Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Left to right, Top Row: Karen Shaw, Mike Richardson, Michelle Demers Shaevitz,  Don Morgan, Jabi Shriki
Bottom Row: Harvey Niebulski, Rafael Maslan, Selena Whitaker-Paquiet ,David Greenspan, Luther Black
Not shown: Ryan Davis, Kim Camara,  Karen White, Evan Woods,  Brian Robertson, Danielle Stephenson, Latha Sambamurti

Rafael Maslan, President
Licensed Massage Therapist

Luther Black, Past President
Marine Environmental Analyst

Evan Woods,Vice President
Labor Union Researcher/Organizer

Ryan Davis, Treasurer
Director of Business & Operations, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Musician/Songwriter

Michael Richardson, Secretary
Professor of Radiology, University of Washington

Kim Camara, Cultural Anthropologist/Ethnomusicologist, Arts/Cultural Project Developer/Grant Writer

Michelle Demers Shaevitz, Arts Manager and Festival Organizer

David Greenspan, Attorney at Law (Private Practice)

Don Morgan, Retired Hospitality Manager

Harvey Niebulski, M.D., Diagnostic Radiologist, Washington Permanente Medical Group

Brian Robertson, Historical consultant

Latha Sambamurti, Washington State Arts Commissioner, Artistic Director of Cultural Festivals, Community Leader, Performing Artist & Educator

Karen Shaw, Psychologist, Cultural Organization Leader

Jabi E. Shriki, Associate Professor of Radiology, University of Washington; Musician/Community Organizer

Danielle Stephenson

Selena Whitaker-Paquiet, Actor, Musician, Songwriter, Producer, Comic; Intellectual Property Paralegal

Northwest Folklife is an independent nonprofit which produces the annual Northwest Folklife Festival and other year-round programming in order to strengthen communities through arts and culture.



To contact staff, please use the links below, or email


Kelli Faryar
Executive Artistic Director
Northwest Folklife is truly powered by the people – built by and for the community to showcase who we are in the Northwest. When I’m not at Folklife, you can find me roller skating to Olivia Newton-John records, decoupaging and rockin’ out on the guitar.


Reese Tanimura
Managing Director
I am thrilled for the opportunity to champion spaces where our communities’ creatives, and most marginalized voices have a platform to remind us all of our deep cultural roots and of the brilliance that thriving diversity brings to our society.


Michael Chandler
Festival & Production Director
Folklife is one of the few all-ages, FREE events that people from all walks of life can enjoy; making that happen is a good thing. I also work at many other arts festivals and events in town. I am a photographer, a screen printer, and a professional enabler.


Christina Kourteva, CFRE
Development Director
Northwest Folklife combines my passion for music, performing arts, and social justice. I am delighted to be part of an iconic organization that creates a safe place for diverse community groups to celebrate their art, music, and cultures year-round. When I am not fundraising, you can find me watching documentary films, hiking the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and restoring an old Volkswagen Bus.


Vanessa BanksonVanessa
Performer Relations Coordinator
Everything is better in the Northwest! What makes Folklife incredibly awesome is how every year is packed with great new artist, stunning costumes, cool crafts and tasty food. I love working and living in a place where there is consistently something unique and exciting to discover! In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, hiking and lounging around the house with my husband and dogs.


Anna Buxton
Anna BuxtonPrograms Coordinator
I’m thrilled to be joining a team which celebrates the multicultural makeup of the Northwest through such a dynamic assortment of art forms. In my free time, I enjoy running with my dog and exploring neighborhoods and visiting art museums.


April Jingco
Communications Coordinator
My love for Northwest Folklife stems from its commitment to our community—from preserving the generations of art and music to welcoming new traditions and creating space for youth to explore and celebrate our diverse community. I’m so lucky to be a part of this. Apart from my work here, you can find me going to concerts and SIFF films and exploring all that this city has to offer!


Katie McColgan
Sponsor/Merchant CoordinatorKatie
Folklife is unlike any other festival I’ve come across in that it is accessible to all and powered by the community. I feel very privileged and fortunate to be a part of this year’s celebration. In my free time I enjoy rock climbing, baking and exploring new places.


Annie O’Dowd
Operations Manager, Production Manager & Technical Director
I relish the “choose your own adventure” aspect of Folklife. When I am not logisticizing for Folklife, you can find me organizing several other festivals around Seattle and drinking tea!


Christina Halverson 
I am always so excited for spring to come because that means another season at Folklife and an opportunity to celebrate the arts and build communities in the PNW!  Born and raised in Seattle but these days I spend most of the year traveling and working music and film festivals around the country. In my free time, I’m usually exploring the great outdoors, turning wood on my lathe or thrifting for that perfect sweater.


JudyJudy Terreberry
Finance Director
I think the world is a better place because of organizations like Folklife! I spend my spare time playing violin with Philharmonia Northwest, working with Chamber Music Madness, and quilting. (I also try to find time to visit with Mr. Sevcik…)


Beth Schlanskybeth
Accounting Assistant
The Northwest Folklife Festival is my favorite event of the year. I love getting to see all my friends from various parts of the country and the world. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering for cat rescue organizations and being a season ticket holder for both the Seattle Opera and the Seattle Mariners.


Marla Roberts
Accounting Assistant
I love how this beautiful and happy festival celebrates creativity. NW Folklife truly brings our community together. When I’m not at Folklife, you might find me out dancing, or baking cookies, or binge-watching reruns of Mad Men.


Chloë A. Cudaback 
Youth and Family Programs Intern
I am an MPA Candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington and was born and raised in the Greater Seattle Area. I have always been fascinated with the history and culture of Seattle Center and cannot wait to be a part of the Folklife Festival. On the weekends, I love hanging out with my cat and trying new vegan restaurants.


Phil O’Sullivan


Devon Leger
PR and Media Relations