Claudia Castro Luna (left), author and illustrator Adriana Morales Marín (center), and author Maria de Lourdes Victoria (right), at “Creativity Everyday / Creatividad Cotidiana”

Creativity for Everyone: Claudia Castro Luna’s Bilingual Series Empowers the Latino Community

by Amanda Ong

As of last month, former Washington State Poet Laureate and former Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna is hosting a bilingual, three-event series on creativity at The Seattle Public Library (SPL). With one event having passed, the next two events will be on Sunday, April 16, at the South Park Branch, and Thursday, April 20, at the Central Library. The series aims to encourage public creativity and empower the Latino community of Seattle. Each event is free, though registration is required.

“A big part of my effort was to really amplify the notion of who is creative, and to invite folks to think of themselves as creatives,” Castro Luna said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “Rather than telling ourselves, ‘I can’t do that, I don’t know how to draw. Other people know how to draw.’ And so the first event at the library closed with a doodling exercise, which was super fun.”

Claudia Castro Luna (left) and Maria de Lourdes Victoria speak to the audience about creative practices at “Creativity Everyday / Creatividad Cotidiana,” March 30, 2023. (Photo: Lisa Sairy of The Seattle Public Library)

The first event in the series, “Creativity Everyday / Creatividad Cotidiana,” was held on March 30, and featured movement- and dance-based creativity, from a discussion on culture and language to a lesson on merengue. Afro-Latina dancer Milvia Pacheco, author Maria de Lourdes Victoria, and artist Adriana Morales took part in the event. 

The next event, on April 16, is a film screening and discussion of Pelo Malo, a Venezuelan film about an Afro-Latino mother and son in Venezuela. Milvia Pacheco, founder of Movimiento Afrolatino, will help lead the group through a discussion of the film as well. The film contains sensitive material, and the event is not open to children.

“The reason why I chose the film was, we hear about the immigrant crisis at the border … part of my interest here is we could learn something about Venezuela by watching this movie,” Castro Luna said. “But the main reason, really, is to talk about, what does it mean to be an Afro-Latino here in Seattle.”

Claudia Castro Luna is a Seattle-based, award-winning poet and was Seattle’s first Civic Poet in addition to being a Washington Poet Laureate. She is bilingual, and her desire to uplift other Latinos has influenced her series on creativity at the Seattle Public Library. (Photo: Tim Aguero)

The final event on April 20, “Poetry Everyday / Poesía Cotidiana,” is in celebration of National Poetry Month, which is April. Adriana Morales Marín, an artist who also made an appearance at the first event, will join Castro Luna for a short poetry reading. Castro Luna will guide the audience in writing bilingual poetry, and Morales Marín will then help participants illustrate their poems.

“I’m really looking forward to this event, it will be super fun,” Castro Luna said. “[This is going to be about] playing with words, and playing with color, and hopefully everybody will walk away with something to share or to hang on their refrigerator door, or just to be there and experience losing themselves in that creative act.”

Attend the film screening of Pelo Malo on April 16 from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m at the South Park Branch of The Seattle Public Library at 8604 8th Ave. S. Attend “Poetry Everyday / Poesía Cotidiana” on April 20 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Central Library on 1000 4th Ave. Register on the SPL website for the film screening and “Poetry Everyday / Poesia Cotidiana.” Registration is required. Both events are free.

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: Claudia Castro Luna (left), author and illustrator Adriana Morales Marín (center), and author Maria de Lourdes Victoria (right), at “Creativity Everyday / Creatividad Cotidiana,” March 30, 2023. (Photo: Lisa Sairy of The Seattle Public Library)

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