Northwest Folkife

Próxima Generación: Youth Residency Project

About Próxima Generación

Northwest Folklife invites local youth artists (target ages 13-18) to participate in an in-depth artist residency. This project is aimed at building an intentional experience for Latinx-identifying youth to envision a new future while amplifying and nurturing pride of heritage and community. Led by various culture bearers and established artists in the community, participants will be able to work on their craft while engaging with peers and working towards a collaborative vision and cumulative presentation.

Próxima Generación: Youth Residency Project provides a space for youth artists, activists, and culture bearers to collaborate, share ideas, and explore artistic expression. The residency will expand upon an initial 6-month pilot program Northwest Folklife launched as part of the 2018 Cultural Focus, Echoes of Aztlán and Beyond: Mexican American and Chicana/o Roots in the Northwest and will include existing students to step into mentorship roles in 2020-2021. In collaborating on a shared goal and direction for this project, participants will form a strong alliance and connection that allows space for self-expression and a powerful sharing of those expressions as one voice. The Residency will culminate with presentations for two, all-access, no admission necessary events via in-person (if applicable) or online, including the 50th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, May 28-31, 2021. Potential for additional culminating events may occur

Próxima Generación is supported in partnership with the ArtsWA.

Questions? Please contact Sophia at or Kelli at

Teaching Artists

Sophia Vazquez is a Mexican American undergrad student at the University of Washington in Seattle. She developed a passion for empowering youth, during Próxima Generación’s first pilot program in 2018, and this will be her third year. Her commitment to her community strengthened through her leadership roles in her high school's Latino Student Union, and work with students in dual language classrooms. She noticed firsthand how powerful pride in heritage (and the opportunity to express yourself) is to Latinx youth, and their confidence to pave their own path. Given this, Sophia is passionate about advocacy, and was also honored with the Roger Freeman Memorial Award by the Federal Way Diversity Commission in 2019. Apart from working with youth she loves film, music, and writing, and is currently majoring in Education, Communities, and Organizations. She is eager to learn new things, and is excited to see what this year will bring!

Diana Rodriguez discovered her passion for art when she was little and since then, she has been playing around with all types of art, focusing on photography and poetry. She became a student leader at Youth in Focus and spoke at their 25th Anniversary event to encourage people to support youth and their passion for photography. She represented Youth in Focus and worked with Northwest Folklife and other youth leaders from different organizations and created The Hydrant, a platform that promotes arts of all kinds and amplifies youth voices on a global and local scale. She became The Hydrant’s social media manager and organizer and learned the importance of communication, identity, and community. She was also nominated to 100 Local Changemakers in 2019. Diana is part of an academy for rising educators, pursuing her degree in education to become an English Language Learner teacher in order to help and provide resources to ensure students’ academic and life success.


The Residency will work with Seattle-based artist, Jake Prendez. Prendez was raised in Seattle but returned to California after receiving his Bachelor’s in American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington to work on his Master’s in Chicana/o Studies from CSU Northridge. His Master’s thesis was entitled The Art of Rebellion: Social Justice and Chicano Visual Arts. Jake is a strong advocate for youth empowerment and the power of positive reinforcement. Jake Prendez is also a renowned visual artist, displaying his work in numerous exhibitions around the country. He was selected in summer 2016 to participate in the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute. In 2017 he was named to the Northwest Folklife Cultural Focus Committee. He also won the "People Choice" award at the 2017 Fiestas Patrias Art Exhibition at the Seattle Center. His artwork mainly focuses on themes relating to Chicana/o culture, activism, social justice, as well as pop culture, and satire. His artistic style ranges from indigenous influence, social realism, portraiture, tattoo/rockabilly esthetics, to colorful urban style art.