If you walk up the marbled stairs to the third floor of The Boulder County Courthouse before February 28th, you will round the corner and look directly into the eyes of your invisible neighbors. The Sonder Collection featuring Project (In)visible is the photography component of a larger exhibition created by Kassia Binkowski, creative director of One Thousand Design in Boulder. Binkowski tells KGNU’s Shannon Latham that the project was inspired by a desire to have a community conversation around stigma, stereotype, and disparity.
“We essentially partnered with Boulder County as well as six nonprofit agencies from across the county. Those nonprofits recruited participants from the communities that they serve. So we ultimately worked with transgender, youth in crisis, working poor, immigrant refugee populations and were able to sit down with over 50 individuals from across Boulder County. We interviewed and shot portraits of those individuals and now have audio stories, a documentary short, as well as a gallery collection rotating around the county to share these stories, share this content, and inspire conversation.”
The partnering non-profits include Attention Homes, Emergency Family Assistance Agency (EFAA), Intercambio, Boulder County Circles, Sister Carmen Community Center, Boulder County Head Start and the Out Boulder.
Indira, an immigrant mother said she felt excluded from the community when she first moved to Boulder. She feels the project is an important opportunity to hear the voices of immigrants like her.
“I felt kind of sometimes when I first moved to the city I felt I was not included in society. I was missing inclusiveness. I thought that if I talked about myself people could be aware and support a diverse community.”
Robin Bohannan, director of Boulder County Community Services, which was the primary partnering organization on the project, says that it is important that voices like Indira’s are heard by the wider community.
“When I speak publicly to groups often people say “we don’t have poor people here or we don’t have fill in the blank here or how come I never see them?” so its to counter its reputation of Boulder as a healthy, wealthy, educated happy place when there are a lot of people who are living here who are really struggling. When Kassia came to me with this project I thought it was really a great opportunity to represent local residents who live here and describe their experience of living in Boulder County.”
The Sonder Collection photographs will be on display at the Boulder County Courthouse until February 28th. Then they will rotate through a variety of locations throughout the county. A short documentary on the project is in production and will be screened later this year.