Northwest Folklife

Próxima Generación: Youth Residency Project

Land Acknowledgement:

We acknowledge that we stand on the lands of the Coast Salish Nations, specifically the traditional land of the Duwamish People, past and present, and honor with gratitude both the land itself and the Duwamish tribe of Seattle.


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 in 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 initially began as a 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 has since grown into a program led by youth, for our youth. 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 51st annual Northwest Folklife Festival, May 27-30, 2022. Potential for additional culminating events may occur.

Our Commitments:

Próxima Generación is designed to be a safe and welcoming environment for our Latinx youth to practice self discovery, and build community. Our lessons follow a community of learners model, in which all of us are capable of being students and teachers simultaneously. We believe that the best tools for success are confidence and trust in our own unique sets of learning, as well as the ability to practice empathy.

Mission Statement:

Próxima Generación focuses on understanding our roots as anchors of culture, and foundations for growth. We reflect on our past in order to break barriers, create space, and find opportunities to grow.

Location & COVID Care:

For the 2021-22 season our meetings will be hybrid, alternating in person and remote via zoom every week (tentatively). In-person sessions will be held at the Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery in Seattle. A multi-use cultural gallery by Jake Prendez to not only host art exhibitions but to serve as a center for marginalized communities to host events and workshops (Learn more Here). In light of the ongoing pandemic, we want to recognize that everyone has different levels of comfortability in attending the sessions, and this may change as the year continues. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the teaching artists via email with any concerns or questions.

Próxima Generación is supported in partnership with the ArtsWA, 4Culture, and Office of Arts & Culture. 

Questions? Please contact or Benjamin at

Teaching Artists

Hello! My name is Sophia Vazquez and this year will be my 5th year with Próxima Generación, and my 2nd year Co-teaching. I’m a 3rd year student at the University of Washington majoring in Education, Communities, and Organizations. Some of my interests include writing, music, storytelling, and advocacy work. I first started with Próxima as a Junior in highschool and have come back each year since, as both a student and mentor. What I love most about this program is the collaboration that comes from it. I learn from our students just as much as they may learn from us, and the guests that come to share their stories are incredible. This last year was definitely a transition, and I am so grateful to have worked with such an inspiring group of youth. Their dedication to art, advocacy, and reflection motivate me to be the best version of myself, and I can’t wait to see what this new year will bring! I aspire to not just be their teacher, but a source of support as we both learn to navigate the world and our ambitions.

Hello, I am Diana Rodriguez and this is my second year co-teaching at Próxima. I am currently attending North Seattle College pursuing my bachelors degree in education. I am looking forward to becoming the English Language Learner teacher I have always wanted to be in order to help and provide resources to ensure students’ academic and life success. Besides education and working with youth, I also love art. I mainly focus on photography, painting, and poetry. I believe that art and education are two things that should always be together, and that is why I love Próxima Generación so much. Being part of the program and working with the students have brought so much happiness, learning, and growth to my life. Seeing how much they grow and start to advocate for themselves and their interests always reassures the mission of why I want to become a teacher, and I am happy to be part of their journey.