When we profiled SCCA design students Jess Ornelas and Greg Smith earlier this year they had no idea how their #LOVETHEHILL project was going to fare – it has grown beyond even what they thought was possible. An interactive installation on Broadway in between Pike and Pine, they are seeking to create a platform to talk about the changes to Capitol Hill. They tackle the last 30 years, visually showing the impact of the ever growing development and gentrification and highlight voices of the community. Together with SCCA photographer Tim Haddock they made some beautiful promotional videos.
With the now fairly ubiquitous hashtag #LOVETHEHILL, Instagram account and Facebook page, their social media strategy ends up aggregating a variety of content and an online curation of the best and worst of the Hill. They then move some of that content to the physical installation on Broadway, creating a loop of community input.
Ornelas tells us more about how the project has felt like a team effort: “It’s been great to see the community involvement with the project, it is becoming a larger piece than we could have imagined or intended. The support from the faculty and the students (especially the first years that helped us build our neighborhood images for the installation) at school has been out of this world, without them some parts of this project may never have come to fruition. The countdown is on, and we have a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait to share and see how the community builds #LOVETHEHILL.”
Ornelas and Smith envisioned the project to feel like a living commentary deeply connected to what is happening on the Hill, art and commerce. With a newly released #LOVETHEHILL compilation of music by local artists with support and help from KEXP and Audioasis DJ Sharlese Metcalf, they put noise to that vision.
#LOVETHEHILL has brought together businesses that have a real stake in how the changes to the Hill happen. Smith chimes in: “With the support of local businesses including Caffe Vita and Oddfellow’s our project has been able to have plenty of room to grow naturally. Civilization has been a great help in spreading the word, and we respect them tremendously so having them behind us means a lot.”
The full documentary they made is a compilation of images encapsulating the changes interspersed with interviews of some of the Hill’s most noteworthy.
Only the future can tell what will happen as the project continues to evolve, but it is clear that this is a city thirsty for well designed outlets to voice thoughts about the changes. Be sure to check out more of the fabulous coverage of the #LOVETHEHILL project at the Capitol Hill Times and on The Stranger’s SLOG.