Northwest Folklife Northwest Folklife Festival


2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising

Northwest Folklife is excited to announce its 2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising.
Together, let’s amplify the voices of youth leaders, artists, musicians, and changemakers.

Northwest Folklife is excited to announce the 2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising, a year-long program featuring peer mentorship, youth residencies, a series of youth-organized performances and events, and opportunities for creative collaborations, which will be highlighted at the 48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival (May 24 – 27, 2019).  Youth Rising is a platform for the voices of youth leaders, artists, musicians, and changemakers.

As folk is “for the people, by the people,” this Cultural Focus program will be curated “for and by the youth.”

Over the past five years, Northwest Folklife has focused its work on building intentional cultural spaces for youth and families to share and celebrate the vitality of folk and evolving arts through programs, such as the Our Big Neighborhood program and our 2018 pilot program, the Próxima Generación: Youth Residency Project. In 2019, we will dedicate a whole year of programming to youth-focused and youth-led cultural activities under the umbrella of our 2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising. Serving as a mentorship program, this Cultural Focus will connect youth with culture bearers of all ages to collaborate and share ideas, thus building a stronger community. The passing down of traditions from culture bearers through intergenerational dialogue fosters growth and reach that is only possible when a community is able to nurture its roots.



Youth Residency Projects

A key component of the program is the expansion of our Youth Residency Projects into two cohorts: Próxima Generación and Unbroken Circle. Each residency will bring together 10 to 15 youth, ages 13-18, to collaborate on various forms of artistic expression and foster the growth of agents of change. Próxima Generación will extend throughout the 2018-2019 with a greater reach to include Latinx-identifying youth for the duration of the school year. The additional residency, Unbroken Circle, will partner with Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons of The Rhapsody Project to engage with students on traditional and evolving expressions through roots music.

48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival

The 2019 Northwest Folklife Festival (May 24 – 27, 2019) will include over 25 programs centering youth voices. The program will range from music, dance, spoken word, visual arts, films, cooking demonstrations, panel discussions, participatory dances, and workshops spanning 20 stages for an audience of over 250,000.

Our Big Neighborhood

In partnership with Seattle Center, Our Big Neighborhood’s year-round youth and family events will return for a second year. This program will span five events throughout the year including Movin’ Around the World: Winter (February 16 – 22, 2019), Movin’ Around the World: Spring (April 6 – 12, 2019), Global Playground (August 3, 10, and 17, 2019), Seattle Children’s Festival (September 21 – 22, 2019), and Our Big Neighborhood at Winterfest (November 29, 2019). Each Our Big Neighborhood event creates a space for multicultural and intergenerational learning and exchange.




Join the Cultural Focus Committee

Calling all YOUTH leaders, cultural advocates, musicians, and artists! Northwest Folklife is looking for young leaders (aged 13-18) who are interested in creating, developing and shaping the 2019 Northwest Folklife Cultural Focus year-round program: Youth Rising! Joining the Cultural Focus Committee will connect youth with culture bearers of all ages to collaborate and share ideas thus building a stronger community. This opportunity also connects youth with peers to build a collective team and a curated program for events such as the 48th annual Northwest Folklife Festival (May 24-27, 2019) while offering professional development and skills in event planning, community building, and promotion.

Beginning on November 14, youth and cultural leaders will meet throughout the year on every second Wednesday of the month from 5-7 PM. Our first meeting will take place at the at The Vera Project located in lower Queen Anne at the intersection of Republican & Warren St, click here for directions – locations will alternate to other arts organizations and community centers around the Seattle area. Snacks and transportation stipends will be provided.

For more information, contact Kelli Faryar at Northwest Folklife at or (206) 684-7014

Join a Youth Residency Project Cohort

All youth are invited to join our Youth Residency Project cohorts: Próxima Generación and Unbroken Circle Each cohort will work alongside community leaders, activists, artists, culture bearers, and musicians to express self-identity through a creative project.

Become an Intern

Are you interested in event management, programming, or volunteer coordination? Join the Northwest Folklife team as a valued intern!

Join Our Volunteer Team

Help us make the magic of Northwest Folklife happen—volunteer with us! Whether through taking photos at the Our Big Neighborhood events, joining our street team to distribute posters throughout the city or helping us welcome guests at the Northwest Folklife Festival, any and all of your volunteer efforts are welcome and valued! *Volunteer hours can also count for your school requirements.