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Through a presentation of oral histories, music, and art, Story Boards shares the personal stories of residents of Seattle’s Central District.
Story Boards is based on the premise that an equitable future marked by neighborhood change and development requires reflection on the past and real-time cognition of what is happening around us. Change to the urban fabric in Seattle and elsewhere has consequences, including personal impact for its residents. Oral history recordings and visual content in Story Boards are drawn from the archive of the Shelf Life Community Story Project and provide different personal perspectives while amplifying the voices, experiences, and histories of Central District communities. These stories contribute historical context to conversations about change in the Central District.
The design community is not the only participant in change to a city’s neighborhoods. Policy makers, developers, new residents, and the economic/political/social forces of capitalism are others. But the impact on residents and neighborhoods is something to be reckoned with and considered by all who wish to be informed citizens and thoughtful designers.
The installation consists of three structures called Story Boards. Each Story Board is 4’ wide by 7.5’ tall. A thicker base at each Story Board provides a bench seat and a location for stabilizing ballast and audio equipment. The Story Boards are arranged to enclose an outdoor space that is about 12′ in diameter. At the center of this outdoor space, the visitor will hear a continuous audio loop through directional speakers. The audio loop interweaves oral histories from the Shelf Life Community Story Project and the lyrics/music of artist Yirim Seck. At the center of the space, the visitor can also take-in related portraits, text, and graphics presented on the inward face of each Story Board. The outward faces of the Story Boards are the work of muralist Perri Rhoden.
The center seating area is also a place to reflect, and if the opportunity arises, to converse with other visitors about what they have heard and seen at Story Boards. A hard surface at ground level and the spatial configuration allow a safe navigable visitor experience.
This experience was awarded funding by the 2023 Festival Planning Team, for demonstrating alignment to Festival goals.