Yesler Terrace Youth Media Videos and Exhibit
Guest blogger and former 4Culture intern Debra Webb was given an extraordinary opportunity to bridge her interests in public art and social justice while working with the Yesler Terrace community as a graduate student at Seattle University. She recently completed her MFA in Arts Leadership and was honored with the 2013 Social Justice and Community Engagement award for her work with the Yesler Terrace community. Debra is a mother, artist and ardent activist. She wrote this piece collaboratively with members of the Yesler Terrace Youth Media program.
Yesler Terrace Youth Media is a summer art program that inspires Yesler Terrace youth residents to become powerful voices for their community through documentary photography and video. The arts connect them to community leaders and residents, and empower them to be advocates for their changing neighborhood.
Recently, the participants in this summer’s program presented their photographs and videos to a standing room only screening event at Yesler Terrace Community Center. Civic leaders, community members and friends gathered to celebrate six weeks of youth-led arts advocacy work.
Built between 1941 and 1943, Yesler Terrace is home to 1,200 residents and represents one of the most diverse and economically challenged communities in Seattle. The majority of families in Yesler Terrace earn less then 30 percent of the cities medium income. The Seattle Housing Authority has committed to a fifteen-year plan for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.
The videos screened explored the impact of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace on the Yesler Terrace Community Center, residents who have had to relocate, and neighborhood businesses who have had to close and relocate. The videos were engaging, and showcased strong storytelling, photography and editing skills.
Youth participant Michle Alem explains the benefits of the program:
I learned to use photography, video and journalism, and I was able to make my voice heard. Most youth don’t know how to use these things and that leads to them not being heard. This is one of the many reasons teens don’t speak out or share their opinions. With this set of skills, I can reach a broader group of people and share my ideas with other teens. I learned more about my community during the program than I had learned during the six years that I have lived in Yesler Terrace.
Claire Garoutte, Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Director of Photography at Seattle University, developed the program in partnership with Yesler RecTech, Youth in Focus, and Multimedia Resource and Training Institute.
Photographs and videos are on view through September
Yesler Terrace Community Center, 17 E Yesler Way
Contact Asfaha Lemlem for more details.
Watch the Yesler Terrace Youth Media video Residents Relocation video here.