Photographs taken by Jonathan Vanderweit (©2018)
HEAR HERE WALLA WALLA is a phone storyline and website that maps the community of Walla Walla, WA through some stories of immigrants and first generation Walla Walla residents. Artists Jessica Cerullo, Tia Kramer and I conceived this project in collaboration with members of the Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition (WWIRC) as a means to share stories which, for reasons of anonymity or a lack of platform, have not been heard within the community at large. The ongoing project is creatively directed by the WWIRC Art & Social Practice Committee.
A group of artists and Whitman College students interviewed Latinx community members (and one German), ages 18-65, around Walla Walla about their lives. To share and record these oral histories, I programmed a phone line that anyone could call, and hear excerpts from the interviews or leave messages with their own story. Many interviewees wanted to be anonymous; in these instances their stories were re-recorded using voice actors. The phone line framework allowed us to archive all the stories on the phone line at the Whitman College Northwest Archives while protecting the anonymity of those involved.