Why Not School?

Frye Art Museum/Yesler Community Center Project

The exhibition Why Not School? explores challenges facing young people in King County's school districts—juvenile detention, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the disproportionate numbers of youth from communities of color referred to juvenile courts. It poses the question: Why not invest in schools rather than in juvenile detention?

Why Not School? was created by Beza Hailu, Intisar Kassim, Sumaya Mohamed, Emran Nuru, Nurham Nuru, and Nang Thang during twelve after-school sessions conducted by the Frye Art Museum and the Associated Recreation Council RecTech Program at Yesler Community Center. The six students received instruction in graphic design from Michael Ellsworth, Corey Gutch, Gabriel Stromberg, and Molly Derse of Civilization and in social media from Susie J. Lee and Maggie Tweedy of Siren.

As voices for change in their communities, the students created graphic art and social media campaigns reflecting issues facing Yesler Terrace and surrounding communities. They gained a deeper understanding of the artistic process, acquired professional skills, and learned how to leverage social media to bring awareness to contemporary issues. Among these issues is the construction of a multi-million dollar juvenile detention center in spring 2016, which will be located less than a mile from Yesler Terrace.

The exhibition is a 2015 Frye Art Museum/Yesler Community Center: Partnership for Youth program funded by the Frye Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Associated Recreation Council, and Frye members and supporters.

Photo: Steuart Isett