Blind Youth Audio Project 2017

For this year’s project we hosted students from SKILLS Seattle and SKILLS Mount Vernon, as well as YES 1 and YES 2 students in Jack Straw’s studios.


Both groups of students from SKILLS Seattle and SKILLS Mount Vernon produced flash dramas and recorded text and sounds inspired by the New Media Gallery installation, The New Landscape, by artists Roger Feldman and Jeff Roberts.


Musician Levi Fuller wrote the song “Sighted as a Bat (The Click-Click Song),” about human echolocation, then performed and recorded it with the YES 1 students in Jack Straw’s studio, along with teaching artist Bill Horist on guitar. Another group of students produced “Echo,” an audio drama about echolocation written by Jesse Minkert.


YES 2 students recorded their own version of the song “Sighted as a Bat (The Click-Click Song)” with the addition of Jessica Lurie on flute, and produced flash dramas in studio 2 with Alyssa Keene and Katya Landau.

Over the following weeks, high school students worked with Jack Straw teaching artists to write and record original music and radio drama in the Jack Straw studios. Musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie collaborated with one group of students to write and produce an original song, “Dear Friend.” Writer Jesse Minkert, vocal coach Alyssa Keene, and engineer Daniel Guenther with the drama group of students to create an original radio play, “Downtown Tragedy.”

The Blind Youth Audio Project 2017 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,and individual contributors for their generous support.

Our production team included Jack Straw audio engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, Tom Stiles, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka, Production interns Duong Cao and Tin Chau, Writer and drama coach Jesse Minkert; Vocal coaches Alyssa Keene and Katya Landau, Musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie, Gallery artists Roger Feldman and Jeff Roberts, 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 and SKILLS Mount Vernon; Ailean Mattsen and SKILLS Seattle; and Jesse Minkert with Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences.

This program was provided in part under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


Roger Feldman

Roger Feldman

Roger Feldman received his BA in Art from the University of Washington in Seattle and his MFA in Sculpture from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. While still in graduate…

Jeff Roberts - guqin

Jeff Roberts

Dr. Jeff Roberts is a composer-improviser and sound artist working in interdisciplinary acoustic and electroacoustic contexts. His music explores relationships between different music styles and cultures. Described as ‘bewitching…

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…