Touchstones: A Walking Tour of Rainier Beach is a neighborhood project that reveals the history, heritage and people of one of Seattle’s most unique neighborhoods. The inaugural tour will take place during the Rainier Beach Art Walk on Saturday, September 15. Participants should gather at 11:00 a.m. at the Neighborcare Lobby at 9245 Rainier Avenue South for this free, docent led tour.
Rainier Beach is frequently lauded as one of the nation’s most diverse places. By selecting a wide range of locations for the tour, the project organizers were able to highlight what makes the Rainier Beach Neighborhood unique. The 15 locations along the tour include many surprises like an empty parking lot, a Buddhist temple, an urban farm, a donut shop, and an historic rail station. It also includes places you’d expect to see on a neighborhood tour like parks, libraries, community centers, schools and the light rail station. Timely information about the activities hosted in these spaces is meant to encourage even more community participation.
Touchstones combines emerging technologies with the art of storytelling. At each Touchstones site, there is a sticker with a quick response bar code (QR code). During docent led tours, participants can borrow an iPod Touch and access free Wi-Fi to learn about each location. During self-guided tours, participants can use their own smart phones to snap a picture of the QR code, take a self portrait, and send their reflections about the tour to the project organizers. Pictures, videos and memories will be shared on the project website.
Touchstones was made possible through the leadership of neighborhood residents and Seattle organizations. Members of the Touchstones working group included the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Great City, Rainier Beach Moving Forward and SEED, with support from the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology. As part of the Technology Matching Fund, Feet First partnered up with the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition to work with the Citizen Journalists of SE Seattle FreedomNet, a group of high school aged youth that created videos about Touchstone locations. Local small business Penniless Projects and Alex Hayden Photography also supported the project.
For more information about the project, please contact Cheryl dos Remedios.