Blind Youth Audio Project 2022

For this year’s Blind Youth Audio Project, after two years of working remotely, we welcomed students back into our studios for a series of in-person workshops. We hosted elementary students from the Edmonds/Everett area, as well as high school students from across Washington State.

Elementary School Program

For this one-day workshop, Julia Smith and Aileen Mattsen, Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs), brought brothers Abram and Gideon to Jack Straw for a radio drama workshop. Abram and Gideon worked with engineer Daniel Guenther and vocal coach Meg McLynn to produce “The Toy Store.” Writer Jesse Minkert joined via Zoom, and interns Joel Chen and Maddi Loates assisted in the studio.

Abram, Gideon, and Julia recorded the 3 characters in the story. Abram and Gideon then recorded foley sound effects after the vocal recording was complete. Before concluding the workshop, a first mix of the flash drama was presented to the group, leaving time for comments and suggested changes.


High School Program

During the opening session of the 2022 Blind Youth Audio Project, a group of 17 students worked with Jack Straw’s artist team of audio engineers, musicians, vocal coaches, and writer to create two flash dramas and learn about the program. After all participants introduced themselves, the group listened to past Blind Youth drama and music productions. Then, the group divided into three teams to begin vocal recording and music composition.

The first group produced “Eyelash” in Studio 1 with Jesse, Joel, and Meg, while the second group worked on “Magic Trick” in Studio 2 with engineer Ayesha Ubayatilaka and vocal coach Kate Myre. The third group worked with musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie to compose original music to accompany the two flash dramas.

For the rest of the program, students broke into two groups to work with our radio theater team and music team.

Addie, Charlie, and Nuha created the radio play “Different Barriers, Same Problem” in collaboration with Jesse, Kate, Meg, Daniel, and Ayesha.


Angie, Alexander, Brooklyn, and Tommy created the song “A Train Away from Hope” in collaboration with Bill, Jessica, Ayesha, and Joel.


The Blind Youth Audio Project 2022 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. Our production team included Jack Straw audio engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka; writer and drama coach Jesse Minkert; vocal coaches Meg McLynn and Kate Myre; musicians Bill Horist and Jessica Lurie; interns Joel Chen and Maddi Loates; 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, 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, 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…

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn is a Seattle-based actor, vocalist, and teaching artist who loves sharing her passion for performance with students of all ages. She is a member of the vocal…

Portrait of Kate Myre

Kate Myre

Kate Myre lives and works in Seattle as a stage actor, voice over talent, and teacher. In addition to her extensive work nationally as a voice over artist and dialect…

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…