Spokes Leadership Application Open!

Calling all Youth POETS, MUSICIANS & ARTISTS! We’re looking for fierce young artists (aged 14-19) who want to create change through community organizing, performance events and artistry! This is a 7-month commitment to being a leader and organizer for the Arts Corps Teen Leadership Program. Internship is from October 24th – May 1st. Leaders will […]

Calling all Youth POETS, MUSICIANS & ARTISTS! We’re looking for fierce young artists (aged 14-19) who want to create change through community organizing, performance events and artistry! This is a 7-month commitment to being a leader and organizer for the Arts Corps Teen Leadership Program. Internship is from October 24th – May 1st. Leaders will meet every Tuesday from 4-6pm at Youngstown in West Seattle.

WHAT YOU’LL GAIN:

$tipend: Leaders will receive a $40.00 monthly stipend!
Build a tight knit, loving community with 20 other youth artists and activists
Professional development and skills (promotion, event planning, public speaking & facilitation)
Artistry development in spoken word and music production
Learn about forms of oppression and how to fight against them using art and community
Good food and 60+ community service hours!

APPLY NOW: http://bit.ly/SPOKES2019

Applications Due: Friday, September 28, 2018

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We’re seeking a Video Animator!

Arts Corps seeks a video animator capable of producing an animated video incorporating information, infographics, animated characters, statistics, and narration to develop at least a 30 sec – 1 minute animated informational video about Arts Corps integrated arts programming. To apply, see the full summary of the opportunity here.

Arts Corps seeks a video animator capable of producing an animated video incorporating information, infographics, animated characters, statistics, and narration to develop at least a 30 sec – 1 minute animated informational video about Arts Corps integrated arts programming.

To apply, see the full summary of the opportunity here.

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The Artist as Prophet by Christa Mazzone Palmberg

When I arrived in Seattle fresh out of graduate school and started interviewing for nonprofit jobs, many people were confused. Why would a person with a Master of Divinity degree- who studied the Bible and theology and Hebrew- be interested in jobs related to social justice? How would my religious training in any way prepare […]

When I arrived in Seattle fresh out of graduate school and started interviewing for nonprofit jobs, many people were confused. Why would a person with a Master of Divinity degree- who studied the Bible and theology and Hebrew- be interested in jobs related to social justice? How would my religious training in any way prepare me for leadership in the nonprofit world? More specific to my interest in working at Arts Corps- what is the relationship between social justice, faith, and the arts?

In some ways, these are fair questions. Many Christians in this country have either completely separated their personal faith from public life, seeing no connection between the two, or their faith has been co-opted by the Religious Right; their identity as Christians has become more influenced by cultural conservatism than by theological beliefs. (For a poignant reflection on this new brand of “Fox Evangelicalism,” read this NYT opinion piece.)

But while I understand how someone might question the relationship between social justice, faith, and the arts, to me it is clear. The role of the artist and the role of the prophet is one and the same- a critic of injustice and a harbinger of hope. In his classic book, The Prophetic Imagination, biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann writes that the tactics of the prophet include both “criticizing” and “energizing”. The prophet is called to publicly critique societal structures that dehumanize while also providing an energizing message that envisions a new reality grounded in love and justice. According to Brueggemann, prophets help us make connections between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

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Arts Corps teaching artist, Kalei

Singer Nina Simone once said, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Art can penetrate our indifference and move us to empathy and action in a way that news articles and lectures simply can’t. Without literature, poetry and painting, how would we cultivate the imagination necessary to envision a better world? Without music and dance, where would we find the strength and joy to keep going when our souls get weary?

James Baldwin took it further and said that the role of the artist is to disturb the peace. This was definitely true of the biblical prophets. Jeremiah, a prophet in the Hebrew Bible, called out false prophets for claiming, “‘Peace, peace’, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah could not stand idly by while the religious leaders of his day condoned the injustices of his people and told them everything would be alright; that there would be no consequences for their behavior.   

Dancers from OTS Arts Manager, Cheryl Delostrinos' class
Dancers from OTS Arts Manager, Cheryl Delostrinos’ class

The prophetic role of the artist has never been so apparent to me as it was on a hot Saturday evening in July at Arts Corps’ community fundraiser, Art & Sol. Much of the art on display provided a fierce critique of some of the issues our nation faces- from our deepening epidemic of gun violence to the continual targeting of young black men by our police. At the same time, the beauty, joy, and hope elicited by the artists was truly inspiring (and brought tears to my eyes).

The program began with a powerful performance by young dancers under the direction of Arts Corps’ OST Arts Manager and co-founder of the AU Collective, Cheryl Delostrinos. The grace, strength, and flexibility of these beautiful young women awed all who were present. Dancing to a contemporary pop song, these young artists inspired audible oohs and aahs with the movement of their bodies.

Next up was Arts Corps alumna and outgoing board member, Carlynn Newhouse, who performed her poem, “The Sky is Falling.” Riffing off the folk character, Chicken Little, Carlynn gave a stinging critique of our nation’s historical and ongoing injustices, as well as a beautiful exhortation not to despair because, “What is the end of something if not the beginning?”

Midway through the program, master veteran teaching artist and Arts Corps’ Director of Creative Youth Development, Eduardo Mendonça, donned his guitar and contagious smile and provided us with a delightful reminder of our shared humanity and the universal language of music. His song, “O Pato”, (“Oh duck” in English), had audience members literally quacking in their seats.

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Director of Creative Youth Development, Eduardo Mendonça

Among the many other powerful works of art that left an impression on me that evening was a painting by Arts Corps teaching artist, Lester Pearson. Imbued with vivid color, the painting depicted two Black women radiating light and happiness. In a culture that too often dehumanizes women of color and portrays them only through caricatures and stereotypes, this piece conveyed their natural beauty and everyday joy; an honest and refreshing reflection of the world as it is.

The evening included too many notable works of art to describe them all in detail here, but I would be remiss not to mention the final performance of the evening by Kalei, an Arts Corps teaching artist who brings Hula Mai ‘Oe to Hazel Valley Elementary students. From the rapid movement of her hips to her gorgeous red attire to the interactive way she invited us into her culture, Kalei’s performance was stunning. It reminded me of the words of the late rabbi and civil rights activist, Abraham Heschel, who said, “Awareness of the Divine begins with wonder.” For Heschel, awe, wonder and radical amazement are the keys to authentic spirituality. All three were elicited in me last Saturday evening. I suspect all three were elicited in everyone who attended Art & Sol.

 

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Fire & ICE

I’ve been silent for the past several weeks. I haven’t written a story or posted a lesson plan, and I only made one or two comments on social media. To be 100, I’ve been struggling with some things. My father is sick and I need to head to Chicago to help care for him. I’ve […]

I’ve been silent for the past several weeks. I haven’t written a story or posted a lesson plan, and I only made one or two comments on social media. To be 100, I’ve been struggling with some things. My father is sick and I need to head to Chicago to help care for him. I’ve been here, in Seattle, but I’ve yet to find a community. My kids are in a school where they are the brown children. There’s a few students, but no teachers look like them. But, what is most alarming is:

Children are still being separated from their parents.

Children. 

Are being separated.

From their parents.

Several thousand families have been divided because of their origin of birth. They come to the US seeking a better life, and instead of that, children are being snatched from their loved ones because…

They don’t speak English?

They don’t have citizenship?

They aren’t safe in the country of their birth?

They aren’t white.

I’m also not white, yet I am an English speaking citizen. I am privileged. I am lucky. Yet I’ve been stuck wondering what can I do? Then I saw this on social media:

Shappi-Khorsandi
Screenshot reads: Shappi Khorsandi: If you’re a dancer, writer, comic, artist, singer… whatever creative thing you do… you can’t NOT do it. You will go mad. Imagine living in Iran where self-expression is banned. Unspeakable cruelty by a government who tries to crush culture. #FreeMaedeh

 

I remembered I am an artist.

And artists create. 

We make art because we must. It is our refuge from the evils of the world. When the Africans were enslaved, they still sang songs and danced. As did the people of the First Nations. The same can be said of Jews during the Holocaust. According to the NY Daily News, one survivor of the Holocaust, Edgar Krausa said this about singing with other inmates in Terezin, “Well, it kept our spirits lifted. We felt we wanted to go on. We were hungry, we were tired, we were sick. But we had something to live for.”

Art is rejuvenating. It is inspiring. I am reminded of something my Morehouse brother, and revolutionary journalist, Shaun King said about Kendrick Lamar’s album, DAMN: 

“During the most difficult and ugly periods of human history, artists have always helped us endure and overcome. I’m grateful that we have Kendrick during this time.”

I write all of this to say, it’s time for all of us to make art. As individuals, as a community, and as global citizens. Let’s turn this time of darkness and sadness into something positive. Make protest art. Sing songs of freedom. Dance unapologetically. Write until the pages bleed.

We can not stay silent. We can not be silenced. We will Rise.

I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite writers, and ask that we all try to be like those Roman candles.

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

-Jack Kerouac, On the Road

 


By James Miles, Executive Director of Arts Corps

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Art & Sol lineup announced!

From current students, to staff members, teaching artists, and alumni, we’re super excited about our Arts Corps community of artists that will be performing at Art & Sol!   Click here to get your tickets to Art & Sol now!   Cheryl Delostrinos featuring youth from Coyote Central What brings us joy? What makes us […]

From current students, to staff members, teaching artists, and alumni, we’re super excited about our Arts Corps community of artists that will be performing at Art & Sol!

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Click here to get your tickets to Art & Sol now!

 
Cheryl Delostrinos featuring youth from Coyote Central
Photo by Andrew Imanaka
Photo by Andrew Imanaka

What brings us joy? What makes us feel beautiful? What makes us feel powerful? How do we celebrate ourselves? How do we celebrate each other?

Cheryl Delostrinos (Arts Corps OST Arts Manager and teaching artist) is honored to work with a brilliant group of young femme artists of color exploring the radical act of being unapologetically joyous.

Carlynn Newhouse

carlynnnewhouseCarlynn Newhouse is an African American poet, activist, actress, emcee, and performer. She holds the record for the only 3 time Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam Champion (2015, 2017, 2018) and competed in the Brave New Voices poetry festival in years 2015-2018. Carlynn has performed at well known venues such as Seattle Town Hall, Bumbershoot, the Kennedy Center, and others. Carlynn’s work has been featured in Crosscut, the Seattle Review of Books, and XQ Super School Live. She writes about love, loss, community, race, the Black Lives Matter movement, faith, mental health, gender, and the life experiences that made her who she is today. She believes poetry is a form of activism and tool for raising awareness in hopes of making the world a safer space.

Michaelson

michaelsonMichaelson is a 2 year alumni of The Residency program. With years of foundation building, this summer marks the release schedule for Michaelson’s first studio project “This Is Why”, which is being engineered by Jake Crocker, and is set to start releasing singles here very soon.

Shelby Handler

shelby handlerAt age 15, Shelby Handler performed at a poetry slam for the first time and upon finishing their piece, immediately ran off the stage. Since then, Shelby has been running back and forth from the stage and supporting the next generation of poets to take the mic. As a writer and performer, Shelby explores ritual, queerness and an endless search for home. Their work has been featured in anthologies, public buses, literary journals and stages across the country. Shelby is honored to call Youth Speaks Seattle one of their forever poetry homes. They used to manage the Teen Leadership Program but henceforth, they shall assume the role of Awkward Fan Grrl at the slam series and if they’re lucky, a teaching artist for Arts Corps and YOUTH SPEAKS!

Amy Lp & Sabyu

Amy LpAmy is a multimedia artist, audio engineer, vocalist, and teaching artist who got started on her artistic journey through Arts Corps’ All Access program 10 years ago. She is currently Arts Corps’ Media & Communications Manager, with the honor of being able to take photos and produce videos capturing the unique stories of young artists and changemakers. She is constantly inspired by the young artists she gets to work with and has recently started writing some fresh songs after a long hiatus.

Sabyu (aka Matt Sablan) is a musician, producer, songwriter, and teacher from the island of Saipan. His music is rooted in the Pacific Islands and Pacific Northwest. Sabyu is currently a classroom assistant with Arts Corps and has worked alongside Totem Star since the beginning of 2017.

Eduardo Mendonça

eduardo_mendonca15-copyEduardo has been with Arts Corps since its inception as a veteran master teaching artist and the current Director of Creative Youth Development. A native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, he is a musician, composer, arranger, and musical director, exploring the many and varied genres of Brazilian popular music.

Kalei

kaleiKalei’okalani (Kalei) is of Kanaka Maoli, Japanese, Chinese, and Black heritage and was born and raised in Wai’anae, O’ahu. She is the founding leader of Huraiti Mana, a Seattle-based Polynesian Dance Troupe where classes are infused with laughter, shared stories, and passionate work. Kalei has been dancing Ori Tahiti since she was six years old, finding herself in the fast beats of the ote’a and aparima; and in the slow beats of the ahuroa. She considers herself ha’api’i, a word of the Tahitian language meaning both to teach and to learn. As Kalei continues teaching, she learns and gains tenfold, the knowledge of her huraiti, her cultures, and her self. Kalei aspires to continue teaching, studying, and sharing the love of her people through Ori. She is an Arts Corps teaching artist, bringing Hula Mai `Oe to Hazel Valley Elementary students.

 

Just added!

Ebo Barton

eboEbo Barton is a Transgender and Non Binary, Black and Filipino poet and artist. Originally from Los Angeles, California, but really, the San Fernando Valley but no one ever knows where that is.  As a representative of Seattle, they’ve been on 4 National Slam Teams and participated at 3 Individual World Poetry Slams.  Their most notable poetry slam accolade is placing 5th in the world in 2016.  Ebo wrote and directed the award-winning play, Rising Up.  They and their work have been featured in Seattle Weekly, Seattle Gay News, Button Poetry and some other places.  Their work touches on political issues from a personal point of view and often is birthed from the struggles of living in the identities that they are. Ebo believes in the power of language and art as a tool for revolution.

 

Visual Artists

Diana Laurel Caramat (Creative Schools Program Manager)

Diana Laurel Caramat (MFA), an interdisciplinary professional Artist, practices her ‘post-studio’ lifestyle and form through D/ND/N—which is a flexing moniker and equation to develop beyond the limits of binary processes. Their projects play in the creative space where art transforms social intentions and lived experiences. With life anchored at Apex Belltown Co-op, she regularly consults on arts and culture through artist mindset problem solving and skilled arts facilitation.

Julie Sanchez (Fund Development Committee member)

“Unbound” a 24″ x 18″ Encaustic on panel. This piece is was inspired by the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park.

Website: www.EliasShawnStudio.com 

IG: @eliasshawnstudio

Lester Pearson (Teaching Artist)

Born and raised in South Seattle, Lester graduated from Franklin High School and then received his BA in visual Arts at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He returned home to start honing a passion for helping and teaching young people who looked like him. Lester is now a Teaching Artist with Arts Corps at Southwest Interagency Academy; a Mentor for MBSK (My Brother/Sister Keeper) at Mercer Middle School; Freelance Artist (Graphic Design, Painting and Photography); Photography Apprentice with Flyright Productions; and Newly Hired Art and P. E. Teacher at St. Therese Catholic Academy. He is honored to be a part of the Arts Corps family! #makeArtanyway #eachONEteach1

Nate Herth (former Arts Corps Teaching Artist)

Nate Herth is an arts educator and visual artist who believes the process of art-making expands and informs our engagement with the world in critical, ever-changing, and ultimately positive modes. He facilitates playful, investigative, arts education in the Pacific Northwest and has worked with Arts Corps and the Creative Schools Initiative, the City of Seattle’s Creative Advantage, the Seattle Art Museum, Mo Pop, Gage Academy and the Seattle, Highline and Tacoma Public Schools. Nate takes inspiration from his surroundings: the volatile interaction of the built environment and the naturally occurring world is a collision of contrasting visual information that he reflects upon in his paintings, presentations, and collaborations with other artists.

Website: www.NateHerth.com

Mylen Huggins (Arts Corps Board member)

Hillary Moore (Grants Manager)

Greg Thornton (Teaching Artist)

 

Click here to get your tickets to Art & Sol now!

 

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PRIDE MONTH

It is Pride month and in Seattle, the weekend of celebration has come upon us.  Thousands of people arrived to different parts of Seattle to party, enjoy festivities and be proud.  And while I am a Transgender and Queer Person of Color, proud of who I am and have a desire to celebrate that, I […]

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It is Pride month and in Seattle, the weekend of celebration has come upon us.  Thousands of people arrived to different parts of Seattle to party, enjoy festivities and be proud.  And while I am a Transgender and Queer Person of Color, proud of who I am and have a desire to celebrate that, I am wondering if we could put this congregation of the masses to better use. 

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that a giant celebration of identities that our current “leadership” is trying to erase and/or keep oppressed is revolutionary and a form of resistance.  It is absolutely necessary for oppressed groups to celebrate in the face of adversity.

I also don’t believe that it is the sole responsibility of LGBTQ people to organize, interrupt and dismantle ICE or any other systems of oppression. 

But I also believe that the world is on fire. 

Our country is on fire. 

And we need to organize together.

And we have to do something.   But what is it that we do?

 

I am reminded of a Martin Niemöller poem: 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

I am a first generation American citizen I keep imagining what who I would be had I been separated from my mother at a young age.  Who I would be or where I would be? Where would my mother be?

My social media feeds, emails and news stories being filled with NO NEW YOUTH JAIL, the children in concentration camps in Texas and youth being targeted by police, I am drawn to ask a question:

Are we ever doing enough to keep young people safe?  What are we doing to preserve this generation?

And while the youth artists I know constantly remind me of what our world could be if they were the leaders, I can’t help but also wonder what world we are leaving them with?

I just wish that we could organize the amount of people that attended Pride weekend at an ICE office and shut it all down.

The question I’d like to propose is for the sake of future generations, how will we rise together for each other?

 

 

Ebo Barton is Arts Corps’ new Teen Leadership Manager, and is a Transgender and Non-Binary, Black and Filipino poet and artist.  They have aspired to be a Youth Speaks Seattle poet since 2007, but have always been too old.  So, instead, they decided to be part of the family, always hoping to support, empower and love the poets and poetry of Youth Speaks Seattle.  They compete in the adult poetry slam circuit; represented Seattle on 5 National Slam Teams and 3 Individual World Poetry Slams.  Their most notable poetry slam accolade is placing 5th in the World in 2016.  Their work touches on political issues from a personal point of view and often is birthed from the struggles of living in the identities that they are. Ebo believes in the power of language and art as a tool for revolution.

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