The Edge


In the spring of 2018, students in the advanced visual journalism course at Western Washington University sought out stories of life on the edge.  Using visual storytelling techniques, these students explored narratives of art, therapy, homelessness and van life.  Each of these topics illustrates a different aspect of the class theme of \”The Edge.\”


By Dan Thomas and Nic Ulmer

Individuals who previously experienced homelessness and people experiencing homelessness share their opinions about the services available to them and difficulties associated with the state of homelessness in Whatcom County. Authorities on the topic explain how it will take a community to solve this complex issue and correct the public’s perception. 

Western Washington University students Dan Thomas and Nic Ulmer interviewed numerous individuals from all walks of life to frame the topic of homelessness in a meaningful way.

ANT: Animals as Natural Therapy

By Rose Carr, Jade Thurston and Katie Webber

Sonya Wingard and Jessie Pemble describe the impact of their farm, Animals as Natural Therapy, in Whatcom County. Mobile ANT offers intergenerational interaction between youth volunteers and older adults – “a population that we often shun out and close out.”

Creating Community Through Art

By Sophie Miller, Rachel Postlewait and Kirstyn Nyswonger

A peek into the Bellingham art scene through the eyes of three of its key players. Christen Mattix, Francie Allen and Margot Myers all chose to make Bellingham their home as they push the edge of art in its many forms. This lifestyle pushes people to the edge, financially and otherwise. It can be a struggle at times, but it so worth it in the end. Watch the video to learn more about the challenges and rewards they experience by being part of the arts community in Bellingham, Washington.

Margot Myers

Margot Myers, owner of Runaway Press, primarily works in printmaking. Aside from running her own press studio where she holds workshops and rents the space for other printmakers, she creates installation pieces. Her prints exist in many places, but one of her biggest installations is on an outdoor staircase in Knoxville, Tennessee. Incorporating her art into the community is important to Myers and her studio space downtown helps her do this. Her work can be found on her website,

Francie Allen

Francie Allen moved to Bellingham from the San Francisco Bay Area and has made a home for herself in the arts community here. She works with motion and the human form, creating figures in motion out of chicken wire. Working with WWU students and other community members, Allen loves collaboration. She dreams of one day turning some of her property in the York neighborhood into a community art center and studio spaces. Her work can be found on her website,

Christen Mattix

Christen Mattix creates art to express connections in her life and the world. Her work extends from writing to painting to installation pieces. She often uses repurposed materials such as fabric to create something new. Working with connection, time and place as common themes in her work, Mattix appreciates her artistic process. As she works, the project changes with her. Her work can be found on her website,


By Lincoln Humphry, Trevor Dickie, Caleb Galbreath, Paul Kelly and Jacob Land

With #vanlife blowing up on Instagram, the lifestyle of people who actually live in vans to pursue their passions is missed. Climbers, mountain guides, bikers, or any other recreationalists probably don\’t live the #vanlife that you have seen lately.