Screen shot of an audio recording session in Pro Tools

Blind Youth Audio Project 2021

Grid of 12 screens in a Zoom session from Blind Youth 2021For this year’s project we hosted students from Washington State Department of Services for the Blind for our audio workshops themed “Telling Your Story.” Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all our classes were conducted online, and we adjusted our schedule and programming accordingly. The workshops took place over five weeks, culminating in a final event on Zoom.

We offered two workshops: Music and Song and Radio Drama. In the Music and Song workshop, musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie, with engineer Joel Maddox, collaborated with students to write and produce an original song, “Hopeful Future.” The student group, Rising Stars, featured Angie Rodriguez, Sara Gabbert, Aiden Moore, and Channon Hopson.


Writer Jesse Minkert, vocal coach Alyssa Keene, and engineer Daniel Guenther worked with the drama group – Leo Salas, Eli McCalmont, and Hope Millam Imus – to create an original radio play, “It’s Better Now.”


The Blind Youth Audio Project 2021 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. Our production team included Jack Straw audio engineers Daniel Guenther, and Joel Maddox, with Zoom support from Tom Stiles and Ayesha Ubayatilaka; writer and drama coach Jesse Minkert; vocal coach Alyssa Keene; musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie; web designer Levi Fuller; and Project Director Joan Rabinowitz.

Special thanks to Janet George with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind and Jesse Minkert with Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences.

Our programs for youth with disabilities are made possible with support from the Rodrigues Fund, Jubilation Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, and individual contributors.

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


Bill Horist sitting, holding an electric bass, looknig 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…