Sidewalk Visual Voter Interviews

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I hit the streets with the Catalina Cruz Campaign yesterday. Catalina is running for the 39th New York Assembly seat, to represent the extremely diverse neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst in Queens, NYC.  To see what issues are on Voters' minds, we did visual voter interviews on the sidewalk on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens. I love this interactive form of visualization where I interview people and then reflect what they say into pictures and words. We learned a lot about peoples' concerns. Pedestrian safety was a big one.

 

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Catalina Cruz (left) joined me with some of her volunteers. The voter in Green, Dona Teresa, had a lot of issues she was passionate about. I was proud of this one because it was entirely in Spanish, and I was able to do it! Thanks to Barbara Van Scoyk and Maria Daniels, my excellent high school and college Spanish teachers!

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Some issues were wider ones, like treatment of immigrants, and some were hyperlocal, like prostitution under the elevated train in our neighborhood. All in all, it was a very successful event, in addition to learning about voters' priorities, we generated a lot of attention from passers-by, we created powerful collateral that can be used in electronic communications, we projected an innovative and caring image (which in my experience reflect reality as regards the candidate) and we had a great time.

Visualizing Backyard Democracy

 Supporting the candidacy of Catalina Cruz with visual listening

Supporting the candidacy of Catalina Cruz with visual listening

The country is politically energized in these months leading up to Autumn election season. Even local races that normally fly under the radar are getting a lot of attention. My neighborhood (Western Queens) is particularly active---we recently elected Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary, and we have a number of first time female candidates throwing their hats into the ring. I was happy to support the candidacy of Catalina Cruz with visual listening at an event she held in the backyard of the Elmhurst Memorial Hall with dozens of neighbors who reflected the immigrant diversity of our little piece of NYC---Burmese, Colombian, Chinese, old, young, we came out to support a former Dreamer who earned her citizenship and practiced public interest law to make a better New York. Politics is the interface between the community and the government, and I'm happy to be able to support people I think will be effective advocates, like Catalina Cruz.

 The gorgeous mosaic of Queens, NY. Facing the crowd Catalina Cruz (Democratic Candidate, NY Assembly , Margaret Chin (NYC City Council, District 1), Shekar Krishnan (New Visions Democratic Club), and Daniel Dromm (NYC City Council, District 25).

The gorgeous mosaic of Queens, NY. Facing the crowd Catalina Cruz (Democratic Candidate, NY Assembly , Margaret Chin (NYC City Council, District 1), Shekar Krishnan (New Visions Democratic Club), and Daniel Dromm (NYC City Council, District 25).

Colorado College and the Arts Event

Enjoyed making this quick and dirty video out of the sketchnotes I did  at a Colorado College alumni event in NYC. Note, you've got to turn up the volume in the lower right corner to hear the soundtrack. Best seen fullscreen on a tablet or monitor.

The event showcased news about the new Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, as well as a panel about creativity by three prominent NYC based CC alumni, Nancy Nagel  Gibbs, Marc Webb, and Gareth Saxe.

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Great view from the 40th floor of the NY Academy of Sciences where the event took place!

Subway Series-Art Opening Featuring Work by Jonny Goldstein and John Kitses

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John Kitses and I are going to have a two person show based on our subway sketches at E77 in Jackson Heights, Queens. The opening is 6-9PM on March 16. Come celebrate art and the NYC subway system with us! E77 is a creative space in Jackson Heights which combines art gallery, music venue, and restaurant/cafe. The owners are architects, and one of them is a painter, so it's set up to display visual art. 

We're calling the show Subway Series. In this case, it's not a series of baseball games between the Mets and the Yankees, it's a series of artworks based on drawings of people on the New York Subway. 

John and I use different approaches. He starts sketching in pencil, and then lays ink down over the graphite. I work directly with ink, using whatever marker I've got with me. Above is a sample of John's pencil sketching.

I'm going to color prints of my drawings and collage them onto painted textured canvas. John will be showing his inked sketches.

RSVP at the Facebook event here.

Bonus: My birthday is a few days after the opening so I'll be celebrating that too1

 

Connecting Expertise at the Colorado College Alumni Climate and Sustainability Forum

I had so much fun supporting an alumni event for my alma mater, Colorado College here in NYC. A lot of students are drawn to Colorado College by the landscape and ecology of the region. When we graduate, many of us take those broadened and deepened interests into the wide world to work to address sustainability and climate change. One of my former professors, Economist Mark Smith, decided to convene a gathering of NYC alumni so we could network with like minded people around our shared interests. Mark was one of my favorite professors, so when I saw his name on the event invite, I offered to capture the conversation with large scale visual notes. It was fascinating hearing from the varied alumni from the 70's to recent grads to everything in between. Being in one of the world's great built environments, it's not surprising that several attendees focused on designing sustainable housing and commercial buildings. And of course there were folks who worked in the finance industry (hello New York!), but with a social impact angle. There were educators, political organizers, funders, and more. Some people did not work directly with sustainability or climate change, but had an interest in being part of the conversation. Once a liberal arts student, always a liberal arts student.

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Above: It was like we were back in class! Only this time with someone capturing the conversation with large scale visual notes! Here are folks doing some thinking and reflecting during a break, using the visuals as a conversation catalyst.

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Above: contrasting the bigger/faster/stronger approach to an efficiency model. 

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Above: situating environmentalism in the broader tapestry of social justice movements.

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And of course, as members of the Colorado College community, we had to go on a strenuous hike! Professor Smith and I trekked from the Harvard Club in the East 40's through Central Park and back downtown before the event. It was great to catch up with him after many years.  And I loved connecting with NYC based CC alumni to learn about how our community is working to address some of our biggest challenges.