Central to the values of Northwest Folklife is for communities to have voice and agency in the representation of their cultural expressions. More than 150+ Community Coordinators, including prominent artists, educators, culture bearers, and leaders throughout the region work closely with Northwest Folklife throughout the year to collaborate and co-create programs including the Northwest Folklife Festival as well as the annual Cultural Focus and Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program. These relationships are an integral part of our mission and vision. “As the lifeblood of all Northwest Folklife programs, our relationships with Community Coordinators, are the heart and soul of the organization,” says Northwest Folklife Executive Artistic Director, Kelli Faryar.
“Being a Community Coordinator for Northwest Folklife means a lot to me because it gives me an opportunity to make a connection between regional Mexican folk groups and Folklife. It gives every artist involved the opportunity to meet each other and share a stage but most importantly, we get to build new relationships. I have been performing with Folklife with Bailadores de Bronce for about twenty-two years and, as a performer, it is something we always look forward to. Now, I have been able to share experiences and introduce new organizations to the Folklife family.”- from Community Coordinator, Adrian Olivas – Mexican Folklórico Community, Executive Director of Bailadores de Bronce, Alum Cultural Focus Member of Echoes of Aztlan and Beyond.
Northwest Folklife is curated in collaboration with Community Coordinators. Thank you to these amazing leaders!
206 Zulu: Hip Hop and Youth Arts
206 Zulu is a Seattle-based community organization, established in 2004, that uses Hip Hop culture and the arts as platforms for community service, education and empowerment.
Over the years, 206 Zulu’s diverse membership expanded throughout the Pacific Northwest and a wide array of programs flourished to include free and all-ages events, concerts, festivals, parades, dance competitions, workshops, classes, conferences, multimedia programs, and more.
206 Zulu’s efforts in Hip Hop organizing and community service has been spotlighted in Seattle Times, Real Change News, City Arts Magazine and recognized with awards by the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to name a few. 206 Zulu’s model of organizing helped inspire similar organizations around the United States and the world.
Adrian Olivas: Mexican, Mexican American
Adrian Olivas has been a dancer at Bailadores De Bronce since the summer of 1996. Since then he has performed with the group all over the Northwest. He has also been part of performances at folklorico and mariachi conferences such as the Mariachi Northwest Festival, the Tucson International Mariachi Festival and Danzantes Unidos and other important festivals such as Folklife. Mr. Olivas became the Director of Bailadores de Bronce on April of 2012 at their 40th anniversary at Meany Hall at the University of Washington. With support of the Board of Directors and the Dancers he has worked to educate the local community about Mexican dance and customs .
Afshin Sepehri: Iranian
Alicia Craven: Poetry
Alisa Lahti: Polish
I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington in a large Polish-American family and community where I was exposed to and immersed in various traditions. I have a great appreciation for keeping cultural traditions alive while also reinterpreting them with contemporary influences. Personally, this can be seen in my artwork using hand cut paper, in my workshops teaching folk arts to others, and as the Director of Polish Festival Seattle since 2015. I love Folklife have been going for as long as I can remember!