South Seattle Photographer’s Work to be Showcased at City Hall

SEATTLE – Today from 4- 6 p.m a reception for “The Gathering” Exhibit will be held at the Seattle City Hall’s lobby gallery. The reception marks the conclusion of “The Gathering” exhibit’s run at City Hall and recognizes and celebrates the community members, leaders, and artists who created the exhibit and generated a voice to address youth violence in the Rainier Beach community. The reception features brief remarks, refreshments, and a performance that was featured at the original “Gathering” event on May 31.

“The Gathering” Exhibit is composed of two featured works. The first featured work is a photo-documentary from Rainier Beach resident and artist Zac Davis titled, “The Rainier Beach Project: Overcoming Displacement.” This photo-documentary explores urban renewal and gentrification occurring in the Rainier Beach/Rainier Valley community and leverages the importance of all voices contributing to the building of community. Davis’ photo-documentary was featured as a part of the interactive event, Breaking the Pane. The second featured work is a glass mosaic, which is the result of the interactive event, Breaking the Pane. It was also designed to creatively explore the stories of the Rainier Beach community and identify collective and individual steps to address the negative perceptions of the community and reduce youth violence.

For one week in April, Breaking the Pane engaged the Rainier Beach community in storytelling to explore themes of community identity and perceptions. At five workshops, community members were asked to illustrate the words, feelings, or images that came to mind when they thought of the exact Rainier Beach location that they were standing in. The resulting clear window-like “panes” on one side illustrate how community members experience the five different Rainier Beach intersections while the other side depicts statistics of violence. The installation of assembled panes gives voice to the variety of perspectives regarding Rainier Beach and is the centerpiece that helped to turn the stories into action.

At the culminating event, “The Gathering,” on May 31, more than 150 local residents experienced the project through art, video, a photography exhibit and live storytelling, and challenged themselves (and the wider community) to let the stories inspire action. From this event, the community designed and implemented the action project, “Corner-Greeter Stands” which are weekly portable “greeting places” for the community to interact in creative and safe modes of engagement.

“The Gathering” event and Breaking the Pane are the result of a unique partnership between United Story, an organization that uses a story-telling platform to foster community-owned action, and Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, an innovative, community-led initiative to address youth violence through non-arrest approaches.