ICP Names Leda Costa 2016 Documentary Arts Fellow

Feb 18, 2016
The International Center of Photography (ICP) has named Leda Costa the recipient of its inaugural Documentary Arts Fellowship, which supports ICP students’ personal photography projects exploring the evolution of an urban area. Costa, a student in ICP’s Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program, will document changes in the Bowery, the new home of ICP’s museum which opens this summer.
The annual Fellowship enables students in ICP’s full-time programs (Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism, General Studies in Photography, New Media Narratives, and ICP-Bard MFA) to deepen their photography practice, while supporting Documentary Arts’ goal to present new perspectives on history and culture.
“We are pleased to present the first Documentary Arts Fellowship to Leda, a student who greatly deserves support to further advance her work,” said Mark Lubell, Executive Director, ICP. “We are grateful to Documentary Arts for its continued collaboration and partnership.”
Each year, a jury comprised of ICP faculty and staff will review applications, portfolios and artist statements and choose up to three finalists. Fellowship recipients will be selected from the finalist pool by Alan Govenar, founder of Documentary Arts. A currrently enrolled student will be awarded $5,000 in his or her second term to assist with travel, equipment, and other expenses needed to complete the project before graduation in June.
The Fellowship is part of a significant partnership with Documentary Arts, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization, which also includes ICP’s major acquisition of African American vernacular photography, the 60,000-piece Texas African American Photography Archive, founded by Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin, the centerpiece of more than 100,000 photographs, films, videos, audio recordings, and new media works in the Documentary Arts Collection. In addition, it includes exhibitions drawn from the Documentary Art Collection, such as the recent The Early Years of Rhythm and Blues: Photographs by Benny Joseph exhibition at ICP’s gallery at Mana Contemporary.
The Documentary Arts Fellowship is supported in part by the Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation and the Communities Foundation of Texas.
About Documentary Arts
Founded in 1985 by Alan Govenar to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures, Documentary Arts, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Dallas, Texas, and New York City. Documentary Arts’ collaborations with major institutions—including the National Endowment for the Arts, African American Museum (Dallas), FARO (Brussels), Maison des Cultures du Monde (Paris), and UNESCO (Nairobi)—have highlighted little-known practitioners of cultural forms via photography, films and videos, audio recordings, oral histories, exhibitions, public programs, new technologies, and collections of material culture. Learn more at www.documentaryarts.org.
About Leda Costa
Leda Costa is a Uruguayan-American photographer with a background in journalism and photography.  In college, Leda wrote for the school newspaper and decided to pursue documentary photography. She spent two years attending technical and creative workshops abroad in Italy, Greece, China, Antarctica, and several states in the US taught by National Geographic photographers. Costa’s work has been exhibited in two group exhibitions, one at the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, Florida and the second at Umbrella Arts, New York, New York. She is currently studying Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Costa's project, The Bowery Project, documents a shifting neighborhood through one person who was born and raised in the Bowery neighborhood in New York City. Coss was born in the 1980s in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and started dealing drugs at the age of eleven. After spending his teen years on the streets, he landed in prison and decided to change his life upon being released. He has now returned to the Bowery and is a successful business owner. His employees are ex-convicts, just like him. While he is a strong and inspiring figure in the community, Coss’s story is a story of the neighborhood itself. What was once an area of drugs and violence is now improving because of people like him.