Coming over the hill into Boulder on U.S. 36, you’re rewarded with a panorama of green and gold grasslands that paint a path up to sandstone buildings and the towering Flatirons. For many Boulderites, the lifestyle is as good as the view: At $70,961, the median household income is almost $15,000 higher than that of America at large. Yet the People’s Republic is still home to plenty of families in poverty.
In 2016, One Thousand Design, a Boulder creative studio, wanted to give marginalized populations like the working poor a platform to share their stories. Its four-person team pinpointed seven voiceless Boulder communities—such as youth in crisis and transgender individuals—and partnered with area nonprofits to interview and photograph people who fell into those categories. Staffers then created an exhibition of portraits (pictured) and a film based on their research, collectively called the Sonder Collection (“sonder” is defined as the realization that every passerby has a complex life). They’ll host both at the Dairy Arts Center on September 14, plus a panel of speakers that includes representatives from the nonprofits and participants themselves. The celebration comes as One Thousand Design prepares to launch a Denver version of the project—same format, different faces.