February 23, 2021

Karen Bailor
From a Child's Point of View

New Interactive Experience To Light Up Downtown Bellingham

On Friday March 5th, PROJECT WE BEAM will light up downtown Bellingham and living rooms everywhere with an interactive art installation for all ages! The hybrid virtual and socially-distanced outdoor event is open to the public and will be viewable on the north wall of the Pickford Film Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during Downtown First Friday. 

PROJECT WE BEAM will project the thoughts, feelings, and artwork of 5th grade students from Roosevelt Elementary School alongside moderated live community conversations about topics related to climate change. The program will also be livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom for at-home audiences.

“Having never done anything like this before, I'm so excited to see this community-wide conversation unfold!” Project Director Lauren McClanahan explains, “Using media to engage a multi-generational audience is something that I strive to do in my work, and beaming up such wonderful ideas from the students at Roosevelt takes 'enlightenment' to a whole new level!”

All ages are invited to respond to the program and join the real-time, audience conversation from the event or from home by commenting on the live streams or by texting PROJECT WE BEAM at (360) 515-7618 (with the  permission of a parent or guardian, of course). Approved messages will even be projected live as part of the program!

A collaborative project of two local nonprofits—From A Child’s Point of View and the Bellingham Youth Media Project—PROJECT WE BEAM was born of a desire to create space for children to engage adults in conversations about our shared planet. What if, suddenly, the children understood what the animals were saying? And the animals understood the children?

Project Directors Lisa Citron and Lauren McClanahan held virtual workshops earlier this year to bring drama into classrooms where students are learning how human activities impact planet Earth. Using their own words and bringing their prior knowledge to a scene, students discover a kind of audacity fueled by a yearning for understanding and skills, and a desire to solve very big and very real challenges of our lives today. 

“I felt like the solution ideas at the end of our session sparked a lot of new ideas for other kids,” Roosevelt Elementary teacher Joy Nelson reflected. “They are motivated to take action!”

In-school workshops culminate in illustrating students’ responses to their investigations of climate change in public art installations. Through their work students invite the Bellingham community to see what they are thinking about, worrying about, and what they intend to do about plummeting bio-diversity, plastics in the oceans, and habitat loss resulting from climate change.

Projects from 2019 and 2020 can be seen on the ASB Waterfront Trail and on the wall of Bellingham Wind Works, respectively.

PROJECT WE BEAM Event details:

  • Date: Friday, March 5
  • Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Location: 1318 Bay Street (parking lot on the corner of Bay Street & W Champion St)

Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing at the event or considering joining virtually.

Project We Beam is produced by From A Child’s Point of View and Bellingham Youth Media Project 501(c)3 with thanks to the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, the Pickford Film Center, and Faithlife. Live streaming provided by Varvid. Projection provided by Audio Visual Specialists Lynnwood. Special thanks to our teachers at Roosevelt Elementary School: Joy Nelson, Kelly Kuplen, Carter Daniels. And in appreciation and awe of the students! PROJECT WE BEAM is made possible by a grant from Public Art Films and a gift from the Cyan Day Fund of the Whatcom Community Foundation.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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