The Alberta Main Street organization has launched a project that seeks to collect stories about the history of African American community on the street and document that history through storytelling and the creation of public art.
The equitable place-making and historical markers project is the result of a community check-in “Honoring Our Past, Planning Our Future,” held in early 2015 to gather input and identify priorities for the organization. One of the priorities discussed was to find effective ways to embrace the rich history of the street.
The goals of the project are to commemorate the history of the African American community on Alberta, to raise community awareness about that history and to ensure authentic community involvement in creating a shared public space. The first phase of the project will be collecting the stories.
“We all have stories to tell that are steeped in a time and deeply rooted in place,” said Sara Wittenberg, Alberta Main Street’s executive director. “Whether you’ve lived near Alberta Street for 30 years or Alberta Street played an important role in a memory formed years ago – we want to hear your story. We are particularly interested in stories from current or former King, Vernon, Sabin or Concordia residents whose lives and families have been impacted by social and economic changes in the area, stories about historically significant events that may have impacted Alberta or stories that recollect a personally significant event or experience in the neighborhood.”
Stories will be accepted through December 31 and will be included on the Alberta Main Street website. Selected stories will spark the creation of historical and cultural markers to be installed on Alberta between tenth and 31st avenues. Selected storytellers will receive a $500 stipend and will be invited to consult with the artists selected to design and install the markers.
The second phase of the project will focus on the creation of the markers, and the organization plans to release a request for proposals in February. The public is invited to an informational community meeting about the project on Tuesday, November 9 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Cerimon House, 5131 N.E. 23rd Ave.
For more information, to share your story or to RSVP for the meeting, visit www.albertamainst.org.