Northwest Folkife

Youth Empowerment through Arts and Heritage (Y.E.A.H.): Northwest Folklife Residency Programs for Young Artists

Northwest Folklife is proud to support the transmission of cultural arts, legacy, and heritage to the next generation by offering unique opportunities for young people to connect and engage through Próxima Generación, Unbroken Circle, and The Hydrant.

Próxima Generación

Próxima Generación provides a space for Latinx-identifying youth to collaborate, share ideas, and explore their artistic expressions. Youth collaborate and work with regional culture bearers, artists, and activists to envision a new future while amplifying and nurturing pride of heritage and community. It is facilitated by teaching artist, Jake Prendez and past participant/peer mentor, Aurelio Valdez and is hosted at the new Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery in White Center. The SW Family Services Center in Burien throughout the residency for collaborations and field trips.

The residency expands on 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 includes existing students stepping into mentorship roles in 2019-2020. In collaborating on a shared goal and direction for this project, participants form a strong alliance and connection that allows space for self-expression and a powerful sharing of those expressions as one voice. Próxima Generación will culminate with presentations for two, accessible-for-all, no-admission events.

Unbroken Circle

In partnership with Rhapsody, young musicians learn to become culture bearers through Unbroken Circle, a new residency hosted at Hillman City Collaboratory. The program empowers youth to transmit their personal, local, and cultural history through their art. Facilitated by Seattle’s songster revivalists, Joe Seamons & Tina Dietz, students study with a range of musicians, artists, and activists to develop a program of music and art that reflects the diversity and history of Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Unbroken Circle: Youth Residency Project will encourage students to learn from one another, family, and the broader community as they refine their craft and collaborate to share their artistry and stories. Students will delve into the heritage of their geographical community, roots music, and song while utilizing creative expression to explore their own identities. This program is designed for young musicians with basic musical knowledge who want to take a deeper dive into their creative forms. Unbroken Circle will culminate with presentations at three-four events.

The Hydrant

Conceived by young creatives, The Hydrant is a youth-lead creative think tank and platform amplifying the voices, stories, and impact of emerging leaders in the arts community. Acting as a hub, The Hydrant connects young creators to one another, to mentors, and new audiences. It provides, inspiration, opportunities, resources, and connections to local organizations active on issues most important to young people, their families, and communities. Ran by youth and for youth, the Hydrant embraces social justice, emergent strategy, and community servitude. The Hydrant debuted to a tremendous reception at the 2019 Folklife Festival with the Hydrant Lounge and MoPOP Youth Showcase featuring performances from up and coming talent.

In the summer of 2019, Northwest Folklife partnered with Seattle ACED to launch the inaugural Hydrant Summer Arts Organizing Fellowship which trained nine young arts leaders ranging from ages 14-21 on identity, Emergent Strategy, and the centrality of art and culture for self-determination and community empowerment. Fellowship participants authored a Youth Arts Organizing Manifesto, advised civic leaders on issues of equity and youth opportunity for creatives at Seattle’s City of Music Roundtable, curated a Youth Arts Mixer at Town Hall Seattle, and published the debut Hydrant Zine. The Hydrant continues to organize and partner with other youth and grassroots organizations, and is always in the process of cooking up something new and exciting - including designing new merchandise, curating a new art call for the next zine, and coordinating a youth showcase. Email us to get involved.


Kelli Faryar, Executive Artistic Director at Northwest Folklife

(206) 684-7014