third World reality of a culture with 40% unemployment, the infrastructure in disrepair. The two zip code areas I covered represent some of the most crime-ridden in this country.

Much of the social activity takes place on streets and on porches, talk loud, humor high, vehicles fast-moving, music booming. Neighborhoods center around church activities and social organizations. Like many of the hardcore urban areas of America’s large, fading industrial cities, the economy operates on its own terms, cash preferred over credit or checks. A percentage of the economy is based on drug dealing and car-stealing among gangs of young men. Another percentage is based on government support programs.

Over time, I developed empathy, and many of the people I’ve photographed were grateful for my taking the time to listen to their stories.

My lecture, EXPERIENCING THE INNER CITY, is based on my personal observations. I suppose almost all experiences are anecdotal.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of dialog from the photo subjects Tom Jenz will be quoting from does contain R-rated language. The lecture isn't for children. However, none of his photographs are R-rated.