by Chamidae Ford
This Saturday, June 12, the local cultural hub, Black and Tan Hall (B & T Hall), will be hosting their Hall-i-Day party. Originally created as an event that promotes community businesses and supports local artists during the winter holiday season, B & T Hall is transitioning it to a seasonal event.
In an interview with the Emerald, Benjamin Hunter, one of the co-founders of B & T Hall, explained the overarching goals of the event.
“[It is] larger advocacy for the work that we are part of in this larger community network of organizations and businesses that are trying to champion equitable anti-racist, social justice work so that everybody, especially the folks that have been most marginalized and historically and systemically outcast — to advocate for all of those folks. [So] that we can uplift everybody and support a more enlivened and creative cultural economy,” Hunter said.
B & T Hall began five years ago with the mission of creating a culturally diverse, equitable local economy.
“[B & T Hall is] a re-visioning of a for-profit performance space and gathering people together to celebrate arts and culture,” Hunter said. “A place that’s safe, that’s inviting, that is cooperative and collaborative and rooted in coalition building, consensus, process decision-making, and that prioritizes people over profit. It prioritizes the sanctity, the safety, and preservation of community and the people that make up that community and how that community has self-determination over the development and future of their community.”
The collective is looking to tackle broader issues facing the community, such as gentrification and food and social justice inequities.
“[We are] building a business and a re-vision entity that cares about [more] than our bottom line,” Hunter said.
Their virtual event on Saturday is an ode to that. The Black & Tan Hall Band will be performing a few songs for attendees. And there will be three vendors: Amaranta Ibarra-Sandys, a visual artist and muralist; Malia from Melted Porcelain will be selling her handcrafted jewelry; and Bette Allen, the founder of Glōgoods, will have her one-of-a-kind lamps for sale.
The event will also feature interviews with two of the artists so they can share insights into their creative process.
Before the party, there will be a pre-event flower sale in front of the Hall. This idea that first began as a Mothers’ Day celebration is transitioning to a monthly ritual, taking place every second Saturday of the month, through September.
“[It’s a chance to] just sell something really pretty and really sensory and give folks an opportunity to stop by the Hall and talk and hang out,” Hunter said. “The flowers are kind of the means to a greater end of human connection and networking.”
B & T Hall has started a campaign to raise funds to not only keep these events going but to achieve its goal of opening its doors to the public in 2022.
“We have started a capital campaign to lend to some of these other things we have to do — like renovations and business development,” Hunter said. “But also part of a greater movement of coalition-building in the community to build a bigger coalition, to invest and acquire more property for other businesses like us that are culturally focused, are community connected, are coalition driven and cooperative driven.
The flower sale takes place on Saturday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until they sell out, at 5608 Rainier Avenue South. The virtual Hall-i-Day party begins at 8 p.m. and you can RSVP on B & T Hall’s Facebook event page.
Chamidae Ford is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a passion for providing a voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. Reach her on IG/Twitter: @chamidaeford.
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