Spy Hop / by SHOKO SMITH

While attending the Spy Hop Fundraiser Gala event in April of 2016,  principals of GSBS Architects were blown away by the courage it took for teenagers to be on stage in front of a huge audience and pitch their stories for short films they have been working on.

On arrival, to the event, guests were invited onto the stage, bright spot lights beamed colored rays through the fog: guests had mingled, eaten, drunk and were merry.  Roller skaters zipped around selling raffle tickets in exchange for jelly rings that sparkled colored lights. Students worked the crowd chatting about the programs they were involved in, stations were set up for snippets of current gaming, film, audio projects. Silent auctions, raffles, music, exciting people from the community all "set the stage" for the yearly, anticipated auctioning of the films. Later, as guests were ushered from the stage to their auditorium seats, the current Spy Hop band played a set of songs. Shortly after the presentations began- up first: a brief video of Spy Hop winning the highest National award for an arts program given by the First Lady Michelle Obama. From there the students presented their work and the audience bid for naming rights, producer status and bid from sheer amazement at the ideas that thoughtful young adults are being encouraged to discuss.

For the last presentation of the evening two teenagers took the stage. There was a humming buzz in the crowd, the audience was, at this point, a bit restless. The evening had been an exciting sensory overload. As the young director and cinematographer stood nervously on stage clearly presenting their message to a now hushed audience,  the GSBS principals in the crowd knew immediately that this story was one that they have been fighting for and care for at their deepest core. GSBS believes  so strongly in environmentally friendly design simply because this is the legacy that will be left for our very own children. The name of the film: CO2- The Air that we Breathe. 

Buildings, generating electricity, vehicles all contribute to bad air quality during times of inversion in Salt Lake City.  Sustainable Design Excellence is GSBS's mission. GSBS has for thirty years been designing buildings that are conscious of this precious world we live in, all the while pushing its employees, clients, contractors and colleagues to design and build buildings that are better for the environment and for all of us in the long run. It did not take more than a second for the principals of GSBS to know that they had to help produce this film. The Spy Hop students described their film and told the audience "it may sound like a boring film you might have to watch in science class, but it is vital that we speak about this issue, and we assure you it isn't boring". These are absolutely topics that we should be discussing outside of science class. And at Spy Hop, an after school program in Salt Lake City, an  incredible platform is created for the youth of our community to raise their voices, on all issues. 

The wonderful people at GSBS are involved on so many levels on different boards, organizations, non profits that It is no secret that GSBS Architects loves it's community dearly. To be able to participate, in such a contributing way,  with other organizations that are also challenging, benefiting, changing and shaping the place we live in only makes us at GSBS Architects want to give more to our community through hard work, civic engagements and wonderful evenings like the Spy Hop Gala event. When can we all be surprised by young people further discussing serious topics? November 2nd at the red carpet Pitchnic grand premier.

You can purchase tickets here: http://spyhop.org/pitchnic_premiere/

Film previews can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/channels/922200/183876453