It's your place

Katie Bachler, the brains behind the BMA Outpost—a mobile museum, which you may have encountered at Lexington Market, or Health Care for the Homeless, the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, or many other places over the last couple of years—makes maps with people. “A lot of my work comes from talking to people about memory and place, and putting that on a map, and making those invisibles visible,” she says. People drop by the Outpost, share a story, make a drawing, and add a memory to the neighborhood map at the site. Once the map is filled up, Bachler makes a watercolor drawing of it, and comes back to the site with copies to hand out to people. “And then they’re like, whoa, I added to this map, and then I see myself on it, I see myself in this place. Which I think art is all about, seeing yourself in a place. It’s empowering to see yourself in a place. It’s your place.”

“I think it makes things a little bit magical. Someone might have fallen in love on that corner, or had a magical experience with a leaf on that tree,” Bachler says. “Those are all invisibles that are there.” Tapping into these memories and feelings about place helps us to reclaim some ownership of it. “And it’s really important that places feel like our own,” she continues. “So much of life is scripted, and where to go, and how to be in a space...we can make a place our own by making memories there and spending time there.” 

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