DP: Big Bites

This process has surely been the craziest I've ever encountered. Getting out into the community is tough, for sure. Having talked to so many people with many different stakes in the issue—ugh! Troost Avenue has seen its share of hardships, and everyone thinks they know they right answer to solving them, or the reasons why; It becomes disheartening to come at it from a graphic design perspective and be told your efforts can't do much considering. Jamie told me that I should appreciate the fact that I'm a student for these reasons. I definitely feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew.

Jessica and I have contacted a group of Troost enthusiasts who, as eclectic and sometimes inefficient as they are, have a lot of heart in the community. Troost Folks is run by Father David Altschul and their vision is to create a "village." Father David is somewhat of a historian, and has successfully commissioned a number of projects along the corridor. But as the head of Reconciliation Services and St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Father David is interested in healing Troost and the current residents through community action. This seems to be in direct conflict with what El Dorado & the KU studio are trying to do. Through "incremental infill as an urban design strategy" they want to "invigorate a blighted mixed use corridor and a struggling inner city neighborhood" (from their mission statement). Their hopes are that new tenants, business, and money will come in and—put plainly—raise property tax. True, they may be able to freeze rates for some of the area, but gentrification is the first thing that comes to mind. The people that are struggling now, Father David's followers, they aren't the architects' audience, I don't think.

So really, it's hard to say who my audience is. Is it current residents or the incomers? Can it not be both? Again, more than I can chew, I feel. Last Friday though, I was honored to have faculty in attendance for our KU meeting. Sometimes it's really hard to sell people on the abilities of graphic design, but Chris and Jamie really helped and—I felt—defended what Jessica and I can do/want to do.

For more insight on Troost and how graphic design can effect change, I've looked into talking to Rodney Knotts of Historic Manheim Park Association (surprising the only African-American that we're in contact with), because I've heard he's got a lot to say—literally. Other contributors to our research is a man named Whitney Terrell, the writer of "King of Kings County" (a novel too true to be fiction).

Aside from working Tuesdays and Thursdays at Indicia from 8–5 (any design job is better than working at the bar), there's degree project class Mondays and Wednesdays, Troost Folks on Thursday nights, and then meetings with KU & El Dorado on Friday nights (which can run as late from 2:20–8 some nights). Those seven days sprinkled with pro-practice, spatial experience, trying to plan a wedding, eating well, and staying sane... it's enough to make me want to graduate!