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  • tenleyschwartz

Bright, Tiny, Specific: The 2022 DTSF Annual Report

A love letter to everyone who's here.

An invitation to anyone who's not sure they'll belong.

The DTSF Annual Report, aka Field Guide, aka hand-drawn zine.

No one reads annual reports, do they?

Maybe if they're looking for ideas on how to format their organization's next time.

My boss, familiar with my personal projects, suggested the zine format.

I was on board immediately "I LOVE making weird little books!"

I wanted it to feel like a gift. Something that helps DTSF members (a lot of small business owners, plus some larger companies with active local presence) feel seen.

I wanted it to feel like a punch in the face to boring corporate speak, and a permission slip to everyone else.

I wanted to tap into our most charming parts.

Our curiosity, eyes drawn to color and novelty.

Story seekers, leaning in to catch whispers.

Feeling alive when the sun hits our faces.

Hoping our buzzing phone notification is for something good.

I made a lot of little books in the process.

I stuffed them in my backpack and toted them from office to coffee shop to home, trying to get at something true. Why are we all here, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?

I'm doing the best work of my life. Because I'm here, not despite. I see a lot of people operating in this truth, and it makes downtown feel right, somehow. How can you not feel different in a place that's cared for by so many people? Belonging is intangible, which is a funny pairing with the very physical demands of place-ness. Downtown Sioux Falls, for me, is where I practice living in a bizarro combo of the two. I had a hunch that it's that way for a lot of us.

So I wrote something for us.

A story about showing up. Because when you love a place, you're here even when it's still slushy winter and you dream of escape. Because when it feels dark, it helps to hear that others are right there with you. Because you're here on purpose and sometimes forget how daring that is. Because the ordinary and extraordinary go hand-in-hand.

And then I added some pages with nitty-gritty stats. Hand-drawn, because this is the best way I know to show care.

Of course, much like downtown Sioux Falls itself, it's better in person.

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