Students in the 2016 Jack Straw Blind Youth Audio Project

Blind Youth Audio Project 2016

This year, Jack Straw’s teaching artists worked with SCILS students in Seattle and Mt. Vernon, as well as YES 1 and YES 2 students in our Seattle studios.


SCILS students in Seattle worked with AVIA’s Jesse Minkert to create a flash drama, and collaborated with Jack Straw New Media Gallery artist James Borchers to create their own graphic musical compositions, which were performed by musicians Angelique Poteat and Jenny Young.

SCILS Mt. Vernon students worked with Jack Straw artists Christian Swenson and Levi Fuller to perform an original song, “White Cane Day,” at the Lincoln Theatre in Mt. Vernon, Washington. White Cane Day celebrates the abilities of people who are blind and promotes equal opportunities for every American.


YES 1 students worked with Jack Straw teaching artists to create a flash drama, and Jack Straw performing artist Christian Swenson helped them create what he calls “Human Jazz”: activities combining speech, sound, and movement. The students also recorded their version of “White Cane Day” with musician Levi Fuller and teaching artist Bill Horist on guitar.


YES 2 students worked with Jesse Minkert and vocal coach Alyssa Keene to create two flash dramas and an original radio drama. Music students wrote and produced an original song in collaboration with Jack Straw musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie.

The Blind Youth Audio Project 2016 was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, and the Washington State School for the Blind, with special thanks to the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, the Rodrigues Fund, the Washington State Arts Commission, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and individual contributors for their generous support.

Our production team included Jack Straw audio engineers Tom Stiles and Daniel Guenther; Production Interns Joel Maddox and Ayesha Ubayatilaka, Writer and drama coach Jesse Minkert; Vocal coach Alyssa Keene, Musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie; musicians James Borchers, Angelique Poteat, and Jenny Young; vocalist and dancer Christian Swenson, Photographer Sherwin Eng, Musician and web designer Levi Fuller, and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.

Special thanks to Janet George with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind and YES 2 staff members; Paul Baldwin, Lisa Hodge, Boni Moran, and Doug Trimble with the Washington State School for the Blind and YES 1; Zack Small, Mount Vernon School District, with Ailea Mattsen for SCILS Seattle and with Johanna Tracey, Carter Annema, and Nancy Loy for SCILS Mount Vernon; and Jesse Minkert with Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences.


James Borchers

James Borchers is an American composer, musician, and sound artist. His recent works focus on the threshold between sound as a naturally occurring phenomenon and sound as a vessel for…

Bill Horist sitting, holding an electric bass, looking at a student playing electric guitar

Bill Horist

Seattle-based guitarist Bill Horist has played on dozens of records and has performed throughout North and Central America, Europe and Japan; collaborating with numerous leading lights in a beguiling…

Jessica Lurie in profile, playing flute and wearing headphones

Jessica Lurie

Seattle and Brooklyn-based Jessica Lurie is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser, performing on saxophones, flute, voice, accordion and electronics. She calls on a wide range of…

Photo of Jesse Minkert

Jesse Minkert

Jesse Minkert’s work has appeared in about fifty literary journals including the Cream City Review, Confrontation, Mount Hope, the Floating Bridge Review, the Minetta Review, Poetry Northwest, Common Knowledge…


Christian Swenson

Christian Swenson is a performing artist and teacher who offers a variety of creative services and participatory events including; concerts, workshops, school shows, jams, lecture/demonstrations and private parties.