Tacoma artists Chris Jordan and Kenji Stoll will lead art visioning process for Eastside Community Center

Eastside Community Center

escc entry perspective 10 26 2016

Local artists tapped for effort to involve young residents in the creative process

Christopher Paul Jordan and Kenji Hamai Stoll, who have a history of engaging local youth through art, have been selected to create a community-inspired art strategy for the new Eastside Community Center.

The resulting art plan will include concepts and locations to integrate art into the community center’s design as well as for display. Over the next several months, Jordan and Stoll will implement activities that engage young people in the art planning process, building on their own work as local teaching artists as well as efforts over the past year by the nonprofit Greater Metro Parks Foundation to have local youth help design aspects of the building.

“These two energetic young artists are a great addition to the Eastside Community Center effort,” said Jessie K. Baines Jr., one of five members of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. “Their proven ability to connect and inspire others is sure to contribute to the center’s success.”

Jordan and Stoll have been working as an artist team since 2009 when they collaborated on a mural informed by a community process focused on youth violence. Since then, they have gone on to create work for the University of Puget Sound’s Race and Pedagogy conference, Intel Corporation, the City of Tacoma, and Sound Transit, among others. They are currently working with the Tacoma Housing Authority to create site-responsive artworks at Bay Terrace and to lead community engagement strategies that inform the Hilltop housing planning team. In addition, they have been connecting with young people and giving them voice through art for years as teachers and now co-directors of Fab-5, a youth arts training program and its community art center FABITAT.

“Chris and Kenji are uniquely suited for this project because they bring excellence in the three areas of specialty required for this project. They are strong artists, they enable successful and fun community engagement strategies, and they know how to engage youth in a meaningful way,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride, whose office is under contract to manage the public art component of Metro Parks’ construction projects.

The new center is scheduled to open in 2018 on the campus of First Creek Middle School, 1801 E. 56th St. Metro Parks is spearheading its development with the support of multiple community partners, including Tacoma Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Housing Authority and the Greater Metro Parks Foundation. For more information, visit ImagineEastside.org.