Announcing Northwest Folklife’s 2017 Cultural Focus: Festál Turns 20

Northwest Folklife is proud to announce the 2017 Cultural Focus: Festál Turns 20. The Cultural Focus is an annual, year-round exploration that culminates in special performances, panels, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations, and activities at each Northwest Folklife Festival. In 2017, Northwest Folklife will partner with Seattle Center Festál, a venerable series of 24 cultural festivals intended to highlight and bring together communities that contribute to the character of the Pacific Northwest.

For 46 years, Northwest Folklife has brought the diverse communities of our region together on the grounds of Seattle Center, the city’s central gathering space. Northwest Folklife shares these same grounds year-round with Festál, the Center’s presenting organization that works with 24 community organizations to bring festivals like Diwali, Tết Festival, CroatiaFest, Spirit of Indigenous People, and more to Seattle Center. The Northwest Folklife Festival is the longest-running of these Festál programs, and as series turns 20 in 2017, Northwest Folklife will take the year to focus on the ground-breaking, community-organizing work for which Seattle Center Festál is known.

At the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival (May 27-30) Festál organizations will be invited to curate 1-2 hour showcases presenting their cultural community, to join a three-hour Festál showcase in the Cornish Playhouse highlighting all the festivals, and take part in film presentations, panel discussions, workshops, participatory dances, food demonstrations, hands-on family activities, and more. Throughout the year, including the Seattle Children’s Festival (October 8, 2017), Northwest Folklife will engage with Festál communities to curate and plan year-round arts, culture, and folklife programming. Northwest Folklife will also serve as a resource and support to each Festál community, conducting meetings, groups trainings, and promotions for each organization.

 

“Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center Festál share a like mission to raise awareness of cultural heritage and engage folks in opportunities to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest,” says Kelli Faryar, Northwest Folklife’s Program Director. “Our upcoming Cultural Focus: Festál Turns 20 will multiply the capacity of all 23 groups to engage folks throughout the region, establishing a foundation for broader and deeper participation among Northwest Folklife, Festál, audiences and cultural communities.”

“When Northwest Folklife told me that Festál would be the Cultural Focus for 2017,” says Steve Sneed, Managing Artistic Director at Seattle Center, “I was so excited because I knew what this meant, having participated in Northwest Folklife’s Hip Hop Cultural Focus a few years ago. Northwest Folklife fits into the Festál mosaic as a curator of folk music from all over the world, and their support and connection helps to strengthen our Festál events.”

In recognition of Northwest Folklife’s work with Northwest communities, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the organization a grant of $25,000 in 2017 for the Cultural Focus: Festál Turns 20. These funds will directly support the year-round efforts of staff as they engage with each of the 23 communities. A portion of this funding will also support the programming at the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival.

Community Coordinator Spotlight: Bernice Maslan

Community Coordinators are an integral part of the Northwest Folklife’s mission and vision to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Their talent, time and expertise as a Community Coordinator create opportunities for folks of the Pacific Northwest to participate in arts experiences and learn about the living traditions that occur daily in our big neighborhood.

Today, we introduce you to performer, musician, Friend of Folklife, and former board member Bernice Maslan. In addition to coordinating the Big Jewish Show at the Northwest Folklife festival, you can find Bernice playing clarinet with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band or hosting one of the many Klezmer bands she organizes throughout the city.

What cultural traditions do you or your group share with the greater community?  

We present various flavors of Jewish music, including klezmer, vocal, occasionally singer-songwriters, Israeli, comedy.  We have a strong emphasis on Klezmer music.

What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife and how long have you been involved? What impact has the organization made on your community?  

My co-coordinator Harvey Niebulski and I have been connected to NWFL for a long time.  Personally, I served on the board for about 10 years and Harvey is still on the board.  I’ve attended since 1973.  The Big Jewish Show has been a part of almost all the Folklife festivals since at least 2001.  I’m not sure how long before that.  I know many people look forward to the Big Jewish Show and our music.

How do you interact with Northwest Folklife outside of the Northwest Folklife Festival?  

My son is president of the board.  I participate in fundraisers from the contradance and folkdance communities, as well as making many many latkes for a Hanukah fundraiser for Folklife hosted by JoAnne Rudo.

Please share a performance memory connected to Northwest Folklife that had an impact on you?  

Certainly performing as part of the Big Jewish Show has always been a thrill, whether part of the Klezmer Balabustas, Klez Chaos, or the KlezKidz.  I remember sitting in the audience of Big Jewish Shows and being knocked out by the clarinet artistry of Liz Dreisbach and Carl Shutoff.  Now I am delighted to know many of the musicians personally.

What specific community in the Northwest do you hail from?

I live in the Greenwood district.

Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?  

The Big Jewish Show! and any ancillary klezmer showcases

Perform at the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival!

Grace Love and the True Loves. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Grace Love and the True Loves. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Thank you for your interest in performing at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival. Applications closed on December 15th. There are many ways to participate in the festival – please visit our Get Involved page to be a part of the one of the largest community arts festivals in the nation.

Bringing your instrument to the festival? Great! There’s plenty of jamming around Seattle Center grounds and areas available for street performing. For more information about Street Performing, click here.

 

For Applicants – Additional Application Documents if needed: Please click on the following to download. Questions? Email programming@nwfolklife.org or call 206.684.4189

Stage Diagram – word document

Stage Diagram – pdf

Input List – word document

Input List – pdf

The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is Northwest Folklife’s signature event, gathering up to 250,000 people from across the region to participate in the four days of artistic and cultural illumination. The Festival is presented each year by Northwest Folklife, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to appreciate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Last year Northwest Folklife programmed over 5,000 performers in 65 different genres of music and dance, from Hawaiian hula to hip-hop and Ireland to India. Northwest Folklife believes everyone is a bearer of folk arts, and we encourage communities to share their cultural traditions, in the hope that interaction with new audiences will enrich the community as much as the audience.

Arpan Arts

Your Gift Amplifies the Voices of our Cultural Communities

Joe Seamons and Ben Hunter

Pictured: Joe Seamons and Ben Hunter carry on the American songster tradition.

Your support allows Northwest Folklife to change lives. People and cultures come together to share of themselves and celebrate one another. Please consider making a year-end gift or a monthly sustaining gift today.

Your support powers all we do to amplify the many voices of our Pacific Northwest cultural communities. The voices of our community thank you. Here’s what they want you to know. Your gift does all this and more:

Traditions thrive.

‘We share cultural traditions of rural, northwestern Oregon, and we represent the current manifestation of the songster tradition as “Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons.” Northwest Folklife has created a forum, the Festival, where my community is encouraged to come together and share the work of our students and our teachers, and that means a lot to us.’ ~ Joe Seamons, Rhapsody Project

Cultural heritage is celebrated.

‘The Northwest Folklife Festival is an opportunity for us to conserve and present the richness of our diverse Mexican cultural heritage. It is not only entertaining and educational; it is also a place for community-building, where different cultures are shared and accepted through the medium of art. ~ Edgardo Garcia & Jacque Larrainzar, Directors, Day of the Dead Committee

Communities unite.

‘The Folklife Festival helped to bring together and unite the Hawaiian hula community, and today Hawaiian Hula is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest.’ ~ Gloria Napua Fujii Nahaueau, 40 years of teaching and performing with Halau Hula O Napualani

Art forms are shared and discovered.

‘Our efforts are an offering (Arpan) to the entire community right from the inner depths of a diverse cultural melting pot that is India. We are honored to share our art form with you!’ ~ Joyce Kakariyil Paul, Founder and Director of Arpan Arts

With your continued support, together we will build our community, share your traditions and evolve new expressions. Make a year-end gift or a monthly sustaining gift here.

Sincerely,

Rafael Maslan                                                                Sheila Siden
President, Board of Directors                                     Development Director

P.S. Please remember to check with your employer for any matching gift policies! Make your gift multiply! Questions? Contact Sheila Siden at 206/233-3953 or sheila @ nwfolklife.org

Your Support Creates Opportunities

Become a Friend of Folklife

Welcome, Shaun Mejia, Folklife’s Communications Coordinator

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We’re thrilled to welcome Shaun Mejia as the new Communications Coordinator at Northwest Folklife! Sean will bring his extensive experience working with the local arts community to the team, as he’ll be helping to tell stories of the arts and traditions that make up the cultural fabric of the Pacific Northwest.

A longtime Seattleite, Shaun graduated from Seattle Pacific University and has worked with a myriad of local nonprofit arts organizations such as the Vera Project, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, and most recently the Wing Luke Museum. A lover of museums, live music, and film, Shaun is eager to help spread the unique stories of Northwest Folklife!

Community Coordinator Spotlight: Wes Weddell

Community Coordinators are an integral part of the Northwest Folklife’s mission and vision to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Their talent, time and expertise as a Community Coordinator create opportunities for folks of the Pacific Northwest to participate in arts experiences and learn about the living traditions that occur daily in our big neighborhood.

Today, we introduce you to performer, writer and teacher Wes Weddell. Whether it’s supporting folk duo Reilly & Maloney, collaborating with The Bushwick Book Club – Seattle, or gathering together the vast community of Singer Songwriters of the Northwest – you can find Wes leading the Emerald City Songwriters Circles at the Northwest Folklife Festival since 2009.

What cultural traditions do you or your group share with the greater community?

 The craft (and performance) of songwriting and original music

What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife and how long have you been involved? What impact has the organization made on your community?

Singer/Songwriters have been part of Northwest Folklife from the very beginning, and we’re glad to remain a part of festival programming.  I have been Community Coordinator since the 2009 festival.  As we’ve developed the Emerald City Songwriter Circles at the festival, unamplified gatherings where anyone can come share an original song, it’s been fun to watch the culture of listening grow alongside the well-established Folklife culture of jamming.

How do you interact with Northwest Folklife outside of the Northwest Folklife Festival?

A lot of year-round preparation goes into planning the circles, recruiting new hosts, and growing/fostering appreciation for original music.

Please share a performance memory connected to Northwest Folklife that had an impact on you?

We’ve had many lovely moments in the Emerald City Songwriter Circles over the years.  From young children sharing their own original songs to off-the-wall, laugh-out-loud masterpieces from newcomers and established pros alike.  This past festival one songwriter shared how much the circles had meant to him during his recovery from serious health challenges – hard to find a more touching endorsement than that.

How can Northwest Folklife and its fans connect with you through social media?

Google your favorite local singer/songwriter and follow him/her!

What specific community in the Northwest do you hail from, how about your group? (If you are from Seattle, please give us the specific neighborhood – ex. Queen Anne or Ballard or West Seattle, etc.)

 I live in NE Seattle.  Our revolving-door cast of hosts hail from all over town and the region.

 Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?

 I was part of programming-proper back in 2004…but wearing the Community Coordinator hat: Emerald City Songwriter Circles, 2009-present.

Connect with Wes here.

Thanks for a great Seattle Children’s Festival!


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At the Seattle Children’s Festival, families not only watch and listen but Play, Dance, Sing, Learn, Taste and Participate!

oolleemmdrum1  Thank you for another fantastic Seattle Children’s Festival! It was a great day of music, dance, art and exploration at the Seattle Center. More than 3,000 of our neighbors helped us to celebrate our BIG neighborhood along with 154 artists with 32 performances across 6 different venues. Families were able to experience all kinds of Folklife, from traditional Chinese dance to beat boxing. And so much more!

Take any good pics at the festival? We want to see them! Post your favorites on Instagram or facebook #folklifekids. We’ll have ours up soon!

We hope to see you all back for the 4th annual Seattle Children’s Festival next year! Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 8, 2017

 

 

A Letter from Rob Townsend

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.04.13 PMDear Friends,

 

I write this as I am about to step away from the leadership position here at Northwest Folklife. I’m passing the torch to Mark Crawford, a talented, seasoned nonprofit leader who will serve as the Interim Executive Director and will ably shepherd the organization into its next chapter. The coming 2016-17 year is truly Folklife’s bridge to the future!

 

It has been my privilege to be at the helm since 2008. We’ve all enjoyed nine Folklife Festivals in that time, but we’ve also seen the birth of our Seattle Children’s Festival, soon to enjoy its third edition. We’ve seen the resilience and strength of the organization through our country’s trying financial period, and now look forward to a brilliant future together.

 

I have seen the strength of Northwest Folklife from my privileged position: that strength is you! Our organization is a prime example of community power in action. It will continue to flourish and grow only with your continuing help in all ways – through programming, community awareness, volunteerism and with your financial support. I hope as we all look forward to Folklife’s 50th year in the not-so-distant future, we will see Folklife maintain its position as a cultural beacon for all in our region.
Thank you all, so very much, for your wisdom, your support, and your participation in all that makes Northwest Folklife so unique and special.

 

Warm regards,

 
Rob Townsend

 

Tips for Exploring the Seattle Children’s Festival

CC0A7188Northwest Folklife’s Seattle Children’s Festival is just around the corner. This one-day, multi-cultural, inter-generational festival that “Celebrates Our Big Neighborhood” takes place on October 9th. Fun for all ages, bring your family and friends down to the Seattle Center for a day of singing, dancing creating, learning, and more!

Here’s how to be a smart traveler through the Festival while exploring a world of cultures:

  1. When you arrive at Seattle Center, stop by a Donation & Information Booth and pick up an Event Passport. Use this as a guide as you choose your adventure throughout the Festival.
  2. Browse through your Passport and find out what workshops, performances and crafts await you in the schedules listed! There is a plethora of cultural performances to see — if your group is feeling energized, find the next Movement Series workshop or Dance Workshop to get movin’.
  3. Ready to get your hands dirty? Stop by on of the TWO Discovery Zones at the Festival, both featuring a variety of hands-on workshops and activities. Looking to learn how to eat healthy? Stop by the Armory balcony and see Chef T teach about using the fruits and vegetables from y our neighborhood.
  4. Before you leave, don’t forget to turn in your Passport About Me page at the Donation & Information Booth for the chance to win a prize!
  5. Your donation makes the Folklife magic happen. Please give today and add your color to the Giving Gateway! Suggested donation is $10 per person, $20 per family. Or visit give.nwfolklife.org

Folklife is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation.  Inspire a Child’s Cultural IQ: Give Kids the Gift of Community.  Thank you!  It’s because of you and our sponsors that we can keep this festival FREE!  Even more importantly, that we nurture the artists, doers, and organizers of our community so we can come together and celebrate each other.  So, thank you!  You are very much a part of this!

 

Community Coordinator Spotlight: Katrina Ji

What does it mean to be a Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator? Great question! This is a group of dedicated individuals from all walks of Northwest life. These people give of their time and resource to bring their own cultural traditions to the greater community through Northwest Folklife.

Katrina JiToday, we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Ji, the Artistic Director, Choreographer, and lead dancer of Culture Shakti, a dance studio that bridges the gap between east and west, providing dances classes for Belly Dance, Bollywood, Bhangra, Rajasthani, Garba, and more. Katrina is the Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator for the Bollywood Showcase at the Northwest Folklife Festival.

 

What cultural traditions do you share with the greater community?

The Bollywood Showcase highlights a variety of high octane Bollywood dances from India including Bhangra, Garba, Tollywood and more.

Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?

Not only have I been contributing to the Bollywood Showcase each year, I initiated the Bollywood Showcase. In addition, I also program a Bollywood Dance Party with DJ Kazan and other local DJ’s along with a dance lesson by myself. Plus this past year, I programmed a Bollywood Kids Showcase on the new outdoor stage.

What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife?

I am thrilled to be an advocate for promoting Bollywood and Folk Dances of India at the Northwest Folklife Festival. I have been the community organizer for five years now. Being part of the Festival has helped our company gain visibility for larger opportunities including the Democrats of Washington Holiday Party and the F.U.S.I.O.N. Gala Auction Fundraiser.

katrina-ji-image-2

Can you recall a performance memory that had an impact on you?

One of my fondest memories at the Northwest Folklife Festival was seeing a group of young girls that I had been teaching through Aki Kurose. (Group Healths’s Teen Youth Mentorship Program) on the stage. They were so proud. I am so happy they were provided the opportunity to participate as a school field trip. They were so excited for the opportunity to dress up in the costumes that I provided them on the Armory Stage. 

 

Find Katrina Ji on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or online at CultureShakti.com. 

 

 

Explore Fine Artisan Chinese Teas, Friends of Folklife

If you were to time travel to China any time after 10BC, you are likely to find tea. Tour the world by any means these days, and you are likely to find tea.  Statistics say that fifty-one per cent of Americans drink tea every single day.  Tea is enjoyed in a countless variety of settings: as a personal moment, as an afternoon ritual with cakes, as a choreographed tradition such as the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and as a special tea tasting for Friends of Folklife at the Northwest Tea Festival!  Please RSVP to attend.

Tea is folklife, folks!

The Northwest Tea Festival has extended a special invitation to Friends of Folklife to enjoy a private tea tasting presented by Catherine & Ned Heagerty of Silk Road Teas. As tea purveyors, Catherine and Ned are well known for their tea discoveries, relationships with artisan growers, and their excellent quality tea finds. So, this will be a big treat!

teafestivalSession Description:
During this session Catherine & Ned will talk about their quest to find rare Chinese teas and make them available in the United States. Attendees will learn about this process and will have the opportunity to sample a selection of these teas, expertly brewed for their enjoyment. There will be ample time for questions and Catherine & Ned will be happy to share some of their vast knowledge about tea.

About Silk Road Teas:
Silk Road Teas is known as a purveyor of rare and artisan teas from China.  Each spring, they travel in the tea-rich southeastern provinces to source their teas.  Visiting tea markets, small farms, specialty tea companies and tea brokers, they find the finest varieties of white, green, oolong, black and Pu-erh tea.

Silk Road Teas are grown and processed by true artisans of the leaf.  They purchase most of their teas in picking-teasmall lots that are single origin and often handmade.  It is their belief the best tea is harvested early in the spring, when the days are warming and the nights cool. In that brief harvest window, known as “before the rain” teas, the fresh and tender leaves offer nuanced flavors and tastes.  These teas are limited in supply and are recognized as some of the finest teas in the world.  Once plucked and processed, many of their teas are not blended and they preserve these unique small lots for their customers’ enjoyment.

Time: October 2nd at 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Title: Fine Artisan Chinese Teas
Session Leaders: Catherine & Ned Heagerty of Silk Road Teas
Admission to the Northwest Tea Festival is $10, and there is no additional charge to Friends of Folklife for this special invitational tasting. RSVP by the end of day Sept 26th.

Become a Friend of Folklife

Warm Welcome To Mark Crawford

Northwest Folklife’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Mark Crawford to serve as Interim Executive Director upon the upcoming retirement of current Executive Director, Rob Townsend. Crawford and Townsend will work for two weeks together in transition before Crawford assumes the role on October 1.

Crawford brings to Northwest Folklife over 25 years of nonprofit executive leadership experience in the region in both long term and interim roles. He has served as Interim executive with Bellevue Arts Museum, The Arc of King County, Foundation for Early Learning and others.

“Northwest Folklife is fortunate to secure Mark’s services to lead the organization through this leadership succession. His experience will help assure leadership continuity and a solid future for Folklife,” says Rafael Maslan, Northwest Folklife’s board president. Crawford’s charge will be to maintain current operations and funding, conduct a thorough organizational review, and support the search process for a new permanent executive director.

Crawford’s leadership features strategic development initiatives and his ability to create and execute the operational business plans necessary to realize those strategic visions. Says Crawford, “I am very pleased and excited to have been offered this opportunity to work with such a wonderful organization, staff, Board and the many, many volunteers and community representatives.”

Crawford is associated with Third Sector Company, a firm dedicated to the continuity of nonprofit leadership. Third Sector will provide resources that will further assure a positive succession process.

Townsend will leave his role on September 30 after almost nine years, but will volunteer for Folklife’s third annual Seattle Children’s Festival on October 9.