Bayview Portraits



Oral history book project for the residents of the Bayview neighborhood / Commissioned by Bayview Foundation / 2019-2021



Bayview is one of Madison, Wisconsin’s most diverse neighborhoods, with approximately 300 residents who represent more than twelve nationalities. The 37 stories in this book offer insight into the people who call this neighborhood home. These are portraits and stories of refugees, immigrants, and many first generation Madisonians, of new and lifelong neighbors. The longest term resident who participated in this project has lived in Bayview for 48 years. Bayview is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and community services to low income families.

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Bayview is one of Madison, Wisconsin’s most diverse neighborhoods, with approximately 300 residents who represent more than twelve nationalities. The 37 stories in this book offer insight into the people who call this neighborhood home. These are portraits and stories of refugees, immigrants, and many first generation Madisonians, of new and lifelong neighbors. The longest term resident who participated in this project has lived in Bayview for 48 years.

First and foremost, Bayview Portraits is a gift to the people who call this place home. For many of them, this is the first time that they have ever shared their stories with anyone, including their relatives. It is our hope that this record makes it possible for these families to share and pass down their stories with their loved ones.

Each participating family chose a representative to share their oral histories, and whom to feature in a professionally taken portrait. While this gift was available to all Bayview residents, only those who gave permission are included in this book.

This book also serves as a historical document of Bayview at a major milestone. Many of Bayview’s original, two-story townhouses have become difficult to maintain. Additionally, as a percentage of Bayview residents choose to age in place “with their village,” there is a growing need for senior housing.

Bayview has engaged residents in a community-led design process with a team of architects to envision the future of the neighborhood. They are projected to undergo construction in the next three years. The new Bayview will have more housing units to accommodate families in need, accessibly-designed senior housing, more green space, more public art, easier access to community gardens, and an on- street entrance to the new, expanded community center. Bayview Portraits thus serves as a document of the neighborhood as it looks today, to honor the history of this community.

Bayview is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and community services to low income families. Bayview is made up of Bayview Townhouses, a Section 8 project based development that includes 102 apartments, and a comprehensive community center. Bayview is committed to supporting families to grow and thrive through quality housing, educational opportunities, access to services, and cultural programs.

Arts and culture are central to Bayview’s mission, and the Center has initiated dozens of public and community art projects since the early 1980’s. Art is used as a tool to build bridges and foster a deep sense of community among people and across cultural and language barriers. Bayview developed the concept for Bayview Portraits in 2018 and received funding from Endres Manufacturing, Dane Arts, and the City of Madison Neighborhood Project Grant. Artists Jenie Gao and Jamie Ho were hired in 2019 to implement the project.

Bayview affordable housing oral histories

Bayview Portraits, photo of book on table, front cover

Bayview affordable housing oral histories

Bayview Portraits, back cover of book


Bayview affordable housing oral histories

Page spread of resident stories


Bayview affordable housing oral histories

Page spread of resident stories


Bayview affordable housing oral histories

Page spread of resident stories


Title: Bayview Portraits

Medium: perfect bound book of photos and stories, printed in a limited edition
Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5", 113 pages
Collaborator: Photographer Jamie Ho

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