by Susan Fried
Over seven hundred people bought tickets for Wa Na Wari’s inaugural “Walk the Block” fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 16. Attendees were treated to a feast of visual art, music, dance, food, and drinks.
Upon arriving at the event, participants were given maps, chose custom racing bibs with a variety of words and slogans, and then set off on a .08 mile walk through the Central District neighborhood. During “Walk the Block,” they could find work by artists Inye Wokoma, Chloe King, and Kimisha Turner. There were also video pieces by Martine Syms, Sable Elyse Smith, and the Shelf Life Community Story Project, as well as live music by the Gary Hammon Band. Three blocks away, in front of the Garfield Community Center, there were dance performances by Northwest Tap Connection and the Bring Us Collective, with jazz trumpeter Owuor Arunga playing in between performances. There were 15 stops along the way.
Elisheba Johnson, co-founder of Wa Na Wari, told the Emerald that the event was “a total success.”
“We decided to do this on a lark and had no idea if it would resonate or not, and it’s just so amazing,” Johnson said, adding that Wa Na Wari plans on making this an annual event. Feedback from the neighbors, who want to add their houses next time, and from the participants, who suggested partnering with other organizations, has already given them some great ideas for next year.
Johnson said that one participant returning to Wa Na Wari after their “Walk the Block” tour said they got to “rediscover the Central District.”
“And that felt like everything that we [Wa Na Wari] do, at once, in a way,” said Johnson. “We’re all about people rediscovering their relationship to the Central District.”
Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, commercial work — plus she’s been The Skanner’s Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.
📸 Featured Image: A volunteer helps keep track of the people inside the Wa Na Wari house during the “Walk the Block” fundraiser for Wa Na Wari on Saturday, Oct. 16. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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