GTPulse: The Front Steps Project Photographs Local Families for Charity

From Boston to Tampa, photos of quarantined families are making an impact on communities all over the United States with The Front Steps Project. Traverse City based creative agency Mane Content is bringing the project to Northern Michigan.

Now more than ever I’m seeing a lot of old family photos. Between family members wanting to clean out garages and basements, and family members wanting to cure some of their apprehension with nostalgia, there is something both incredibly comforting and consuming with looking at old family photos. They’re markers of where we’ve been, sometimes laced with foreshadowing of where we’d go. A childhood photo of me excitedly holding up Beverly Cleary novels with a front tooth missing made me smile knowing that my excitement for books would only grow as I got older. A photo of my dad wrapping his arms around me and my brothers on the front porch of my childhood home made me think of all the ways I’d continue to fall in love with that neighborhood as time went on. Families that are quarantined together right now may never spend this much time in close quarters ever again. I know it’s probably challenging to be a quarantined family, but I also imagine that cookies are being made, movies are being enjoyed, laughter and tears are being shared. If you want a photo of your family to look back on all of this time you spent together, local creative agency Mane Content is giving back with the Front Steps Project.

Tessia Klix is the creative director at Mane Content and is excited to provide something that will give back. The Front Steps Project works like this – you fill out a form with your information and then you make a donation of your choice. You’ll be contacted with a date and time to be ready, and when that time comes you and your family will sit or stand or Vogue on your front porch while one of the fun and talented Mane Content photographers captures a photo (socially distanced, of course). Right now they’re booking for Friday, Saturday and Monday. They’ll be adding additional days next week.

“It will be one of our photographers. Yes, we will have a mask on and we are practicing physical distancing – this is the new norm. We will stay on the sidewalk or at the end of the driveway. We will say hi from afar and we may even offer some corny jokes,” Tessia said.

The donations will go right back into our community. The photo project is available in Traverse City and Cadillac, and the donations will be distributed by the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and the Cadillac Community Foundation. The donations will go in full to organizations that are helping the community during the pandemic, places like the Northwest Michigan Food Coalition that are keeping our community members fed.

Picture day will be quick, fun and something that you can get creative with. Whether you want to be in your Sunday’s best or Sunday’s sweats, you can get as dressed up or dressed down as you’d like. 

“There are no dress rules! This is the fun part, this is your photo. You want to wear what you are comfortable in which could even be your quarantine uniform of PJs. The best photos usually come from being relaxed or silly!”

The photographer will say a quick hello and snap a few photos from the sidewalk or driveway (if that’s applicable) and that’s it. If your family is just you and your pooch, that’s okay too!

“Yes, please! Pets are always welcome too. My dog and cat are my family!”

You might be quarantined with not even a pet. Being by yourself is completely fine and definitely still something to take note of. Riding this river alone is no joke.

“It doesn’t have to be a family photo, if you live alone, or have a quarantine roomie let’s commemorate it! Ten years from now you can look back and remember this unique time.”

Photos will be sent about a week after they’re taken.

The Front Steps Project was created in response to COVID-19 last month in Needham, Massachusetts. A few locals raised money for the Needham Community Council and were pleasantly surprised when their project spread all over the U.S. and Canada, all with the same purpose; to help take care of their communities. When you get your photo back, consider tagging #TheFrontStepsProject on it. A little good can connect us all.

“Our team lives in these areas and walks, runs, and bikes through neighborhoods every day. We are combining everything we love – getting fresh air, our art, community service, all while putting a smile on people’s faces!”

Sign up for picture day here.

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Categories: GTPulse