From Project Catapult: ‘Out of the Blocks’

This is part of a series that looks at the shows in Project Catapult’s first cohort.

WYPR’s Out of the Blocks takes listeners through the city of Baltimore, block by block, and tells the stories of the people living there.

But producers Aaron Henkin and Wendel Patrick say they’re not stopping at Baltimore — they plan to take their show on the road.

“We’re happy to say that we were recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is going to allow us to expand Out of the Blocks to some other cities around the country and bring our documentary model there,” Henkin said. “The first city we are traveling to is St. Louis.”

Henkin says that while in St. Louis, he and Patrick will be assisted by We Live Here producers Tim Lloyd and Kameel Stanley, who also participated in Project Catapult.

fffAaron Henkin, left, and Wendel Patrick co-produce WYPR’s Out of the Blocks and participated in PRX’s Project Catapult.

Relationships like those, say Henkin and Patrick, are part of what made Project Catapult such a valuable experience for them.

“We were all in that crucible together. I cherish the friendships that came out of that experience,” Patrick said. “You have to be in a really trusting environment to be able to experiment with and radically redesign something you feel so personally invested in.”

And Patrick and Henkin say their production process truly has evolved: episodes that used to take eight weeks to produce are now released biweekly.

But at its core, Out of the Blocks will always be about human existence and human interaction, according to Patrick and Henkin.

“It’s about giving people an opportunity to speak honestly about what’s on their minds and to share freely whatever they feel comfortable sharing,” Patrick said.

Since relaunching in June, following the conclusion of their Project Catapult experience, Patrick and Henkin have released seven new episodes of Out of the Blocks, starting with a two-parter about the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road in Baltimore.

Henkin says the funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the support from PRX were, of course, awesome, but one part of Project Catapult stuck out as particularly precious: “Getting to go through that extended creative experience with so many smart and enthusiastic people, that was valuable beyond measurement.”

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