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The Corner: Going Outside

We’re keeping you in the loop with developments around our new initiative to help makers innovate with live events.

This is the first in the occasional series of prompts to stimulate ideas for new approaches to creating work in the physical space of the community. We hope to encourage your efforts by sharing best practices, examples, and point you to some of the inspired producers involved in creating new work on “street platforms” across America. We’ll have more news ahead about AIR’s Localore Live! microgrants to support innovative approaches to create new work in the “far corners” of local communities.

The project that began our movement towards “live” is The Corner, created in 2009 by Jenny Asarnow in partnership with KUOW-FM in Seattle, WA as part of Makers’ Quest 2.0. MQ2 was AIR’s first national, indie-talent led initiative. Jenny, and the work of the original 7 lead producers are what then morphed into Localore.

Visit Jenny’s early “immersive documentary” site, and her Facebook page, to hear stories and learn how Jenny conceptualized and executed a new approach to capturing the story of an historically African American neighborhood on the brink of gentrification. The installation they built across a city block “The Corner,” with the question “Whose Corner Is This?” was striking, and attracted contributors who called in stories via a toll free phone-line. Those stories were crafted into documentaries and short features broadcast by the station across the region.

Jenny’s work is enduring. Neighborhood residents featured in The Corner continue to drive the grassroots movement under the “23rd and Union” banner, pushing back against real estate agents and land developers. When the installation came down, the Northwest African American Museum and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle exhibited the work.

Jenny and fellow live event aficionados Jill Friedberg and Inye Wokoma, Jenny’s partner on The Corner, have been doing live work more recently in the neighborhood. For example, Inye and Jill have collaborated on Shelf Life, a storefront audio documentary station. We also see echos of The Corner in our latest productions Anacostia UnMapped, What’s the Flux?, and The Junction. Fast forward, and Jenny’s prescience is striking when you explore what’s now happening in the neighborhood on the very corner where Jenny and her community collaborators built their installation. Jenny is still at KUOW and runs their youth training program RadioActive. She and her collaborators are available to field questions, and you can reach her at jenny.asarnow@gmail.com.

Please also read Break Form: Making Stories With and For the People andWhat’s Outside? Public Media 2014. You’ll find downloadable PDFs of both here. These important playbooks draw on the experience and innovation of Localorians past and present. No doubt you’ll find good tips to get your juices flowing.