Northwest Folklife is an independent arts organization that celebrates the multi-generational arts, cultures, and traditions of a global Pacific Northwest, 365 days of the year. Spark your curiosity by exposing your senses to new experiences and artistic delights that open you up to a new world of creative possibilities and cultural awareness.
Community Coordinators are an integral part of Northwest Folklife’s mission and vision to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Throughout the year, Northwest Folklife and Community Coordinators work in partnership to co-curate programs and collaborate to present the diversity of cultures and traditions of the region. As experts and representatives of their community, their input is an invaluable part of the planning process. More than 100 Community Coordinators work closely with staff to program more than 65% of the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle Children’s Festival. This is achieved through careful consideration of the unique needs of the community, artists, and audience, as well as reflecting on how to adequately grow and embrace the ever-changing cultural traditions and landscape of the region. These are ongoing conversations, and the ensuing relationships grow deeper year by year, requiring year-round programming staff to maintain, nurture and grow. Learn more.
NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL
The Northwest Folklife Festival is the place to learn, to dance, to play, to try something new, and to discover arts and cultures that inspire the celebration of one another. From yodeling to beatboxing, square dancing to Bollywood, – the Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates the global traditions of local, independent artists.
Presenting more than 5,000 performers, the Festival draws from the 100+ cultural communities that Northwest Folklife collaborates with year-round. The festival is more than a celebration of the diversity of the Pacific Northwest, it’s a chance to engage directly with the many communities that make up our region. The Northwest Folklife Festival is our key annual event bringing up to 250,000 people over four days to the Seattle Center. In keeping our commitment to remove any economic barriers and ensure that everyone can experience and share in cultural traditions, the 47th annual Northwest Folklife is presented without admission charge, creating the most inclusive, wide-reaching arts experience. Learn more.
OUR BIG NEIGHBORHOOD
Through intergenerational, multi-cultural exchange, we aim to promote greater social understanding.
Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center are proud to present Our Big Neighborhood, a youth and family program that provides opportunities to share and sustain the vitality of folk, ethnic and traditional arts for present and future generations. With events scheduled all year round, there’s always an opportunity to have fun and learn something new with family, friends, and all of us who make up Our Big Neighborhood! Learn more.
ANNUAL CULTURAL FOCUS
Every year, Northwest Folklife engages a Northwest community to showcase throughout the year. This ‘Cultural Focus’ allows Folklife to connect more in-depth with the people that we serve and empower their artistic expressions and cultural traditions.
Northwest Folklife’s 2018 Cultural Focus will explore and celebrate Mexican American and Chicana/o communities from around the Pacific Northwest through stories, art, film, music, song, cuisine, dance, language and culture. The goal of this program is to showcase, preserve and recognize traditional and popular arts and culture in Mexican American and Chicana/o communities in our region. This program will explore what it means to be Mexican and Chicana/o, from exploring the indigenous roots, to immigration, to the building of communities and to envisioning the future. Audiences will understand the history of the Mexican diaspora in a larger picture of history and development of the region and explore the vibrant art and culture celebrated in today’s communities. Today more than ever, it’s important to share how communities evolve with the ever-changing societal and cultural shifts we face as a region. Learn more.
YOUTH RESIDENCY PROJECTS
To best serve our youth, Northwest Folklife has implemented two youth residency projects: Próxima Generación and Unbroken Circle. Each residency brings together youth, ages 13-18, to collaborate on various forms of artistic expression and to foster their growth as agents of change. Próxima Generación provides a space for Latinx-identifying youth to collaborate, share ideas, and explore artistic expression. Youth will work with local culture bearers, artists, and activists to envision a new future while amplifying and nurturing pride of heritage and community. Próxima Generación will be facilitated by teaching artist, Jake Prendez. Unbroken Circle brings together youth to express themselves through their craft. Youth will collaborate with local artists, activists, and culture bearers to learn about the deep artistic history of Seattle’s beloved Rainier Valley. Unbroken Circle will be facilitated by Seattle’s songster revivalists, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamon.
Northwest Folklife partners with Crossroads Mall in Bellevue for a once-a-month, year round series of cultural performances and participatory workshops at the food court stage. These performances are free and family-friendly. Audiences at Crossroads Mall are all ages, abilities and ethnicities.