I am Cortney Kreer. Cort for short.
Delaware native. DC transplant. I’ve been in the District for almost a decade and I. Love. It. Every single day there is a new reason. It was not always easy to love and it still tries me sometimes. But love it I do.
This city is full of life, art, history, pain and passion. Small enough to find what you need and big enough to get lost, if you need to.
The stories of this city fascinate me. It’s a hidden city with a long history, still being written. Of fighting for the basic right of representation. Of fighting against systemic erasure by poverty and federal power alike. Of fighting, still fighting. Honestly? Against people like me (old joke: What do you call a gentrifier? Someone who moved in five minutes after you did).
That’s okay, I can barely afford it here either.
DC is notable in ways other cities aren’t. It’s special. It is commonly, repeatedly, happily misunderstood by the media and by popular narrative. That story casts “this town” as a wall of monuments and federal buildings, its human topography a monolithic rift of lobbyists and Feds, rotten tip to root.
This story and the those perpetuating it like to forget (or never knew) that the city is four quadrants with well over a hundred different neighborhoods, of which the Capitol is only a small part.
And I like that. It tickles the darker part of me that likes being special and likes secrets. It does for a lot of folks here, I suspect. It’s not much of a secret anymore, and we all get to feel special, admittedly at the expense of a lot of people whose stories came before.
No, I wasn’t born here. But the city can still be partly mine, as I work to better it, to respect it, and honor where it came from. This is a city of change, good and bad, and up for interpretation as to which is which. We are still finding our sea legs in the shift, but if it throws me off completely I’ll go, and smile for what I had.
And I like that too.
Enough of that. What do I do?
I’m a graphic designer. I cook. I read — anything and everything, but sci-fi and comics mostly these days. I volunteer at FIGMENT DC, which is “a free, interactive, non-commercial, participatory arts festival created for, and by, the community.” The FIGMENT project stands for a lot of the things I do: empowering communities to inspire themselves and the world, encouraging participation in the mechanism of life instead of simply spectating — and doing it all through art and in shared public spaces.
As a general guiding principle, I like to not be evil. In this industry it’s very easy to fall to the dark side; manipulating human emotion and our basic, beautiful desire for connection to sell products that are needless at best and harmful at worst. When I’m in my happiest place I’m using the same marketing and design skills that would otherwise be projected on a thing to be purchased directed instead to an idea, group, or cause that is striving to create a better world. Design with a conscience.
You can find a lot of pictures of the city on my Flickr page. Don’t look for me on Facebook. I’m not really there. I couldn’t tell you why beyond the standard answers (privacy and assimilation concerns, mostly). I do tweet though: @cortneykreer.
Say hi if you like. I’m down to talk about anything.