Dear Bakersfield Project
Taylor Holloway, Founder + Director, Public Design Agency
The Dear Bakersfield Project was developed out of a desire to achieve two goals, the first: to uncover, share, and archive stories about the city of Bakersfield and its history and future. Secondly, the project was intentionally designed to democratize the acts of discussing spatial environments and producing art and artifacts in order to do so.
The Dear Bakersfield Project is a platform for examining our cities through spatial storytelling. The project utilizes visual, oral, and written narratives in order to express personal and collective memories about a city as well as our hopes for a city’s future. First launched in 2018, Dear Bakersfield provides residents of Bakersfield, California an accessible way to unearth and share stories about their city, to each other, and to their city. In partnership with the Kern Economic Development Corp. and the Bakersfield Museum of Art, Public Design Agency (PDA) created a means for personal and collective narrative collection and expression by way of place-based storytelling, urban activations, and postcard writing. Through a city-wide open call for photographs, art, and stories of Bakersfield, we asked residents to interpret and submit imagery and stories of the places and spaces that represented “iconic” Bakersfield. From the submissions, we developed eight original postcard designs, two public activations, and an interactive exhibition at the Bakersfield Museum of Art where visitors and residents alike can write to the city and to one another about Bakersfield's past, present, and future. In collaboration with Bakersfield born filmmaker Fabian Euresti, we developed a documentary film capturing the Project’s process.