Tackling the MPS

As mentioned earlier, Design Your Neighborhood is officially back and this summer we’re partnering up with our friends at the Arts & Academics Academy to tackle the Multi-Purpose Studio, affectionately known as the MPS.

The MPS was originally built as a black box theater to accommodate the school’s theatrical productions. It is equipped with a green room, rooms worth of clothes & props, a mostly working sound and lighting system, durable catwalks, bleacher seating, a retractable projector screen, and more! With all of this, it might surprise you to learn that the MPS has actually been used for assemblies & a play hasn’t been performed in this space in 3 YEARS.

So, DYN & AAA are here to change that because come this fall, theater productions will resume at the school & and the youth are tasked with rediscovering all the potential the MPS has to offer and more.

The first week the teens explored all the nooks & crannies of the MPS. After breaking up into multiple brainstorming groups over the course of the first week, they narrowed down feasible projects for the MPS that can be accomplished in the couple weeks we have left (yikes!– but good yikes). The teens have spoken and have royally declared that the floor & walls have to be refurbished, storage areas dejunked, entrance & hallways dazzle-lized, and wish to turn the upstairs closet into a second green room.

So, far we have taken our measurements, calculated the appropriate amount of paint required, have started to decide color palettes, cleared out multiple rooms & begun the dejunk process. Chris, the wonderful carpenter from South Park’s Design Your Neighborhood has graciously returned with her power tools & mind for design. The amazing staff at On the Boards, a black box theater in Queen Anne, even opened up their doors to us to answer all of our questions about what it takes to run a successful theater space, understanding budgets, logistics, and maintenance, etc.

Tomorrow, we’re visiting The Vera Project at the Seattle Center to get even more ideas for the possibilities of MPS and how best to execute our final plans.

Check back soon for photos to follow!


Mark Your Calendars!

Hope you haven’t forgotten about us because in about two weeks, Design Your Neighborhood will return full swing with a new class of young designers on July 18th. This time, we’ll be working with the Arts and Academics Academy for four short but jam-packed weeks! Stay tuned for more.


Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute – Summer 2016

Hey all you funky teens out there!

SAM just got word of an exciting opportunity from the Youth Speaks team. Check out the attachment at the end for more information on their summer program which rumor has it that there’s some nice pocket change waiting for participants upon completion.

Quick Glance Important Info You Wanna Know:

Who: Fierce young artists (aged 14-19) who want to create change through community organizing,performance events and artistry!

What: This is a 5-Day Summer Leadership Institute to being a leader and organizer for the Arts Corps Teen Leadership Program

When: August 22-26th 10am – 5pm



NEW 2016 ALLI Summer Application



And it’s up! The amazing Aaron Bourget, videographer extraordinaire, has created an incredible video that captures all of our fun and hard work with Design Your Neighborhood at the South Park Community Center.

You can check out that video here.

This video depicts the hard work, dedication, and some good ol’ TLC demonstrated by the teens inside and outside of the classroom. I am so incredibly proud and thankful for everyone’s part in making this happen.

Share! Share! Share!

Please stay connected as Design Your Neighborhood will return this summer!



The Grand Finale at South Park Community Center

There is no doubt in my mind that Saturday and this Design Your Neighborhood was anything but a huge success, in terms of transformation of our project room and of the amazing youth I had the privilege to work with.

These last three months have been filled with lessons, both personal and practical, fieldtrips, a seemingly endless supply of granola bars and oranges, and lots and lots of paint. And now it’s over. But what have been our biggest takeaways during our time together?

At the grand celebration and unveiling of the teen room at the South Park Community Center, after some mingling and excited chitter flurrying around the room we gathered inside where SAM’s Sarah Bloom began with opening remarks. Following a brief presentation by Satpreet of the overview of DYN’s purpose, before pictures, and the design process, the youth did group presentations and spoke about their influences on the room, how many of them felt Olson Kundig was their favorite fieldtrip, and some even spoke on their encouraged desire to pursue a career in design.

Afterwards, alongside Gwen, I was honored to present our parting gifts to these young adults, which including the toolkits given to them in the beginning, a certificate of completion from Seattle Parks & Rec, a coloring book and dual tipped coloring pencils, and personalized business cards designed by Satpreet.

The transformation pictures as you will find below are sure to blow your mind. As Chris Landingin, the amazing carpenter from Batt + Lear  who helped the youth transform the looming hulk of a cabinet into a dynamic mobile desk and storage space noted (and I’m paraphrasing here): A lot of amazing work was done by such a small group — I couldn’t agree more, Chris.


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You should be as proud as all of us are for the hard work and long hours you put in. You were all so incredibly meticulous and thoughtful down to the smallest of details. We look forward to see where life will take you after this program and how you will find elements of design in your everyday lives and think critically about your life and the world around you. Thank you for your time and dedication to this project!

Thank you to our partners Olson Kundig, Seattle Architecture Foundation, and FLOR for donating carpet tiles. Additional thanks to the artists at Bemis Building, Schemata Workshop, Chris Landingin, Tracy Tyau, South Park Community Center, Cherryl Jackson-Williams, volunteers from SAM, and to all in attendance Saturday.

Please stay connected for a video to follow shortly from our videographer, Aaron Bourget, and when Design Your Neighborhood returns this summer!


Who’s House? SOUTH PARK!

With everything just about completed, there’s one last vital thing left to be done and that’s get our party on. We’d love it if YOU came to the grand celebration of Design Your Neighborhood where the final transformation of the youth’s hard work will be revealed and the teens will be individually presenting to YOU about how this project has or will affect their lives and futures. We hope to see YOU there! Details are provided below.

2016 DYH Invite Flyer_SAM