Happy New Year from Northwest Folklife

Greetings Northwest Folklife Friends and Supporters!

We are so excited to embark upon 2018 with even more opportunities to integrate long-held traditions with innovative cultural programming! Not only will this be our 47th year producing the Northwest Folklife Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, but we will be expanding our youth and family programming in a partnership with the Seattle Center as part of the Our Big Neighborhood initiative which will include four year-round, participatory events, including the 5th annual Seattle Children’s Festival. In addition, after four years of planning with a community-led committee, our Cultural Focus: Echoes of Atzlan and Beyond, will amplify the voices of local Mexican-American and Chicana/o communities in the Northwest. We are honored to be a vehicle for culture-sharing, authentic stories, music making, discussion, and building bridges to greater insight into their cultural legacy and their vision for the future.

With the overwhelming support shown by all of you in 2017, together we launch forward to build a future for Northwest Folklife in new and dynamic ways – maintaining the core ideals that have been present since the founding that will lead us into our 50th anniversary. Our new, dual executive leadership structure with Managing Director, Reese Tanimura and Artistic Director, Kelli Faryar will reinforce our commitment to community engagement and artistic excellence and strengthen our efforts in administration, resource development and financial management. 2018 will also bring new challenges (and creative solutions!) as we will have to move from our home of many years at the Blue Spruce building. The upcoming renovation of Key Arena will bring lots of excitement to the Seattle Center campus and we will be sure to give updates on where the next stage of ‘cultural discovery’ will be helmed from.

The past year has made it undeniably evident to our Board and Staff that our mission – to create opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest – is not only an artistic endeavor, but one that has the power to shape, connect and transform our understanding of ourselves, our understanding of each other and the world around us. In this era of targeting and divisiveness, we hold fast to our core values: When people share aspects of their culture, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes and increase respect for one another. We truly believe the arts revitalize people and communities, and re-dedicate ourselves to the preservation of cultural heritage and its continued growth and development. We will continue to support everyone as a bearer of folk arts and continue to create opportunities to observe, participate and champion the arts. Last, but not least, we will continue to welcome, engage, collaborate with, be inspired by and hold space for the diverse communities that make up our Pacific Northwest.

Here’s to building a strong community of communities together in 2018!

Kelli & Reese