Below are photos from the "conversation gallery" exhibit hosted at St. Roch Community Church on August 15, 2015. The event was an invitation to people from the St. Roch community and beyond to listen to people with various perspectives on gentrification discuss their views on the changing neighborhood and, hopefully, to start their own.
Each of the conversations uploaded to this site were playing on loop in the space with the effect of any single conversation being unintelligible until you ventured close enough to the faces, voices, and stories of those in the neighborhood to really hear what was being said.
Below the photos is the welcome/description used at the exhibit.
St Roch is gentrifying. People are moving in. Other people are moving out. It is happening fast. There are better streets and a lessening sense of community; a new park and old faces that are no longer here to enjoy it; less crime and more people who can no longer afford to experience it. The reasons why are as complicated as what the proper response should be. And yet, St. Roch is changing and the lives of people in this neighborhood are changing along with it.
There are no answers in this room. There are only conversations. Some people have been here all their lives. Some people are brand new. Some are white. Some are black. Some people knew each other well, some got to know each other better in the midst of these talks. Not everyone agrees with how gentrification is impacting this community, but they all agreed to talk about it. So we have some honest conversations about the difficulties, benefits, frustration, heaviness, and apathy that accompanies those living in St. Roch as it changes.
Start in the middle of room. This is what gentrification sounds like before it becomes personal. There are lots of opinions and lots of noise being made, but unless you get close enough to really hear the individual opinions and stories, it can be more distracting than helpful. Move closer.
Listen to these conversations. Then, go start your own.
Special thanks to St Roch Community Church for exemplifying what life together looks like.
And to Otis and Eleanor for making beautiful speakers and then letting us borrow them.