by Chamidae Ford
4Culture recently announced Nina Yarbrough will be their next arts program director. Yarbrough will begin her new role this September after she finishes her duties as the business development manager for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas.
According to a press release from 4Culture, the position is a senior leadership role that “oversee[s] the development, implementation, and evaluation of our arts funding programs and serves as a liaison to the King County arts community.”
Continue reading Nina Yarbrough Will Be 4Culture’s New Arts Program Director
by Kamna Shastri
There is a Coast Salish story about a number of neighboring villages, each speaking a different language but sharing the same land. While they did not understand one another, they had a shared challenge: When the Creator had made the world, he had left the sky a little too low. The village communities realized that though they spoke different languages, they had a shared word that could help them change the situation.
yəhaw̓ — a Lushootseed word meaning “to proceed” or “move forward.” Together they called out synchronously. Each time the word escaped their lips, a collective sound powerful and potent, the sky moved up just a little more.
This is the story behind yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective, a newly birthed nonprofit which became a larger movement after beginning as a one-time art show at King Street Station in 2019.
“We felt like that was a really beautiful story in terms of art and the power of art and culture to unite communities and become a source of shared empowerment,” said Asia Tail, one of the collective’s three founders.
Continue reading yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective is Here to Lift the Sky and Make a Space for Indigenous Art
by Kathya Alexander
When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Tyrone Brown was in Lesotho, an independent country of 2 million people completely surrounded by South Africa. As a volunteer for the Peace Corps, he was teaching English, life skills, and HIV/AIDS prevention to Lesotho elementary school students. But the Peace Corps decided to withdraw all their volunteers worldwide and send them home.
Born and raised in Seattle, Tyrone Brown, the founder and artistic director of Brownbox Theatre, credits his mother for introducing him to the arts when he was very young. Brown feels Seattle gave him more freedom and exposure to the arts that he wouldn’t have received, especially as a young Black male, had he grown up somewhere else. Still, being involved in the arts in a single-parent family had its challenges.
“I remember I was in the Northwest Boys Choir for a short period of time. I don’t remember a lot about the experience except for one thing. We had a big concert that was happening in downtown Seattle. And my mom couldn’t get me there. She said, ‘I don’t have money for bus fare. So you’re going to have to call somebody.’ It was a predominately white institution, a group of white boys basically. And I didn’t know those kids, who came from two-parent homes and had money. I was just so embarrassed.”
Continue reading Tyrone Brown: Where Art and Activism Meet
by Mark Van Streefkerk
At the end of March, 4Culture announced this year’s Arc Artist Fellows: six BIPOC artists and activists all between the ages of 18 and 25. The annual Arc Artist Fellowship supports each artist with an unrestricted $12,000 grant. The fellows will receive marketing support through 4Culture’s website and social media platforms and come together later in the year as a cohort to publicly present and celebrate their work. This year’s Arc Artist Fellows are multimedia artist Diego Binuya, dancer, artist, and maker Mikhail Calliste, storyteller and visual artist Monyee Chau, visual artist Joyee Runninghawk, storyteller, director, and aural producer Kayla Stokes, and visual artist and clothing designer Saiyana Suzumura.
Now in its fourth year, the Arc Artist Fellowship is unique in that it is intended to be flexible to the needs and feedback of the fellows, who also get to determine the eligibility requirements for next year’s cohort, thus creating the “arc” of the program. The 2020 fellows were five artists over 40 who identify as transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming. When it came time for their input on the next cohort, they wanted to shift the focus to youth artists and activists.
Continue reading 4Culture 2021 Arc Artist Fellowship Recognizes Six BIPOC Youth Artists and Activists
by Mark Van Streefkerk
It’s been almost three months since Moses Sun finished his mural “Flourish Together” on the south-facing exterior wall of The Columbia City Theater. The ground-to-roof-sized mural is made up of floral designs in gold, green, and light blue, set against an indigo background, with two abstract hands clasped together in the middle. It wasn’t easy working on an outside mural during the rainy months. The process officially started on Dec. 16, with Sun and his team patiently on call, showing up to paint as the weather permitted. Finished in early January, “Flourish Together” pays homage to a space where cross-cultural connections thrive. Since then, Sun has been hard at work, completing another mural for Starbucks in January and sharing dynamic artworks fused with jazz and hip hop on Instagram, and he’ll be part of a Vivid Matter Collective show debuting this week at Vermillion Art Gallery & Bar. Though his next projects are under wraps, expect to see much more from Sun in the coming months.
Continue reading The Art of Moses Sun Reflects Seattle’s Diaspora, Cultures, and Jazz
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Xavier Raymond Kelley’s Instagram bio reads “Jumping and Art,” two concepts he says are more interrelated than you’d think. The 19-year-old sophomore competes on Seattle University’s (SU) track and field team in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, and High Jump events, and is also an artist rising to citywide recognition, poised for his first gallery debut “Going Thru thEMOTIONS” at Columbia City Gallery from March 21 to May 9.
An alumni of Franklin High School, Kelley’s athletic and artistic expressions only keep on growing. His first love was basketball, but Kelley picked up track his senior year where he excelled, eventually leading to a spot on SU’s team. Always an artist, Kelley explored drawing with markers and pastels long before moving to acrylic paint on canvas within the last year and a half. His latest work features Black athletes, basketball, ancient Egyptian imagery, and symbols that point to the complexities of racism.
“My background is definitely in athletics — that really informs my art and the concepts and motifs that show up in my art,” Kelley said. “Art and sports are very intersectional, and they’re both very acute forms of self-expression. Just like dance is a form of art, I believe sports is also a form of art and self-expression.”
Continue reading Xavier Raymond Kelley Debuts ‘Going Thru thEMOTIONS’ at Columbia City Gallery
by Beverly Aarons
“What happens if we regard each other as powerful beings?” That’s Natasha Marin’s essential question in “Black Imagination: Sites of Power,” a virtual exhibition/experience originally slated to open at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) pre-pandemic. “I’m thinking about individuals as power conduits,” Marin said during our telephone interview. But in mainstream society, Black existence is not contextualized within the framework of power — not in the media, not in the movies, books, or games. “How does that change?” Marin asked. “How can we hear each other?”
Continue reading Black Imagination: Sites of Power, a Conversation With Natasha Marin
by Betty Jean Williamson
Beacon Arts is the all-volunteer nonprofit arts council for Beacon Hill. We grew out of a small art-making studio called ROCKiT Space, founded in 2009 by Jessie and Marti McKenna, which was housed in the building that is now Tippe and Drague Alehouse. At that time, there were no galleries or venues for music on the Hill. ROCKiT Space partnered with Beacon Hill Music (Paul Ray and Betty Jean Wiliamson) to create Beacon Rocks, a monthly summer music and art event. ROCKiT Space grew into Beacon Arts after moving our office into the historic Garden House in 2011.
Our mission is to create opportunities for Beacon Hill artists and audiences by activating under-utilized spaces such as Roberto Maestas Festival Street, Jefferson Park, Garden House, and the warehouse on the corner of 15th Avenue South and Beacon Avenue that became Dozer’s Warehouse. For over ten years, Beacon Arts volunteers have created and run various projects and programs including concerts, art installations and markets, poetry readings, public mural painting, and documentary screenings.
Continue reading Beacon Arts Guild: Supporting Working and Emerging Southeast Seattle Artists
by Susan Fried
On the afternoon of Feb. 26, as unpredictable weather loomed overhead, the students in Franklin High School’s (FHS) Art of Resistance & Resilience Club hung their latest project outside, a group of handmade signs celebrating Black lives and social justice. They attached the project to the fence next to the school’s mural honoring the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panthers, which was vandalized late last year.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Franklin High School Club Responds to Vandalism With BLM Art
by Carolyn Bick
In this special photography series, Emerald writer and photographer Carolyn Bick shares some of the challenges of being a breaking news reporter and investigative journalist and how they find release, healing, and resilience in nature.
I am bad at being vulnerable.
I am equally bad at asking for help, asking to take a break, saying no — you know, those classic perfectionist traits. These traits are really good at getting a person through the sprint … but what about the marathon?
This year, Reader, I nearly burned out. I think it took longer than anyone who was concerned about me expected, but it was quite a shock for me to find myself crying on the floor of my closet and unable to figure out why. I’d been doing the requisite therapy sessions (that’s what you’re supposed to do in a pandemic, right?), signed up for a Calm membership, kept up with my regular morning exercise, and (grudgingly) agreed to take time off when my publisher and managing editor said I needed to.
Continue reading UNBOUND: Nature Heals