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LiveXposure at Wa Na Wari: Creating Community in Seattle's Central District

This season co-hosts Vivian and Marcie have been exploring the connections between culture and community-building. We've visited four Seattle neighborhoods: Lower Queen Anne, South Park, Seattle's Downtown Waterfront, and the Central Area, our final destination.


We wrap up our season with this episode, recorded in front of a live audience at Wa Na Wari on December 14, 2022. Four collaborators opened this unique cultural project in 2019, in the historic family home of co-founder Inye Wokoma.




In this episode, Wokoma talks about the vision for this space, which means "Our Home" in the Kalabari language of Nigeria. Vivian and Marcie also talk with ARTE NOIR director Jazmyn Scott and Gallery Onyx curator and manager, Ashby Reed.


And we'll learn about Wa Na Wari's Black Spatial Histories Institute, an oral history project aimed at capturing the stories of Black people who live and work in the neighborhood.



From left to right: Ariel Paine, Kristin McCowan, Inye Wokoma, Marcie Sillman, Jill Freidberg, Vivian Phillips, Ashby Reed and Jazmyn Scott. Image credit Sunita Martini

 

ABOUT THIS EPISODE'S GUESTS


Inye Wokoma has been the Guardian of Estate for his grandmother, Goldyne Green, since 2016. He is instrumental in coordinating a site control vision between Wa Na Wari and the Green family. He is also the co-lead organizer in our work with Black homeowners. Inye's family has lived in the Central District since the 1940s. As a journalist, filmmaker, and visual artist, he explores themes of identity, community, history, land, politics, and power through the lens of personal and visual narratives. His work is informed by a deep social practice that prioritizes the utility of his art to the collective welfare of his community. Three of his most recent projects, A Central Vision, An Elegant Utility, and This Is Who We Are, represent prismatic explorations of the history, current experience, and future of Seattle’s African American Community. In addition to these projects, Inye has been working in collaboration with Seattle Public Library and colleague Jill Freidberg to create a catalog of oral histories of Seattleites reflecting on community history and current changes.

Inye completed a degree in journalism and filmmaking from Clark Atlanta University before establishing Ijo Arts Media Group in Seattle. His work as a photojournalist has appeared in USA Today, ColorsNW, Washington Law and Politics, and Chicago Wilderness, among others. In 2004 and 2006 respectively, he received two awards for editorial photography from the Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington Chapter, for coverage of the communities of color in the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.


Inye’s collaboration with journalist Silja Talvi on Washington State’s three strikes law won a 2004 National Council on Crime and Delinquency PASS Award for criminal justice reportage. These journalism awards were earned while shooting for ColorsNW Magazine under the editorial guidance of Naomi Ishisaka. His film Lost & (Puget) Sound, received a 2012 Telly Award and won Best Film for Youth at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival. In 2017, he participated in the visual arts group show Borderlands, which went on to receive an Americans for the Arts 2018 Public Art Network Year in Review Award, for its collective exploration of national identity, immigration, and belonging. Inye continues to serve his community from his home in Seattle’s Central District, where he currently serves as board president for LANGSTON. He was a founding board member and former board president for Got Green and also served on the board of Nature Consortium.


Visit Wa Na Wari's website


Jazmyn Scott is a lifelong supporter and advocate of the arts, Seattle Central District native, and Garfield High School alum, currently serving as the Executive Director of ARTE NOIR, Seattle’s newest independent arts organization located in the historic Central District; that exists to uplift Black artists, and former Director of Programs & Partnerships for LANGSTON; a hub for Black arts and culture. She is also the founder of The Town Entertainment, a company that presented, produced & promoted live music and unique events in Seattle, as well as the marketing & development of up-and-coming artists; primarily in the R&B/Soul and Hip-Hop genres; from 2009-2018.

In 2012, Jazmyn co-founded 50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide, a digital “time capsule” highlighting Seattle and Northwest Hip-Hop, and later partnered with the Black Heritage Society of WA to plan the Black History Month Celebration at the Museum of History & Industry in 2014. The success of that event led to the opportunity to curate a community exhibit on Seattle Hip-Hop. The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit had a highly successful 8-month run at MOHAI and won the 2016 American Association for State & Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History award. Recently, Jazmyn curated and co-produced 2(06) The Break, a seven-episode virtual series that took a uniquely local spin on the recently popularized DJ live-streaming sessions. Presented in partnership with LANGSTON and Wa Na Wari, the series paired PNW hip-hop DJ’s to collaboratively program and record a set composed exclusively of songs by local hip-hop artists. The DJ sets were presented in a live-stream program each week, hosted by two local hip-hop luminaries bringing their unique insight to the tracks and the local culture and music scene of the era represented in the episode.

Jazmyn can often be found hosting, emceeing, and moderating arts and culture-related events and programs, notably, interviewing Gabrielle Union during her Seattle stop on her Real Life Book Club Tour in 2017. She currently serves as board vice president for both Earshot Jazz and The Residency, as well as several community arts advisory boards.


Visit the ARTE NOIR website


Ashby Reed has spent the last 12 years volunteering as the Vice President and contributing artist with Onyx Fine Arts Collective. Since retiring in 2009 from the corporate arena, Ashby has taken to painting and selling his work through the Onyx galleries. As a graphic designer with an extensive background in design and marketing, he also does the same for Onyx as a web designer, advertising director, gallerist, curator, publisher, and all-around everything else needed to benefit the organization's brand.


Prior to joining Onyx in his retirement, Ashby was a Graphic Designer/Project Manager with an extensive history dating back 45 years in Graphic Design, Marketing, and Interior/Exterior Signage. His experiences range from publishing to Creative Art Director at a Black Advertising Agency, then as the owner/operator of a Sign company in the old Promenade and a Design Studio in Seattle. He served a 30-year career at The Boeing Company as a graphic designer and project manager for their Creative Services Division developing national collateral material and the design and implementation of their corporate interior/exterior branding consisting of their way-finding systems, exhibits, and environmental graphics. The experiences included responsibility for creative strategies through to project planning, facilitating teams of specialists on both sides of the table including scheduling, budgeting, and production of colleagues, vendors, and suppliers.


Ashby still takes on a multitude of design projects that he finds fun and helpful to Seattle’s Black community when the opportunity for a logo, a sign, or a graphic request comes to him. The old adage ”we don’t die, we multiply” keeps him active and engaged in his retirement.


Learn more about Onyx Fine Arts Collective via their website


Dr. Kristin McCowan is a professor of social work, community researcher, and facilitator. As a community-based researcher, Kristin works with local organizations on program design & evaluation, survey development & implementation, and community engagement strategies. She currently serves as Research and Survey Development Lead for the CACE 21 project. Dr. K also serves as Director of Research Partnerships at the Community Center for Education Results; where she works collaboratively with community organizations, local researchers, and public school districts throughout the region to address inequities in our schools.


Jill Freidberg helps with behind-the-scenes logistics at Wa Na Wari and co-directs the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute. Her work reflects her belief that responsible storytelling can build understanding and solidarity across borders and across the street. Freidberg is a documentary filmmaker, oral historian, radio producer, and youth media educator. She founded Shelf Life, a community story project using oral history, photography, public art, and podcasts to amplify community voices, learn from neighborhood stories, and interrupt narratives of erasure in Seattle’s Central District. Freidberg has produced and directed four award-winning feature-length documentaries, including the ground-breaking collaborative effort This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000), and countless documentary shorts. She also teaches media production at the University of Washington Bothell.


Ariel Paine is a father, music producer, and local hip-hop artist born and raised In the Central District. Ariel loves spending time with family, traveling, making music, and doing art or archiving projects. Also known as ampfire 206, Ariel uses music to paint pictures of his life growing up in the district.


 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:00):

Hey, I'm Vivian Phillips.


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:01):

And I'm Marcie Sillman. And, and this is Double


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:05):

Is DoubleXposure


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:06):

Exposure. <laugh>


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:15):

DoubleXposure is a podcast where we plumb the deepest depths and the tiniest cracks of our world to understand how culture and creativity shape our lives.


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:27):

Today, it's the final liveXposure from Seattle’s Central District.

Hello and welcome to liveXposure. It's part of the doubleXposure Podcast universe. I'm Marcie Sillman.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:51):

And I'm Vivian Phillips. And we're coming to you from Wa Na Wari in Seattle’s Central District, which is an absolutely perfect place for us to end our deep dive into the connection between culture and community building and four Seattle neighborhoods. We're home in the Central District.


MARCIE SILLMAN (01:13):

We've got a live audience. If you haven't figured that out, that's not just me and Vivian making that [clapping]. We started this season's journey at Seattle Center, which is on lower Queen Anne. We went to South Park. We learned about the history of Seattle's downtown Waterfront, and we are delighted to welcome our audience and those of you listening to the podcast, to Wa Na Wari, which is a home in every sense of the word, and the heart of the Central District. We're gonna hear a lot more about Wa Na Wari's unique mission to create space for Black ownership, possibility and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (01:50):

And also coming up this hour conversations with the Director of ARTE NOIR and Gallery Manager for Gallery Onyx. And we'll learn about Wa Na Wari's Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute. But first, we're going to start the show with one of Wa Na Wari's co-founders, artist, activist, friend, Inye Wokoma. Also with us, Well, she was going to be with us. I'll have to say that she's in the space, but she has absolutely no voice. But I wanna lift up the name of Kristin McCowen, who has been instrumental in the launch of Wa Na Wari's CACE 21 Project. Welcome, Inye.


INYE WOKOMA:

Thank you, thank you.


MARCIE SILLMAN (02:36):

Your legions of fans. And first, I just have to say, thank you for welcoming us to this space to do this recording. So no, thank you. It’s so appreciated. I know that those of you who are in the audience, and probably people listening might know something about us, but I know for a fact that my mother is listening in Detroit and she doesn't know what Wa Na Wari is. So can you tell us more about where we are, mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the mission of this place?


INYE WOKOMA (03:01):

Yeah. Okay. So since you know, we'll, we'll probably be talking to people around the world, I do wanna set the, set the scene and say that we are in the living room, uh, and the dining room of a, uh, turn of the century craftsman era, home in the heart of Seattle’s Central District. Um, hardwood floors, exposed hardwood, um, beams and, and molding all sort of pocked and dented with over with a lifetime of use. Um, and this is a home that was owned by my grandparents and was occupied for about a half a century, um, by my grandfather's sister, um, Birdie Wilson, and her children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Um, so that's where we are. And this is also, uh, the home of Wa Na Wari.


MARCIE SILLMAN (03:48):

Now, Wa Na Wari actually means “home” in the Kalabari language, and I've been thinking about it in preparing to talk to you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was a home of your family, but when we say home for Wa Na Wari and the mission, it's not this one place.


INYE WOKOMA (04:03):

Yes. Wa Na Wari literally means our home in, in the Kalabari language, um, which is the language of, uh, my father, um, who's from southern Nigeria. And so my father and I actually named the space together. Ah, right. And so we were, um, thinking about what would be, um, a way to sort of have this space carry or this project, you know, when we're starting it, how, how this project could really carry the essence of what it is that we were wanting to accomplish. Um, we started Wa Na Wari in the spring of 2019, and it was an art intervention for, uh, anti-displacement. At the time, uh, the home was owned by my grandmother who, um, had Alzheimer's. And so she was under 24-hour care, but her estate was, uh, in danger of being liquidated. And so we were looking for a way to prevent that.


INYE WOKOMA (04:55):

And, you know, after a long series of things that were done, one of the final things that we landed on, uh, was to convert this, this space into a community space. And thereby we were able to, to really, um, bring together the kind of resources that we needed, uh, to pay her, uh, the kind of rent that she needed to, to close the gap in, in her income. Right. Um, and there thereby, um, prevent the imminent sale of, uh, this home and the home that she was living in, um, which would've landed her in a nursing home. Right? Yeah. And so, you know, there were several things that were happening with that. Um, one was, you know, we were looking at two decades of, of displacement of the Black community in the Central District, um, that, you know, we were all looking for ways to, to push back against. Um, as a family, you know, we were really motivated to, um, make sure that our matriarch had, you know, the best, you know, care, you know, and was comfortable, you know, um, for the duration of her life.


INYE WOKOMA (05:54):

You know, there's a, there a lot of sort of very political and personal things That were intertwined in the creation of this space, you know? And so when I came together with Elisheba Johnson, Jill Freidberg, and Rachel Kessler, um, we had just come off of a project, um, that we'd been working on for the City of Seattle, which was a public art project that culminated in a mural down on 23rd Avenue in Massachusetts by artist Melvin Freeman, another, uh, Central District native, and, and fantastic artists. And so we used a lot of the principles that we, that we employed in, uh, galvanizing community input for that project and, and, you know, use it to, to imagine Wa Na Wari. And so we basically convert this house into a gallery, right? And so the, the space operates as, uh, an art gallery, a performance space, um, a community gathering space, um, a space for, uh, collecting and archiving community stories, and a space for community organizing.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (06:55):

You described it as a community art intervention. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the original mission seems to have continued to grow over time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how do you see all of these different programs really building community, and why is it important? I mean, like, we're here today on a, a food. What, what, what is it? Food sovereignty is one of the ways in which you describe making, making sure that mm-hmm. <affirmative> people have food to eat. And I actually pass someone on the street who is homeless and who had just come here and gotten a meal mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So how do you see all of these different things through art actually creating this community space?


INYE WOKOMA (07:34):

Yeah. Well, you know, when we think about, um, as artists and, and media makers, you know, we use different tools to explore ideas and to communicate things. But ultimately, you know, I would say that, you know, our goal is about building human connections. Right? You know, I don't know any artists that wants their art to sort of languish in isolation anywhere. They're interested in people being in dialogue with the art. They're interested in their art, you know, um, having some meaningful function in the world, you know? And so when we look at, you know, what's happening here at Wa Na Wari, we do the work through art, right? But, you know, we really are thinking about, uh, the holistic health of our community, right? And how do we, how do we facilitate that? And so, as an art intervention, our core is, you know, when you look at our, so you, you read our mission. Yeah. Right? Creating space for possibility, ownership and, and belonging, you know, and so we're, we're really thinking about what does that mean for the Black community in Seattle and in the CD? And, you know, how do we use art as a tool to accomplish those goals?


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (08:36):

Just a quick follow-up to that, how do you see the introduction of Black art happening here to people who may not be coming here for the art? How does that kind of shape up in your, in your mission, in your mind, and in your programming?


INYE WOKOMA (08:52):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well, you know, I mean, anytime that we have a program going on here, the gallery's open, right? Uh, when people come and do meetings here, you know, they're e sometimes people are holding meetings in the gallery space where there's art. We're holding this, this recording here mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, in the gallery space. And, and Vivian, you're sitting by, you know, a eight-foot tall phone receiver by, uh, New Orleans artist Ratliff, Rontherin. I'm sorry. Rontherin Ratliff. There you go. I got the last name. Right, right. Rontherin Ratcliff, you know. Um, and so, you know, I, I, I think, you know, the thing that, you know, we're really interested in is, uh, breaking sort of the fourth wall of art that happens a lot of times in the museum world, and sometimes in the gallery world, you know, and, and having the art really be an integral part of everything that we do.


MARCIE SILLMAN (09:40):

It seems that your definition of art, I mean, this phone receiver is amazing, and I you ha you notice it as soon as you come in the room. Right. But a project that I'm really fascinated by, a CACE 21, which stands for a Central Area Cultural Ecosystem, 21st century. It's not what one traditionally might call an art project, but it's part of the sort of fabric of the work that you're doing. Yeah. Yes. So tell us about that project.


INYE WOKOMA (10:07):

Yeah. So, you know, that's interesting because, you know, like so many things that happened at Wa Na Wari, there's, there's a long and a short story for that.


MARCIE SILLMAN (10:15):

You can go either way.


INYE WOKOMA (10:15):

Either way. Well, you know, uh, what I will say is that, you know, we, um, uh, uh, Jill, uh, Elisheba, Rachel and I, um, we just decided to do this thing, right? You know, and so what we didn't account for was the fact that, you know, we're breaking, you know, a whole long list of, uh, building code and zoning loss <laugh> and, and, and doing this, right. And unfortunately, there was somebody living in close proximity to us that was aware that we were doing it and was motivated to report us to the city. Right? So, <laugh>, all right. So, um, so, so that, that put us in, in, in communication with the city around having to, to resolve that, which led us into about a year and a half process, um, to get this physical house, um, rezoned for as a community center. Wow. Wow. Okay. So that was the first thing.


INYE WOKOMA (11:05):

Second thing is, within, I would say about a month or so of opening, we were having an event here in this space, and I think it was a concert. And, um, a man approached me, someone who I had seen in the community over the course of my entire life that I didn't know personally, but someone whose face was familiar to me, um, approached me and, and said, Hey, you know, um, I wanna know how you guys are doing this thing that you're doing here. And then he went on to explain that he was living in a house, um, that was, was his mother's house. His mother had passed, his sister now had ownership and legal control of the house. Um, she would wanted to sell. He was trying to convince her that there were other options. Um, and so when he came here, he immediately saw what was happening here as a gateway possibility for what could possibly help them save their home.


INYE WOKOMA (11:52):

And so then I would say that those two things really alerted us that, um, beyond us doing something that was an immediate, um, sort of short term solution for our family, that there might be some principles embedded in what we're doing that could have much broader impact, right? And that could be useful for other Black homeowners who were experiencing things similar to what my family was experiencing. And so, CACE 21 really emerged out of all of those things. And so, what CACE 21 is an organizing project that brings together Black homeowners and Black cultural workers to address policy and, and other, um, intersecting issues around, um, the stress of that Black homeowners are facing, that Black families are facing around home ownership to one, address the policy issues that make it difficult for people to, to employ creative solutions, but then to build a community network of resiliency that includes, um, mutual aid, that includes, um, being able to sort of pull resources to help people, you know, do specific things, um, to help, uh, people gain the technical expertise that they need to do, you know, um, wealth management and generational planning.


INYE WOKOMA (13:02):

Right? So these are all components of what CACE 21 is the name, the cultural ecosystem component is, comes out of the fact that, you know, what we do here is always rooted in art, right? And so we are thinking about if someone else wants to do a project that is another micro-cultural space in the neighborhood, those are the kind of things that we are motivated, you know, to have people imagine. Um, although as an organizing project, the possibilities of what people can do is, is unlimited, right? So, yeah. Um, so yeah, so CACE 21 is really, you know, about, you know, creating the structural sort of framework of possibility.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (13:41):

You know, we've been in, this is our fourth and final neighborhood, and what we've really been trying to explore this season is how people in communities are really being activated to create vitality and sustainability by using art to do that. I think CACE 21 Wa Na Wari is a really great example of both of those things happening. Um, do you ever feel like you're being boxed in to be called an art project or an art gallery, or a community engagement project? You know, how do you kind of pivot around all of the different kinds of definitions that could come with this?


INYE WOKOMA (14:19):

That's an interesting question. I don't know that we ever feel that, I don't know Jill's here. Jill can probably, you know, shed some light on whether she feels that pressure. Um, my, some of that might be the, you know, the willful, you know, oblivion of being an artist <laugh>, where you're just like, whatever, we're just gonna do what we want to do. It doesn't matter what people think. Right. You know, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what, what, what other people do. Yeah. Um, but I, I would also, I would say is that the other part is that I would, is that, you know, Wa Na Wari and sometimes we describe, Wa Na Wari, we describe, Wa Na Wari, we have lots of catchphrases for Wa Na Wari mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we call it the house of fight displacement with art. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know what I'm saying? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, another, uh, way we talk about Wa Na Wari is sort of a, an open-source sort of, you know, art, you know, sort of art activation, uh, project, you know.


INYE WOKOMA (15:05):

And so that open-source piece really comes in in that, um, a lot of things that happen at Wa Na Wari are really community driven. They're projects that, you know, emerge out of the community and, and you know, the sense of ownership that people have when they come to Wa Na Wari and they imagine something that could possibly happen here. And, you know, and we make a space for that. Right. You know, and so the things that happen here really are organic, you know? And so when you see things that, you know, I would say primarily, funders might say, you know, it's, you know, sort of incongruent, you know, it makes perfect sense to us, you know, because our function here is to build community, right? That's our core function. Right. Um, and so, uh, if people are saying, Hey, you know, we love what's happening here. We'd like to, to see this happen, we are motivated to, to figure out, you know, is is this a thing? You know, that that can happen.


MARCIE SILLMAN (16:00):

It's really fascinating to me and cuz you talked about how you kind of got into this fighting your own rezoning battle with the City of Seattle, which I know it's not an easy thing to do mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you talked about homeowners coming and perhaps creating micro-cultural spaces of their own in order to keep their, their spaces. Do you think about policy change on the city level in CACE 21 or what you're doing at Wa Na Wari?


INYE WOKOMA (16:27):

Yeah. So, you know, and, and that's actually, so CACE 21 is specific, when we talk about policy, it is specifically looking at, and particularly land use policy is this sort of complex web of city, county, and state policy. Yeah. Right? Um, and some of it is specifically land use policy. Some of it is, are, are large, larger policy issues like the state constitution. Right? And so, yes. So I would say yes. Um, there's for instance, you know, there's, uh, the, uh, City of Seattle Department of Constructions and Inspections, right. You know, which governs all of the, the building code and zoning laws. Right. Um, but they're just an enforcement department. Right. You know, so of course then their city council, which, you know, has everything to do with, you know, actually looking at, you know, how these laws are constructed. Of course. Then there's the intersection of, um, the way that, uh, city tax levies intersect with the county <laugh>, the tax assessment.


MARCIE SILLMAN (17:22):

My eyes just rolled back in my head.


INYE WOKOMA (17:24):

Ok. You see that? Right, right. You know, and then, okay. And then there's the web where, um, there are things that the county can only do in terms of progressive taxation that are governed by, by state legislation. And then of course, there are things that, that we, on the community level look at in terms of the historic frameworks of, of racism around, you know, um, not just land use policy, but housing policy in, in the public and private sector that have, you know, everything to do with how do you create, you know, um, a sense of just redress, you know, for those, those historical, you know, um, inequities. Right. Which then gets into the way that the state constitution is written, um, particularly around, you know, um, anti-discrimination laws, which then also prohibit government from actually, you know, making laws that actually create, you know, policies that, that create an opportunity for a specific redress.


INYE WOKOMA (18:17):

Right. So to say that, okay, well, you know, there's a specific condition, you know, for legacy Black homeowners and, and the tax burden, you know, that is not just connected to the cost of, or the, the, you know, the price of, you know, the, the tax bill, but it's also connected to, you know, a history of, um, of, uh, wage inequity, right? Right. A history of, you know, of exclusion from, you know, um, from, uh, labor markets, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> a history of, um, of disproportionate policing, a history of disinvestment in the public education system, all of which create, uh, a vast network of vulnerabilities that make it difficult for, you know, the, the, the cross-generational, you know, wealth transition. So these are, these things are all, you know, hyper-connected mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know what I'm saying? And so, um, in thinking about, you know, how do we, you know, how do we actually move the needle, you know, and, and actually start to re you know, reconfigure some of these things that are happening. You know, it really does take a lot of really deep policy thinking, but it's not the kind of imaginative policy thinking that happens from with the inside of government. And it doesn't necessarily happen with inside, inside, sort of the major think tanks.


MARCIE SILLMAN (19:26):

Not at all <laugh>. Yeah. Right, right. This is, leave it there. That's a whole, we gave the whole show about that.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (19:31):

You know, I'm sitting here listening to you in Yay. And, you know, having grown up in this community, I'm reminded of some of the legislators who used to live in the community, who used to make sure that people were aware of the webs that you just described in ways in which they could work within or against them, however, that, that, that sums up. But you described earlier and said that everything here happens organically. This is an incredibly young organization but everybody knows about, and you're pretty well established in the city. From an organic perspective, as well as from a strategic perspective. What do you see the future for Wa Na Wari being? What do you want it to be in the future?


INYE WOKOMA (20:16):

Well, that's a, that's an interesting question. I don't know if we want to stick around <laugh>. We wanna, we wanna, well, continue.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (20:21):

You wanna be here?


INYE WOKOMA (20:22):

We wanna be here. I mean, I think that's a, that's a, that's a big thing. You know, I think, um, one, when you look at what's happening in Seattle's art community at large, you know, um, there, over the past 20 years has been a, a massive sort of attrition of, of galleries and, and folks who are artists, right? And everybody in the, in the cultural ecosystem, folks who just can't afford to, to live and and conduct business here. Right? So, you know, to be able to stay here, I think is, is gonna continue to be like, you know, like a serious victory for us. I think that's the first thing. But I would say, you know, thinking more expansively, um, I think that takes us back to, you know, a conversation about CACE 21 and to, to really, you know, back that up. You know, um, the genesis of CACE 21 came out of, you know, um, an imaginable process, you know, where we, we we started by thinking about what the neighborhood could look like, you know, in 25 years, you know, and, and one of those visions included, um, multiple houses around the neighborhood, um, that were owned by Black homeowners, um, new and existing Black homeowners that in some way had, you know, um, figured out how to implement some kind of multi-use that included micro cultural spaces, right?


INYE WOKOMA (21:35):

And so in thinking about that, you know, what we saw was like, you know, like a quarterly Black art walk that was inside the entire neighborhood where people could go from house to house and visit artists, galleries that are in garages or, and, and, and detached accessory units and, you know, in basements and attics and, and little micro, you know, gallery and gift shops and, and things of that nature, right? And so that was, that was just sort of envisioning the possibility, right? And then of course, reverse engineering that, you know, brought us right back to this, this massive policy barrier that we were looking at. So...


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (22:10):

Yeah, that kind of thinking, that kind of activism and that kind of creativity that I think we really need in city policy in order to change the landscape. So…


MARCIE SILLMAN (22:21):

Inye Wokoma is co-founder and co-director of Wa Na Wari, our host for today's liveXposure recording. We are live at Wa Na Wari with an audience and a lot of folks listening. We're gonna be back. Yeah. Wait for one second. We're gonna be back after a break, and we're gonna talk about a personal favorite organization, ARTE NOIR and Gallery Onyx. So, stay with us.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (22:43):

Thank you. Our music is courtesy of Big World Breaks. Many thanks.


MARCIE SILLMAN (23:06):

And this year we welcome our sponsor, LANGSTON, cultivating Black Brilliance from their home at Seattle's Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in the historic Central District.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (23:26):

Welcome back to liveXposure. Coming to you today from Wa Na Wari in Seattle's Central District. It's the heart, it's the home. I'm Vivian Phillips.


MARCIE SILLMAN (23:36):

And I'm Marcie Sillman. And we've got a live audience, so we are so happy that you're here. Let's hear it. Yes.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (23:44):

There you go. Hundreds of people, hundreds crammed into this living room.


MARCIE SILLMAN (23:49):

All of Seattle sitting in this house! Throughout this season, we've been talking about an exciting new venture in this neighborhood. The brainchild of my co-host, Vivian Phillips. ARTE NOIR is an anchor tenant in Midtown Square, the development which sits proudly on the corner of 23rd and Union, which is about two and a half blocks from where we're sitting. It has a co-tenant as well, Gallery Onyx, and we are delighted today to welcome ARTE NOIR’s Executive Director Jazmyn Scott, and Ashby Reed of Gallery Onyx. Thanks, both of you for coming in today.


ASHBY REED (24:27):

Thanks for having us.


MARCIE SILLMAN (24:28):

Vivian can also tell the story of ARTE NOIR but I'm not gonna let her because Jazmyn, you're now in charge. And so, ARTE NOIR, which was recently written up in a national magazine as a destination. Yes. Right. It's pretty exciting. ARTE NOIR is not, like Wa Na Wari, is not just an art space. ARTE NOIR is not your typical gallery. How do you describe it?


JAZMYN SCOTT (24:58):

It is also a gathering space for culture and creativity and joy. And I, you know, it's an experience. I always come up with a new word to describe it every time I'm talking to somebody, but, so the word for today is experience. I think ARTE NOIR is an experience for people, for everybody that walks by up and down Union, walks through our doors, lives in the Midtown Square building. It's an experience, um, because it's something bright, shiny, and brand new, but it's also something that people haven't really seen before. So you see the light bulb, the question mark happening in people's minds as they're walking by or walking through, like, wow, what is this? And then they see, you know, it's, it's brightly lit. We have plants, we have, um, great energy, we have music playing and art, and it's, and lots and lots of color.


JAZMYN SCOTT (25:56):

Lots and lots of color, and it smells good. And so it's, it's a sensory experience for people. And that was very intentional for us to create a space that people could come in and experience Black art in ways, in maybe, in ways that they haven't experienced it before. Because it's, it's a gallery and, dot dot dot, right? Right. So it's a gallery that you walk into that is so wonderfully curated by the folks at, with the Onyx, um, Fine Art Collective. And then we have this retail space that we've created with products that we've worked in collaboration with Black artists and Black creatives, not only locally, um, but from around the country and around the world to carry products that are all made and created by the creativity of Black folks. And that's just wonderful for us and for people to be able to walk into a space on 23rd and Union and get all of that.


MARCIE SILLMAN (26:54):

There's one other very important factor, and I was thinking about that as we talked to Inye about homeownership. You are an anchored tenant, but you're not a tenant. You own this space. Correct?


JAZMYN SCOTT (27:05):

We will. You will. Oh, in a matter of months. In a matter of months.


MARCIE SILLMAN (27:11):

But, but that's a, a big distinction. Renting and ownership. We just heard about CACE 21. We talked about micro spaces. This is, this is a macro cultural space, not a micro cultural space that you're running. But why is that important to own it?


JAZMYN SCOTT (27:25):

Well, you know, I think we wanna participate and also set a standard about what's possible for those of us that are from this community that are coming back to this community and that have some stake in the Central District and the culture of the Central District. Um, so it's important to know that while there are all of these brand new developments, we don't have to rent from them in order to build and maintain successful businesses. We can actually challenge them to not even allow us, but for, you know, for us to have the opportunity to own and reclaim space that we once had in the past. And so, you know, that's not, I, I can't tell this story of how ARTE NOIR, you know, cuz that was really Vivian's, uh, <laugh>, Vivian's Vivian, uh, uh, charge that she led when she was working with the developers. But I'm so glad she did because it makes me proud to say that within a matter of months, you know, we own this space. It belongs to us. And because it belongs to us, it belongs to all of you too.


MARCIE SILLMAN (28:32):

Before we talk about Gallery Onyx, Jazmyn, I just have to ask one last question, and it's sort of about how you do business in the shop. You talked about the range of Black artists that you've brought work, you function a little bit differently from a traditional retail outfit. Can you talk about how that works?


JAZMYN SCOTT (28:50):

Yes. And so, our model is all about ensuring that Black artists and creatives make money, and we are not there to make money off of them. So what our model does is that we either upfront purchase products from the artist and they, they're paid straight away. So I like what you have, I'm gonna buy it. Here's a check <laugh>, and then we're gonna sell it in ARTE NOIR and promote you, your products and your services. Or, we work in collaboration with artists to, um, create products that carry their art. And once we recoup the cost of production, those artists then receive 100% of the net proceeds. So again, it's not about us making money off of them, it's about putting money back into their pockets so that they can continue to just be artists. They don't have to carry the burden of the marketing, the promotion, the sales pitches and all that. That's our job. Their job is just to be great artists and hopefully make, continue to make more money because of their relationship with us.


MARCIE SILLMAN:

Awesome model.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (30:01):

I'm having so much fun just sitting here listening.


JAZMYN SCOTT (30:04):

<laugh>. I don't know, I'm talking about, you know, she wants to say something.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (30:07):

I don't want, I I I'm perfectly fine with this. Well, I'm gonna look towards Ashby. You're the Vice President of Onyx Fine Arts Collective, and you all run Gallery Onyx. There is a Gallery Onyx in downtown Seattle at Pacific Place mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And there is now a gallery Onyx at ARTE NOIR So why was that important for Onyx to come to the Central District and share this space?


ASHBY REED (30:34):

Well, you invited us <laugh>. You told you, you told us. No, we are so happy and so proud to be a part of your vision. ARTE NOIR back in the Central District where many of our artists that we, uh, exhibit are from. And so to, to be there is, is absolutely amazing for us. Uh, we started out with a gallery down, next door in the Nordstrom's, and that gallery was very, very, uh, successful for us. We were able to showcase hundreds of artists out of there, beginners and experienced, and we'd put 'em all up on the wall. We're showing artists from eight to 93 years old who have been in the Central District who have never had an opportunity to show in a gallery, never had the opportunity to exhibit their work anywhere. Uh, with the loss of James Washington and Jacob Lawrence, the, uh, some folks got together and, uh, and we thought, you know, where's that next African American artist coming from and who could that possibly be?


ASHBY REED (31:39):

So six or seven of us got together, we started putting on shows at, uh, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, at North, at NAAM, any venue we could find. And so what happened was we found out there was a lot of African American artists in the Seattle area who, who weren't getting a chance, and we were able to do that for them. We now have artists from as far away as Alaska and down to Portland that have been showing with us in our gallery at Pacific Place now having the opportunity to be Black on the block is what? Okay. So, so we're now back in the neighborhood and back in the neighborhood that we all grew up in. You know, my, I I, I started here. I'm from New York. I'm a transplant. So, I came here and lived in a Central District and, and, and, and learned how to be a graphic designer.


ASHBY REED (32:34):

My career extended for many, many years. And I, when I retired, I was always painting, painting. So, I never, in all those years ever had my pieces hanging up in a gallery. So, I realized there was a bunch of other folks who didn't have that same opportunity. When we got together, we started showcasing these artists. And now to be back in the, in, in the neighborhood where I, my first bank account was at Liberty Bank. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And now that building they put there, I have artwork hanging up in that bank. Yeah. I had a business that was at the Promenade, uh, the old Promenade where Vulcan came in and, and, and did that on 23rd. I have a piece of artwork hanging up in there, and a lot of other artists have been able to portray their work, like the likes of Myron Curry. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like the likes of, of Al Doggett. Uh, you know, some of these guys have have been around, but they've never had the opportunity they they've recently had Yeah. To do that and to put a stamp on the Central District.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (33:35):

Now Gallery Onyx is not a real new organization. How long have you all been in existence? Or the Onyx Fine Arts Collective, what, 17 years?


ASHBY REED (33:46):

17 years. Yeah. We've been 17 years doing this. And, uh, about seven artists came together and started to doing, uh, started doing exhibits and, uh, and realized that there was a lot of artists that this was the first time they ever got to show work. Yeah. And so after these seven, these 17 years went on and on and on, and all of a sudden we started to get, uh, somewhat popular, uh, somewhat with a brand. We had a name. People started to recognize us. Every single day when we have our doors open in Pacific Place, or even at the, at the, at the midtown here with ARTE NOIR, a new artist walks in the door. Yeah. And, and they come in and it's like, oh my God. You know, like, and, and our question to them has always been, where the hell have you been <laugh>? Well, they have been given their artwork away to mom and dad and relatives. Now they get to show that artwork to, uh, to, to the mainstream community downtown in Seattle, but also now in our neighborhood.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (34:47):

So I wanna ask Ashby, and this is actually a question I've never asked you all before in <laugh>, in the 17 years that the organization has been in existence in, what, seven years or something like that at Pacific Place, did you all ever consider having a gallery in the traditional Black community?


ASHBY REED (35:08):

No. Never. There was never that opportunity to even think about that because of the, the zoning and the restrictions and the, and the, uh, the ability to have a, a brick and mortar. You know, we never thought we could, uh, afford to have a brick and mortar or, or to do like you did Vivian mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when you did that, you know, it was, it was like, and then she called us and said, you know, you want to join up and collaborate, and are you kidding? This has been a wonderful opportunity.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (35:37):

That's a simplified version of how that went.


ASHBY REED (35:40):

Simplified version.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (35:41):

<laugh> That's a very simplified version, but Okay. <laugh>


ASHBY REED (35:47):

And we, and, and, and we jumped at that opportunity, to be there, to be with you, to see what we could do together. And I think we've, we've, we've done it. It's only been, what, three months? Yeah. Yeah. And so, 2023 is coming and, uh, our board, we even got a board of directors, y'all <laugh>, and, and, uh, but we've had, we've got some 500 plus African descent artists that are on our mailing list who have come outta nowhere. And these folks are, have been helping us to populate our gallery walls with emerging artwork, beginner beginning artwork, all the way to very, very experienced artists. And so, uh, yeah. Hey, it's been not easy, but it's been happening and I hope, and I know it will continue to happen. We gonna have some fun.


JAZMYN SCOTT (36:38):

Can I, can I just say something too, because it's really been amazing in the past three months to see how rapidly the art's been flying off the walls.


ASHBY REED (36:48):

We've been selling. I know. We have


JAZMYN SCOTT (36:50):

Ya’ll have been selling art.


JAZMYN SCOTT (36:52):

And, and that's not easy, you know? Um, but I think also with the space that we've been able to create, people can come in and feel like I can be an art collector. I can purchase original art for myself or for someone else. Um, because the art, the, the, the, it ranges in price. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, you know, it's not something that's un it's not a space where you walk in and you look at the things on the wall and it's like, this is unattainable. This isn't for me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's something for everyone. And Onyx creates an opportunity for people to, you know, they'll make arrangements with you, you know, you can pay it down, whatever, you know, sometime, whatever. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so there's those opportunities to be able to do that. And because of that, they have, those artists have had to come back and forth to replace art on the walls because it is just flying off the walls. And that's just been so fantastic to see. And so I just wanted to say that and congratulate Onyx for that because that's awesome. That's a beautiful thing. It's literally serving the purpose.


ASHBY REED (37:56):

Appreciate it.


MARCIE SILLMAN (37:57):

Um, I, I have to now, not that I don't love your leadership of this organization, Jazmyn, but I have been a little fly on the wall watching Vivian work incredibly hard to birth ARTE NOIR. I've heard about permitting and I've heard about inspectors, I've seen them sanding the floors. And so, you all are hearing this at the very beginning of 2023. So, Vivian, how does it feel knowing that this dream, that sometimes was a nightmare, is real now?


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (38:35):

It feels great to have paid all of the inspectors <laugh> and the inspectors who inspect the inspectors? I think, you know, just because I wanna kind of keep it on the gallery piece of this, I think the most exciting thing for me was to be able to actually have designed, co-designed with, and been able to pay for and have inspected and have installed, the gallery system that we have in ARTE NOIR. That is probably the biggest success for me. And, um, not knowing if it could happen, not knowing if it would really go in right. Not knowing what it would look like. And most of all, not knowing if I could pay for it <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But we got all of that done. And I think it's one of the most beautiful galleries that I've been in in Seattle. It's beautiful. And it is about a number of artists.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (39:32):

That's what I love. It's like, just like he said earlier, when artists come into the space mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they stop and they look at the art or they say to Jazmyn, you know, I got something, how can we hook up? And that happens To know that we have over 40 artists that are represented through products in the space. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's amazing. And artists who used to live here in Seattle who have moved to other places who keep their connection here in Seattle through their creative practice for sale, it's a dream come true for me.


MARCIE SILLMAN (40:06):

Everybody should visit from around the world because now this is the destination a designated, right? Oh yes. Come see me. Y'all know Vivian is co-host of DoubleXposure, but I'm going to say she's also the Dreamer and the founder of ARTE NOIR and still on heading the board.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (40:22):

Still on the board.


MARCIE SILLMAN (40:23):

Yeah. Still on the board. She handed the reins of day to day, I think sort of


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (40:29):

She snatched them outta my <laugh>.


MARCIE SILLMAN (40:31):

I'm not really clear about that.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (40:33):

Just joking.


MARCIE SILLMAN (40:33):

I wanna acknowledge how hard you've worked and how I've gotten to see it come to fruition. So exciting.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (40:38):

Thank you so much. And Ashby Reed, who is the Vice President of Onyx Fine Arts and the manager of Onyx Gallery at ARTE NOIR at Midtown. I'm just gonna throw that all in there. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us here at Wa Na Wari. Thank you. Thank you.


MARCIE SILLMAN (40:55):

And thank you. Up next, we're gonna learn more about the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute, which is a project of Wa Na Wari’s. We'll be back after the short break.


Welcome back to LiveXposure, a live recording from Wa Na Wari here in Seattle's historic and beautiful Central District or Central Area. If you prefer. I prefer CD. I'm Marcie Sillman.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (41:38):

And I'm Vivian Phillips. I was born and raised here in this community and I still live here. And I've seen how the neighborhood has changed, how demographics have changed, how there have been incredible shifts, displacement, and gentrification. The Central District is the historic and spiritual home of Seattle's black community. And even if many community members have lost their homes to rising property values, their stories do endure.


MARCIE SILLMAN (42:05):

Capturing and archiving some of those stories is at the heart of a fascinating project that Wa Na Wari has underway. It's called the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute. And today we're joined by one of its fellows, Ariel Paine, along with Jill Freidberg, who is, as we've heard, a co-founder of Wa Na Wari. And I think you're the spark behind the Spatial Histories Institute, or one of them one. So I wanna thank both of you for being here.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (42:35):

Well, Jill, what exactly is the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute and where did the idea come from and what exactly are you interested in documenting?


JILL FREIDBERG (42:46):

Earlier Inye was talking about this public art project that Inye and Elisheba and Rachel and I were working on before Wa Na Wari emerged. And a piece of that project was oral histories and memory keeping and storytelling that had kind of emerged from the Shelf Life Community Story Project, which was at the Promenade, next door to the Red Apple, sort of emerged from learning that the Red Apple and the Promenade were going away and Inye and I had also collaborated on oral history projects over the years prior to that. So when Wa Na Wari started, initially, we imagined that that work would continue, that somehow we would continue recording stories with legacy residents current and also displaced residents of the Central District of all ages, and create some sort of community archive at Wa Na Wari. But about a year and a half into Wa Na Wari's existence, we decided that it made much more sense to build community capacity for memory keeping and for ethical, accountable community memory work than to just have the same people doing that work.


JILL FREIDBERG (44:02):

And the reason that we felt like that work was important was preserving the stories of the present and the past for future generations, but also I think Elisheba talked about it as, you know, building Black futures rooted in the Black past of this neighborhood. And Inye has often talked about the neighborhood in its stories in terms of a constellation and that the, the sort of brightest stars in that constellation or the points in the neighborhood where the, the largest number of stories intersect. But also that when you, when you start navigating that constellation by listening to people's stories, it becomes clear very quickly that the city is what it is because of this neighborhood. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and because of the community leadership building and innovation and creativity and resistance really shaped the city. And that that's the narrative that should survive the narratives of erasure that accompany the displacement that has been happening.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (45:07):

I love it. I just wanna go back to the spacial constellation, <laugh> past, futuristic element. So we're talking about documenting the history, the present, but not archiving it necessarily somewhere, pushing it away somewhere, making it available, right?


JILL FREIDBERG (45:29):

Both, I mean, yeah. Yes, so like the Black Heritage Society of Washington State is the physical archive where all of the recorded stories go. Okay. But yeah, also it's not just about preservation, it is about amplifying and activating and then also the community capacity building to learn how to do memory work, how to research an archive, but also maybe how to create a community archive and how to help the community know how to navigate archives, which historically are pretty inaccessible. Got it. Or difficult to figure out or, so we've, were a year and a half into the first cohort and um, the new co-director of the program is Zola Mumford who's here. Um, and we're developing the, the next institute, which will start in the summer of 2023. And hopefully if we can raise the funds, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, um, we would love to do a sort of each one, teach one model where the current cohort helps mentor the second cohort.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (46:35):

Got it. Nice.


MARCIE SILLMAN (46:36):

So Ariel, you're part of that first cohort of six, I think that you were a DJ in your other life, or that's one of the things you do. How did you come to take part in this? What made you interested in doing this work?


ARIEL PAINE (46:51):

Um, just being along, like living in the Central District my entire life and um, just, uh, the idea of being able to, I guess hear the stories from the different perspectives. Like on the group that I'm in as “Barbers and Beauticians” when they reached out for people, that was like the thing that got my mind, that got my attention because…


MARCIE SILLMAN (47:10):

So you were particularly interested in the subject?


ARIEL PAINE (47:12):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I was trying to be subtle about it and not <laugh> pick, but that was the, sorry,


MARCIE SILLMAN (47:18):

Sorry Jill <laugh>.


ARIEL PAINE (47:20):

That was the one that just got my attention because I grew up and going to barber shops. Sure. And, um, one specific barber that I grew up cutting my hair was somebody that I wish we would've been able to hear his story, but he passed away. Oh. Um, his name was Solo. That kind of got me intrigued in the whole idea of being able to tell the stories or hear the stories from the different narrators.


MARCIE SILLMAN (47:40):

So, barbers and beauticians, how many different groups are you documenting and how do you find the people? Because there's probably more barbers and beauticians than you can actually talk to.


ARIEL PAINE (47:52):

Right. Like I said, just from growing up in the neighborhood, there was like obvious ones that I knew of, Preston's Barbershop, which was on, um, Jackson. And then, um, just knowing of a couple of different barbers and beauticians just growing up in the neighborhood, people that I knew that, that were in that profession that I just went to church with and different things that grew up to become barbers and just having them, uh, as people that I wanted to reach out to and talk to about it. But there's so many different people that are involved in it that we’re still trying to, to work on getting on the list.


MARCIE SILLMAN (48:25):

So what are some of the other pathways that the oral historians are pursuing?


JILL FREIDBERG (48:31):

So the three themes are currently are, barbers and beauticians, Black educators and Black experiences on the waterfront, which so far has been mostly longshoremen, but also community organizing. So those are the three themes currently and will probably continue to be the three themes for the next institute. And those, uh, themes mostly were identified by community members saying these appear to be the gaps. Like Stephanie at Black Heritage Society said, the number one thing people come to the archive looking for is Barber and Beautician stories. Wow. And it's the least they have to. Wow. So it was kind of responding to what people have identified as as gaps in the narratives.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (49:16):

That is so interesting. I'm sorry to jump in here. I'm just thinking about all of the different places, being older than dirt and having grown up in this community, obviously, I think about the fact that barbers and beauticians were, were trained in the community. They didn't have to go to the community college, they went to 26th and Jackson. What were some of the most intriguing stories that you heard when you were exploring barbers and beauticians?


ARIEL PAINE (49:47):

Um, there were so many. A lot of 'em, it's, it's crazy when you talk about how the paths intersect. Like we talk about, um, there's people that were the program that specifically at Seattle Central, that was, um, a lot of the barbers went to, to get kind of like their initial training. A lot of 'em grew up. Um, one of the people that I interviewed, uh, John Elder, they grew up in the Bryant Manor and they just cut each other's hair because that was just the, the norm. Like, yeah. So they all, you know, some of them figured out how to do it and then they all kind of jumped on board. And then when they got the opportunity to work at Preston's, because Preston's just saw somebody with, uh, a nice haircut and he a, he reached out to that person and said, who cut your hair? <laugh>? And then, I love that, that person then, you know, just with networking, got him and told him to come to the shop and he got his job that way and then had to go through the process. So, a lot of it to me was hearing the story of how a person got from their very initial introduction into cutting hair, into how they turned that into a business in their profession. So there was so many stories.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (50:50):

All of our kitchens had, was full of hair. Right. <laugh>.


MARCIE SILLMAN (50:56):

So you mentioned a bit ago, Jill, that there are various archives for oral histories. How will the public be able to access, like I'd love to listen to some of these stories.


JILL FREIDBERG (51:09):

We're still figuring that out. The first cohort has been very gracious and flexible in, in sort of being the pilot experiment cohort, but what's currently happening is that this second year of the, of the first cohort is devoted towards developing public activations of the interviews that were recorded. So each cohort member got to propose the way that they wanted to take the stories they'd recorded and make them available to the public. And there's gonna be a, next Fall, there'll be an, an installation here at Wa Na Wari, but also coming up with some other ways to, to share the stories. And then, and then, and then they'll be at, at the Black Heritage Society. And then there's also conversations happening with SPL about their helping to do some community engagement around making the stories available.


MARCIE SILLMAN (52:03):

So another cohort of six, will start in the summer of ’23?


JILL FREIDBERG (52:08):

Correct.


MARCIE SILLMAN (52:08):

It's super exciting.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (52:10):

So I was just thinking about that. I mean, do you wanna leave this project? You? No, I didn't think so. I didn't think so. I don't know. I was just getting a vibe from you that you, you really love doing this work. And how do you see yourself continuing in some way, even though you're a member of the cohort right now? How do you see yourself continuing to be a part of these spacial histories?


ARIEL PAINE (52:35):

Well, a lot of it is the, the training that we've gotten through the program. Just the, the ability to learn the recording process, getting the mics, um, having conversations with people about, um, their history in the Central District and then being able to expand on that now, because even though, you know, barbers is the main group now, like I want to be able to talk to people about just their whole upbringing in the central district and then being able to then tie that into this big web of how people all know each other and how it's all connected. So, the big thing for me is just, uh, telling the history of the Central District and then getting the resources to actually show that, you know, from like all the visuals and going through the archives and going through different, getting the stories and putting that all together and then also working with the next group to help them, you know, through the process. I think it, it all will just kind of, it helps me and I want to be able to be involved to just grow as the project grows.


MARCIE SILLMAN (53:31):

I have to say, as a longtime radio journalist, this project to me is like thrilling my pulse rate.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (53:38):

She's a great engineer too, if you need somebody <laugh>.


MARCIE SILLMAN (53:41):

No, not that, that man who's engineering over there a real,


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (53:46):

I'm sorry Dom. You're a great engineer too. I'm sorry.

MARCIE SILLMAN (53:48):

Ariel Paine, one of the original six-member cohort and apparently not gonna give up the mic, who've been working on the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute, which is a project of Wa Na Wari. Jill Friedberg is Wa Na Wari co-founder and really a spark behind this. We really thank both of you and I'm so excited for that, that installation. Won't that be great?


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (54:13):

I'm excited to hear the stories in any form that they come. And I hope your family's story is in included. Yes, Ariel, I wanna thank Inye Wokoma, Elisheba Johnson and the rest of the staff here at Wa Na Wari. We wanna thank everybody for being here and especially Wa Na Wari, everyone, for hosting the final liveXposure episode. Woo. This is a wrap for us and we don't know if we're gonna be doing this again in the future, but I will say this one thing that the series of liveXposure recordings have been supported by 4Culture, represented this evening here. Nina Yarborough, thank you so very much. Hey Nina. And I will say thank you to our audio engineer Dominique Thomas.


MARCIE SILLMAN (55:00):

Indeed.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (55:00):

And everybody here, the live in the in the space. Can we say thank you to all of you and just hear your enthusiasm one last time? [Clapping]


MARCIE SILLMAN (55:14):

You're loud.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (55:17):

Hundreds of people, you all drive safely when you go home. <laugh>,


MARCIE SILLMAN (55:21):

Have a good night. Thank you. DoubleXposure Executive Producers are me, Marcie Sillman,


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (55:31):

And me Vivian Phillips. We get production support from Hilary Northcraft, Randy Engstrom, and Calandra Childers.


MARCIE SILLMAN:

Support for doubleXposure comes from Pyramid Communications


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (55:42):

And we're especially proud to support Crosscut Media's Black Arts Legacies Project highlighting the role of black artists and arts organizations throughout our cultural landscape.


MARCIE SILLMAN (55:55):

If you like what you're hearing on this episode of doubleXposure, be sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app and check out our website, doubleXposurepod dot com.


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