Unbroken Circle: Youth Residency Project

Tap your roots and become a culture bearer


Project Description

Northwest Folklife and The Rhapsody Project invite local young artists (target ages 12 – 18) to become culture bearers through a new residency. The program empowers students to transmit their personal, local and cultural history through their art. Facilitated by Seattle’s songster revivalists, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, students will study with a range of musicians, artists, and activists to develop a program of music and art that reflects the diversity and history of Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Unbroken Circle: Youth Residency Project will encourage students to learn from one another, family, and the broader community as they refine their craft and collaborate to share their artistry and stories. By opening access to all levels and backgrounds of young artists, the Residency expands upon 6 years of music training developed in Rhapsody’s partnership with Washington Middle School. Students will study roots music, dance, and visual art with a range of culture bearers, and learn to spread the power and vitality of cultural heritage in schools and community centers throughout the region, and establish spaces where people of all backgrounds are encouraged to share their cultures. 

Time Commitment and Residency Information

Students will meet every other Monday from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Hillman City Collaboratory starting November 19th. Each session will include group discussion lead by local cultural bearers and artists followed by studio time to devote to their individual artistic expressions. Supplies for art projects and snacks will be provided. A stipend for transportation is available.

The Residency will culminate with presentations at three-four events including one performance at the 48th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, May 24-27, 2019.

Join us for two Open House and Information sessions on Friday, October 26th and Monday, October 29th from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Hillman City Collaboratory.

Questions? Please contact Kelli at kelli@nwfolklife.org.

Join Unbroken Circle


Photos: Rhapsody Project presents: 7/8 Strings | Photo by Christopher Nelson


Meet Ben and Joe, Project Managers for Youth Residency Project: Unbroken Circle

Seattle songsters Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons give life to voices that have long been silenced in American culture. Their award-winning performances are highlighted by story-telling that, rather than bringing the past to life, vividly shows how the past still lives in the present.

Through their songs, audiences witness current issues crop up again and again in folk songs, dance tunes, acoustic blues, and prison ballads. Ben & Joe bounce from fiddle & banjo breakdowns to a cappella field hollers, early jazz to gospel songs featuring Piedmont guitar style and rattlin’ bones.

With the same versatility that won them the International Blues Challenge in 2016, and allowed them to record with National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins, the duo celebrates the ways Americans have triumphed over oppression through the vitality of their art. Audiences walk away from Ben & Joe’s concerts and workshops inspired to learn more of their own history and engage more deeply with their communities.