On Saturday, Aug. 14, the downtown Farnsworth Art Museum will open the inaugural Arnold Newman Prize Winner Exhibition, “Emily Schiffer — Cheyenne River.” The exhibition in the museum’s Craig Gallery will be celebrated with a Live at Night at the Farnsworth party Friday, Aug. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Judged as a separate category in the Photo District News Photo Annual competition, the Arnold Newman Prize recognizes an individual for his or her innovative approach to photographic portraiture and awards the individual $15,000 and an exhibition of the work at the Farnsworth. Final judging for the 2010 Arnold Newman Prize was conducted by a panel of respected and influential members of the photographic community including New York City gallery owner Howard Greenberg and Farnsworth Chief Curator Michael K. Komanecky.

The 2010 show features the work of photographer Emily Schiffer, whose project Youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation will be the focus of the exhibition. Schiffer’s winning portfolio documents youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation in rural South Dakota, where she founded a photography program in 2005. Favorite locations are the fields and abandoned buildings on the fringes of town, forgotten places thick with the past that lend themselves to imaginary games and textured photographs, she said.

“My images explore ‘play’ as a vehicle through which youth reveal and negotiate their emotions, traumas and desires. Children have a unique ability to experience love and joy alongside pain without compartmentalizing their experiences. I wanted to convey this complexity through my photographs,” she said.

Schiffer, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., received her bachelor of arts degree in fine art and African American studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. In 2005, she founded the My Viewpoint Youth Photography Initiative on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, where she continues to teach and photograph. Schiffer was the recipient of a 2006-2007 Fulbright Fellowship in Photography; the 2009 Inge Morath Award, presented by Magnum Photos; and the Inge Morath Foundation; and was the 2010 winner of the PDN Photo Annual Personal Project Category.

Schiffer has exhibited her photographs internationally. Her work is in the collections of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan; Foto Baryo, Philippines; and the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colo. She will give a lecture in the Farnsworth auditorium Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.

The primary sponsors of Live at Night at the Farnsworth are Bangor Savings Bank and VillageSoup. “Emily Schiffer — Cheyenne River” will run through December. The primary media sponsor for the exhibition is Maine Home + Design.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.