Park Side Federal Credit Union took a new approach to the calendars it prints and distributes annually and instead of using generic art, they solicited photographs from their members. The photographs were voted on through social media efforts and an artist reception was recently held in their honor.
The twelve photographers selected range in age and experience level. Jill Courtney, a Whitefish photographer known for shooting sports, took a dynamic photo of lightning over a lake and appears for the month of May. Kilee Stevens, an avid motorcycle and snowmobile enthusiast from Columbia Falls, snapped a wintery scene while riding along a ridge near Lid Creek. Jessica DeVaan, of Kalispell, received the most votes for her photo of a ’54 Plymouth taken while she was in a photography class recently at Flathead Valley Community College. She used a Japanese Bronica camera using Russian slide film and did not edit the submission. Her picture is the cover of the 2014 calendar.
Photography for DeVaan is a hobby as she is pursuing a degree in social work and addiction counseling and eventually hopes to work with young people in schools whose parents have addictions. One of her most photographed subjects and biggest fan is her 11-year-old son Josh McGee who walked around the reception with a proud air to him.
The idea to use member-submitted photos was the brainchild of Shelley Preston-Jennings, a teller who started with Park Side about nine months ago. She said the calendar brought together the not-so-obvious pairing of a financial institution and art. She said it sets the credit union apart for thinking outside of the box and makes members feel important because of their involvement.
Management at the credit union says they encourage all staff members to bring new ideas to the table. Angie Meehan who is in business development at the credit union, said they loved her idea, her proposal, and her enthusiasm.
PHOTO: Shelley Preston-Jennings holds up a poster displaying the photographs chosen to be in Parkside FCU's 2014 calendar. Preston-Jennings came up with the idea to ask members to submit their photos for consideration.