Amplifying youth voices through the Seattle Design Festival

This year we participated in the Seattle Design Festival with a virtual entry called, “Reimagine in Color.”  Reimagine in Color is a digital art project with the purpose of amplifying youth voices by providing a creative forum to share blackout poetry and inspired artwork. Collected online and through social media, this collection of illustrated poems showcases and celebrates the power of the youth perspective.

The theme of this year’s festival was “About Time.” Our project was inspired by the zeitgeist of this particular time in history, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the virtual learning trend resulting from the social distancing protocols of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addressing the issue of structural racism in our county, our firm was moved to listen, rather than speak – this inspired our concept and motivated us to provide a platform for youth voices. Looking for ideas to engage our youth in this project, we organized a creative exercise that would lend itself to individual expression and empowerment. Through blackout poetry, a form of appropriation art, the reader becomes the author with the power to rewrite the message.

To engage the local community in our project, we partnered with some local organizations that have used this activity in their summer programs including the YMCA Seattle Youth Camp. It is very rewarding to see our project come to fruition, and it’s clear that this is a very talented group.

Picute of girl holding up her poem

Seattle Design Festival participant from the YMCA holding up her poem

Though the festival is over, Reimagine in Color will continue to run though the summer. The Reimagine in Color website provides everything you need to get started including project examples, and links to source materials – the basis of this creative exercise. Inclusivity was paramount in this project, and we selected fifteen books to represent a wide range of ethnicities and viewpoints.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the site also has a page dedicated to highlighting authors of color, and providing resources about allyship and what it means to be an antiracist. Fundamental to this aim is education and self-awareness.

Reimagine in Color is an ally for change. It’s ABOUT TIME that we listen to those who have gone unheard. We must become more educated about our differences so that we can become more inclusive about our policies.

Through this project, we hope to inspire creative thinking. We hope to encourage our youth to take action by changing up the message and adding their colorful voices to the conversation. Our youth are the future, and they believe in change. Will we listen to what they have to say?

To have the biggest impact, we need your help! Help us spread the word:

Create: Want to help a youth voice be heard? Help them create their own art.
Share: Is there an organization that you think should get involved? Share our website with them.
Follow: Follow our Instagram account for updates and inspirations – they will bring some joy to your day! Find us at @reimagineincolor.

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