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Catch — & — Release is a year-long, two-part creative placemaking project in South Street Seaport neighborhood in Manhattan, a twelve-block enclave by the East River where the New York City had its start. The project aims to make visible the hidden, forgotten, or misunderstood history and culture of this unique neighborhood, caused by shifting visions in urban development for the past half century.

The part 1 of Catch — & — Release focused on highlighting the neighborhood’s resilient spirit and agency, which surfaced through weathering Hurricane Sandy. The participatory installation was designed and built to capture and celebrate the extraordinary efforts of individuals in the community.


In this temporary space, visitors were encouraged to take a moment to reflect on their Sandy experience, and recognize the help they’ve received from others through writing messages of gratitude. And they raised the messages using the rope and pulley system, the vernacular materials from the Seaport’s strong maritime culture. As the messages accumulated, the installation became the visual symbol of strong bonds of the people in the community. All the cards accumulated over three months resulted in a book which was distributed in the neighborhood.

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Catch — & — Release is part of Design/Relief, an initiative of AIGA New York supported by Artplace.

Project Lead Designer: Yeju Choi
Community Outreach Strategists: Francesca Birks, Josh Treuhaft
Storytellers: The Public Society (part 1), B. Tyler Silvestro (part 2)
Space Design and Construction: Yeju Choi, Chat Travieso, Heechan Kim, Chris Fox
Publication Concept and Design:Yeju Choi
AIGA Design/Relief Program Director: Laetitia Wolff
AIGA Design/Relief Project Board: Willy Wong, Glen Cummings, Manuel Miranda