Northwest Folklife

Meet Our Community Coordinators

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.

Adrian Olivas | By Christopher Nelson

“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 OlivasMexican 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!

Wayne Palsson: Chantey Singers and Sea Song Fans

Wayne is the host of the monthly Chantey Sings at Northwest Seaport and leads the band Strikes A Bell who specialize in sea songs and chanteys. He coordinates maritime stage for the Pacific Northwest Folklife Festival and leads the annual chantey sing-alongs at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.

Learn more on his website here.

Wes Weddell: Singer/Songwriter

For the past twenty years, Wes Weddell has worked multiple shifts in the engine room of Seattle’s roots music scene as frontman, sideman, writer, teacher, and community-builder. “Always heartfelt and well-constructed” (Seattle Weekly), listeners have come to expect Weddell’s regionally-rooted songs to “speak for themselves” (No Depression). Along the way he has continued to teach a variety of instruments and styles across generations, helping hundreds find the joy of playing and singing with others.


Yasemin San

Yasemin San: Turkish Community

Organized cultural activities involving the Turkish community: formed the Anadolu Turkish Folk Dance Group in 1980; in 2001, co-founded Turkfest, a part of Festal, and organized it for ten years; coordinated the Turkish Showcase at Folklife since 2012.