Olympic View Elementary: My Special Place 2017

My Special Place: Poetry and Sound is the culmination of a new writing and media arts-integrated Jack Straw residency with Olympic View Elementary School 2nd grade students and Jean Nelson’s special education students in Seattle, Washington during the fall of 2017. Students worked with Jack Straw’s artist team to write, perform, and record their own stories inspired by their own favorite place.

Jack Straw Writer Samar Abulhassan helped students to each write their own haibun, a simple Japanese prose form with a haiku or image at the end. Jack Straw vocal coaches and engineers joined Samar at school to help students start using their voices to tell their stories out loud, while engineers helped students imagine and create sounds they remember.

Students then came to Jack Straw Cultural Center to record their poems and make their own sound effects working with our vocal coaches and audio engineers in Jack Straw’s professional recording studios.

Student poetry and sound pieces:

Ms. Nelson’s Group

Jesus, Auria, Rihanna, Mosab, Laya, Abdullahi, William, Ingrid, Sydney, Quentin, Nathaniel, and Alleyn

Ms. Murphy’s group

Ms. Schwab’s group:

Ms. Abercrombie and Ms. Ouelette’s groups:

My Special Place was produced by Olympic View Elementary School 2nd grade students and Jack Straw Cultural Center with the generous support of the Washington State Arts Commission and the Olympic View PTA, with additional support from the Jack Straw Education Fund. This program was provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Our thanks to Olympic View second grade students, second grade teachers Valerie Ouellette, Kristin Schwab, Madeline Murphy, and Alexandra Abercrombie,special education teacher Jean Nelson, Multi Arts teacher Liz Law, OV Arts Committee grant coordinator Shannon Barnes, Olympic View Administrative Secretary Teresa Olmsted, and Olympic View principal Andrew Bean.

The Jack Straw artist team included writer Samar Abulhassan, vocal coaches Alyssa Keene, Christine Marie Brown, and Katya Landau, audio engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka, interns Ellison Wolff, Dana Amromin, photographer Sherwin Eng, and Jack Straw Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.


Samar Abulhassan

Samar Abulhassan

Samar Abulhassan holds an M.F.A. from Colorado State University and has worked as a teaching artist for ten years, for Seattle Arts and Lectures’ WITS Program, Jack Straw…