SEATTLE SO WHITE – 50 Years of Anglo-Saxon Leadership at the Office of Arts & Culture

In just a few months, Seattle will celebrate 50 years of arts advocacy.  In 1971 Seattle established the Seattle Arts Commission, and later the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture; a tax-payer funded department with a “commitment to anti-racist work practice that centers the creativity and leadership of people of color – those most impacted by structural racism…” The irony is that since establishing a salaried Director position, the Office of Arts & Culture has never been led by a person of color.

“How can I leave, when so many people of color are asking me to stay?”

Today, as in the past, the Director is an Anglo-Saxon European male, as was the previous Director and the Director before him; all white and all male. The Deputy Director is also white, as well as the Racial Equity Manager.  What’s more surprising ~ as of July 2020 the office does not appear to have a single African American male holding the title of Manager.  And no, project manager is not the same thing. We’re asking why there are no African American males in positions with manager-level authority. We’re asking if the commitment to equity only applies to front-line, entry-level jobs; or will there be an opportunity for African American males to rise to true leadership positions at the Office of Arts & Culture?

Directors OOAC

On the positive side, there are several women of color holding supervisory positions in the department. But it’s the lack of black males in positions of authority that have people questioning whether or not there is a systemic effort to remand these kings to lesser roles, as if giving them decision making ability might jeopardize the established hierarchy.

Outside of the curious employee situation, I think it is important to recognize the good that the current Director, Randy Engstrom, has done at the office.  Engstrom’s experience serving at the Arts Commission prior to taking the Director job, shows a history of community involvement and partnership building.  I’ve no doubt that Engstrom has great support in diverse communities throughout Seattle.  However, the same talent and experience that makes Engstrom successful can also work against his own commitment to racial equity.

The problem for many white executives, is that it’s easy to justify holding on to a position when they work within diverse communities. There is a white savior mentality that says “if I step down, the department will fall apart. How can I leave when so many people of color are asking me to stay?” This is the type of soft racism that keeps good intentioned people in positions of power far too long, while unintentionally blocking qualified candidates from rising to leadership positions.

“As of July 2020 the Office of Arts & Culture does not appear to have a single African American male holding the title of Manager”

And then there’s the money.  At $152,000 per year, Engstrom has cashed-in well over a million dollars in salary since taking the job.  That’s a lot of money to walk away from. On the other hand, isn’t it time someone else had the opportunity to earn such a salary? Do we honestly believe that the office can only be viable when there is a white man at the helm?

The Seattle Arts Commission was formed in 1971, having emerged from the shadow of the Municipal Arts Commission. The original charter had a goal of supporting historic preservation, resident performance groups, and the creation of opera and ballet companies. Over the years the office continued to evolve, until it eventually grew large enough that it needed better funding and management.

On November 18, 2002, Mayor Greg Nickels essentially split the Arts Commission, keeping the original volunteer committee, but adding a new, heavily funded department called the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs (revised in 2013 to Office of Arts & Culture). As with most government programs, the new department came with a fat paycheck for the new Director position (as mentioned, current Director Randy Engstrom receives around $12,666.00 per month, $152,000 per year).  Imagine one of our community leaders, those that work with kids and are in the habit of paying out of pocket to keep programs running, having this type of disposable income? I can think of at least a half dozen persons of color who are easily qualified, and I’m sure you can too.

As Seattle approaches 50 years of arts advocacy, join me in calling upon Mayor Durkan to appoint a Director who exemplifies the city’s commitment to racial equality and equity. Thank you, Randy Engstrom, for your commitment to arts & culture in Seattle. We ask that now you show that same commitment to bringing equity to the office.

If you agree that it’s time for change at the Office of Arts & Culture, please sign the online petition at http://chng.it/MpHrJV9p.

July 20, 2020

 

  • Michael Killoren photo Arts.gov
  • Vincent Kitch photo 0810magazine.com
  • Randy Engstrom photo WestsideSeattle.com

Suggested Reading:

https://medium.com/@allies4equity/controversial-posters-celebrate-white-leadership-at-seattle-office-of-arts-culture-592ecb0ce4d3
https://medium.com/@martindelaney1885/called-out-for-its-masculine-white-patriarchy-the-office-of-arts-culture-goes-on-the-attack-c092cb2f3ee4

Unique Youth Arts Program Celebrates 10 Years in West Seattle!

Donation Splash 3

August 2018 the Unified Outreach Youth Arts Program will celebrate 10 years of providing unique arts programming in West Seattle.

The charity is known for its annual youth fashion show and runway extravaganza, free to the public and organized by middle and high school students as part of a work-readiness-in-the-arts program that has partnered Unified Outreach with a number of other organizations in the past including the Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, SYVPI, and SW Youth & Family Services in order to provide work training, educational tracks, and networking opportunities to at-risk, underserved, and special needs communities.

student-splash-1In previous years Unified Outreach has been recognized for its focus on empowering young women from underserved communities as seen here: https://kingcountynews.org/2017/06/13/young-women-find-empowerment-through-arts-in-west-seattle-2/

Unified Outreach has also been a leader in efforts to stop youth violence and in providing opportunities to special needs youth, which we will talk about later in the article.

Founded in 1998 the program began with a small group of volunteers providing free art classes to kids at transitional housing shelters throughout Seattle, with no official center of operations (other than a PO Box) until the program found a home in West Seattle’s Ginomai art center in 2008. Ginomai means “to create” in Greek, and was the vision of Pastor Dan Jacobs, of the West Seattle Christian Church. Upon the closing of the West Seattle Christian Pre-School in 2007 Pastor Dan’s idea was to provide artists with an affordable space to create art and host small community meet-ups.

In 2014 Unified Outreach provided nearly $40K in renovations to the building, including removing massive amounts of asbestos from the old school, as well as providing new paint, carpet, lighting, carpentry work, and bathroom renovations. As part of the renovations Unified Outreach also constructed a new sounds booth for both music recording and cartoon animation voice-overs, for use in the video production and cartooning studios.

WHAT SORT OF ARTS PROGRAMS DOES UNIFIED OUTREACH OFFER?

Unified Outreach is one of the most eclectic arts programs in the NW, and in previous years has offered both traditional and contemporary programs including drawing, painting, theater, fashion & runway, video production, cartoon animation, hip hop art, breakdancing, comic book design, short-story publishing, and more! Summer day-camp offerings have included cartooning camp, crafting camp, and sports & athletics camp.

Cultural Celebrations

In 2011 Unified Outreach hosted the 30 year “Breakers Reunion”, which brought together 3 generations of Seattle B-Boy’s/B-Girl’s in a multi-generational event that took many through a time-warp and back to the early 80’s, to celebrate all the iconic Breakdance Crews, seminal Graffiti Artists, legendary Dj’s, a platinum selling Rapper, and great memories of days gone by. https://kingcountynews.org/2012/08/05/4-generations-of-b-boys-come-out-to-celebrate-30-years-of-hip-hop-culture-at-the-seattle-city-breakers-reunion/

Fashion & Runway

As previously mentioned, the program is best known its annual youth fashion expose, which will be held on August 11th at 6pm at 4400 42nd Ave SW, complete with a free dinner buffet. You can enjoy a clip from one of the previous shows at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmlekISzOPI

Student PortsKiel back

Violence Prevention Initiative

In 2013 Unified Outreach leadership joined with pastors and community leaders in Rainier Valley to combat the rise in youth-on-youth violence, submitting a proposal to the Mayor’s Office aimed at building community programs that strengthen police and community dialogue, provide mentoring services for youth, and give community leaders a support in taking a hands-on role in engaging the issue. Additionally, Unified Outreach has employed the work-readiness-arts program as a means of reaching at-risk and gang affiliated youth, using the arts to break down cultural and economic barriers, build positive self-esteem, and provide mentors, career opportunities, and networking resources.

Special Needs Partnerships

If you ask the Unified Outreach founder Edward Dumas how Unified Outreach got its start, he will tell you that it all started with Alice.

Alice Conover (formerly Toledo) is the mother of Unified Outreach Co-Founder David Toledo. Edward tells us that Alice started a food-bank from the steps of her own home back in the mid 1980’s, while he and David were attending high school together . “The Helpers” was one of the first neighborhood food banks in Seattle, and Alice worked around the clock to build relationships with local grocers; securing quality food that would have been thrown out due to expiration date and delivering it to elderly, disabled, and low income neighbors. Putting in long hours, paying for her own gas, helping her neighbors with food, money for bills, a place to stay if needed, and a friendly ear – Alice taught her children the value of service.

Paul Anton ClipAccording to Edward, David has shared two great memories from growing up in the home. One is that his mother opened her doors to the community, with the food bank but also to anyone in need of temporary shelter. She often hosted families referred by the church, including refugee families from Ethiopia and Vietnam. The other great memory is of his mother spending hours sitting on the front stairs talking with Paul Anton, a young man who was born with cerebral palsy that had limited his speech and upper body motor skills. However, this did not prevent Paul from graduating from Blanchet High School, nor prevent him from fully engaging in great conversation with the use of his feet to spell out words and make sentences on the sidewalk, or if needed, with a pencil held between his toes.

5e5b3-dub2lbzvoaaujez-jpg-largeAlice taught her kids and their friends that everyone has gifts, and everyone can shine if given the opportunity. Fast forward to 2018 and you’ll see the reflection of Paul Anton in the work that Unified Outreach does, such as the staff and student hosted panel at the Emerald City Comic Con, featuring Clayton Bragg. Clayton was also born with Cerebral Palsy, and like Paul Anton he would not let his disability hold him back. Clayton is an aspiring rapper who has also lent his voice to one of the characters in the “Meet the Mascots” cartoon produced at the Unified Outreach center.

the-mascots-cartoon-ribbie-and-jelly-aka-gummy-2

 

 

 

You can find out more about Clayton and Meet the Mascots here: https://kingcountynews.org/2018/03/07/west-seattle-arts-program-gets-animated-at-emerald-city-comic-con/

You can find out more about Paul Anton and Alice here: https://kingcountynews.org/2018/06/25/celebrating-paul-anton-alice-toledo/

Meet the Team!

Another thing that makes Unified Outreach unique and worth celebrating is the long-time volunteer staff who have almost single-handedly funded the program for the last 20 years. The grassroots charity still raises most of the program funding itself, with most coming directly from the volunteer instructors and staff, many who have been with the program over 10 years. But that’s okay say’s Director of Operations April King who does  programming, community outreach, curriculum design, admin duties, and in-class instruction. Oh, and did we mention that she’s also a Cordon Blue trained chef who makes sure that every Fashion Show is complete with a mouth watering buffet?  “We’ve been doing this for so long it’s second nature,” she says. “Every child that comes through the program becomes one of the family. They are all my kids. In the end, it’s all worth it.”

We proudly join Unified Outreach in celebrating 10 years in West Seattle! We hope to see you all at the August 11th Fashion & Runway Expose’!

YOUNG WOMEN FIND EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ARTS IN WEST SEATTLE

4culture-unified-outreach-camera

Unified Outreach has been actively engaged in youth arts programming for nearly two-decades; and for the past 10 years has provided an eclectic catalog of unique programs from the Ginomai Arts Center in West Seattle’s Alaska Junction neighborhood.

August 21st Unified Outreach hosted their annual Youth Fashion Expose; a free community event which provided a top-shelf catered dinner and a raised runway with 20 models showing off the latest designs by Seattle Designers Carlisa Minnis and MAC Fashion House.

But behind the scenes is where the magic happens. The fashion show is part of a work-training program created by Unified Outreach that teaches Middle and High School students the skills necessary to deliver a high end event such as this. Student are trained on a variety of Adobe software programs used to design brochures and flyers, create music mash-ups, and edit photos and videos. Students also learn to construct the raised runway, provide staging ambiance, and operate the sound & lighting board.

april-toonThis year, Unified Outreach Regional Manager for Nevada, Mrs. April Goode returned to Seattle to assist with the 2016 program. April has been active with Unified Outreach for over a decade, serving as Chief of Operations in Seattle before moving to Las Vegas in 2013.

“The reason I am back in Seattle is because I love this program. Of all the different classes we offer this one is closest to my heart because we are not only exposing kids to new artistic mediums, but we’re teaching them how to use those skills out in the real world” April says.

cd-coverThe program, visualized and launched in 2010 by Unified Outreach staff; was presented to Mayor McGinn at a series of town halls. The following year Mayor McGinn and the city began funding the Office of Arts & Culture work-readiness grant program; which provides Unified Outreach and other local Charities with funding to assist with program costs and to provide each youth with a monetary stipend.

April says that she has personally seen lives changed by the program. “We build artistic skills, we focus on resume building, educational tracks, and networking opportunities. But we also focus on team building, communication, and breaking down barriers. All of this comes together to build positive self-esteem; which is the greatest gift we can give our kids”.

And the proof can be seen in the instructors themselves; many of which began the program as students and have now returned to give back to the program that they love.

darrian-splashDarrian started attending classes over 10 years ago, participating in music, dance, and video programs; where she co-hosted the Unified Outreach/SCAN Television program “What’s Good Seattle, the Shop 206”. Today she teaches classes in Fashion/Runway Event Management, as well as summer day camp Cartoon Animation and Video Production programs.

Isis first walked the catwalk six years ago at the pilot work-training program in 2010. This year was her first in the role of Instructor. “I really feel like I identify with the kids in the program. And it feels really good to share the things I’ve learned over the years.”

isis-splash

kiel-splashKiel has been participating in Unified Outreach classes for as long as she can remember. From traditional drawing and painting, to contemporary dance, cartooning, music, and video. This year was her first as a program instructor for the Cartoon Animation Summer Day Camp.

Karla participated in the work-readiness program in 2013 and this year returned as an instructor for the Runway program. Now 18, Karla is also using the contacts she made through the program to pursue her own career in Fashion and Design.

student-splash-1

Unified Outreach Co-Founder David Toledo stated that it’s only natural that Unified Outreach would have strong leaders such as April and the previously mentioned students-turned-teachers.

“The Unified Outreach program was really inspired by my mother Alice; who in the early 1980’s opened a food bank from the steps of our own home. Mom was so creative, with a “lead by example” attitude, and a fearless advocate for kids, seniors, those with special needs, and really anyone who needed help. And my sister Diana Toledo-Palmer is the same way. She’s such a great example and inspiration for me. She’s a leader in the community; active in so many community organizations and working so hard to make West Seattle a better place for our children”, David Said.

Unified Outreach is located in West Seattle. More information is available at www.UnifiedOutreach.com

WEST SEATTLE GETS ANIMATED

mascot-split-david-toledo-2

October 19, 2016 – The Alaska Junction District of West Seattle is known as an Artist hub so it’s no surprise that it’s home to one of Seattle’s favorite cartoonists, David Toledo. David is the Program Manager for the Unified Outreach youth-arts program which has operated for nearly 2 decades and regularly teaches a summer and winter break day-camp with a focus on cartoon animation.

meet-the-mascots-cartoon-david-toledo-seattleDavid’s current project is called “the Mascots” which when completed will be a 30-minute animated feature scheduled to debut at the 2017 Emerald City ComiCon.  As with most 30-minute cartoon programming the time will be divided into 3 individual cartoon shorts averaging about 10 minutes each.  The first 10-minute episode titled “Join the Band” is currently viewable at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTUZ60sbfR8

 

 What’s the cartoon about?  

The Mascots are 4 friends dealing with peer pressure, girl troubles, and trying to make the “team”. It’s everything you’d expect in the lives of your average, all-American, teenage…. Animorphs?

the-mascots-cartoon-able-fader-meets-jelly_david-toledoDavid says “Everyone is familiar with the superstar mascots that strut their stuff through the world’s biggest sports arenas – bringing smiles to children and firing up the fans in the stands! But have you ever wondered about their lives outside of the spotlight? Life BEFORE they made it to the main stage?”

David Toledo is the Creator, Writer, Illustrator, and Animator of “Meet the Mascots” and also voiced multiple characters who appear in the Pilot Episode including the (4) Leads. Joining him for the pilot episode is a small group of voice-over talent that includes some very well known artists in Seattle’s hip hop community.

Meet the Voices featured in the Pilot Episode:

credits end MASCOTS

robert-anderson-dj-icemanRobert Anderson (DJ Iceman) has been a DJ for 33 years. originally from Brooklyn, New York; he’s been a staple in the South Sound Music scene since he moved to Tacoma Washington in 2007. He is a proud member of 206 Zulu and has been a Wu-Tang DJ since 2011. you can currently hear him on Wednesdays at 7 pm on www.wild1radio.com on his “Sure Shot” radio show.

 

c-dogg-clayton

Clayton Bragg (C-Dogg) is a rapper and video-blog host living in Edmonds, Washington (just north of Seattle).  Born in Des Moines and raised in Snohomish County, Clayton graduated high school in 2009 as a proud Panther.

Clayton was born with conical heart defect and cerebral palsy, but that has not stopped him from pursuing his love of music.  You can follow C-Dogg on twitter at handicapbragg, or at https://www.youtube.com/user/rappercdogg.

mz-music-girl2

Christina Virgillo-Emery (Mz. Music Girl) is a DJ at Zulu Radio and can be heard at www.kbcs.fm or on 91.3 fm.

Born and raised in Culver City (L.A.), California, Mz. Music Girl moved to Washington State in summer 1995, and became a member of 206ZULU in 2005. She enjoys music, turntablism, traveling,  arts & crafts,  sports, and many other things!

 

cinnamon-2

Cinnamon Rosa the founder of Village Keepers; a youth-focused outreach program in Tacoma, Washington; and a  Food Equity Leader for the Puyallup Watershed Initiatives Just & Healthy Food System.  Cinnamon’s role within the “Meet the Mascots” project also includes script consultant and character development.

 

 

faderAble Fader is veteran Hip Hop DJ, Music Producer, Event Promoter, Mobile DJ, Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Recording Artist. Able has been creating art within Hip Hop culture since 1987 and DJing since 1994. He is founding resident of (((THE JAM))) a popular Hip Hop club night on second Fridays at Vermillion on Seattle’s Capitol Hill as well as HOME SLICE a monthly showcase of local NW Hip Hop talent at Seattle’s historic The Crocodile. Able collaborates actively with many of Seattle’s most respected artists and is a member of both 206 Zulu and the Filthy Fingers United producer collective. http://fade.graphics
Music/Mobile DJ Website: Thubba Thubba: http://thubbathubba.com

voices-staff

 

Additionally, there will be plenty of opportunities for local artists to partner on the project as it moves forward. There is a Facebook page where updates will post; as well as open-calls for voice-over artists, cosplay actors/actresses, and others interested in being part of the program.

FACEBOOK PAGE:

https://www.facebook.com/SeattleMascots/posts

VIDEO CLIP:

UNIFIED OUTREACH YOUTH ARTS PROGRAM

www.UnifiedOutreach.com

Donation Splash 3

YOUNG WOMEN FIND EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ARTS IN WEST SEATTLE

4culture-unified-outreach-camera

Unified Outreach has been actively engaged in youth arts programming for nearly two-decades; and for the past 10 years has provided an eclectic catalog of unique programs from the Ginomai Arts Center in West Seattle’s Alaska Junction neighborhood.

August 21st Unified Outreach hosted their annual Youth Fashion Expose; a free community event which provided a top-shelf catered dinner and a raised runway with 20 models showing off the latest designs by Seattle Designers Carlisa Minnis and MAC Fashion House.

But behind the scenes is where the magic happens. The fashion show is part of a work-training program created by Unified Outreach that teaches Middle and High School students the skills necessary to deliver a high end event such as this. Student are trained on a variety of Adobe software programs used to design brochures and flyers, create music mash-ups, and edit photos and videos. Students also learn to construct the raised runway, provide staging ambiance, and operate the sound & lighting board.

april-toonThis year, Unified Outreach Regional Manager for Nevada, Mrs. April Goode returned to Seattle to assist with the 2016 program. April has been active with Unified Outreach for over a decade, serving as Chief of Operations in Seattle before moving to Las Vegas in 2013.

“The reason I am back in Seattle is because I love this program. Of all the different classes we offer this one is closest to my heart because we are not only exposing kids to new artistic mediums, but we’re teaching them how to use those skills out in the real world” April says.

cd-coverThe program, visualized and launched in 2010 by Unified Outreach staff; was presented to Mayor McGinn at a series of town halls. The following year Mayor McGinn and the city began funding the Office of Arts & Culture work-readiness grant program; which provides Unified Outreach and other local Charities with funding to assist with program costs and to provide each youth with a monetary stipend.

April says that she has personally seen lives changed by the program. “We build artistic skills, we focus on resume building, educational tracks, and networking opportunities. But we also focus on team building, communication, and breaking down barriers. All of this comes together to build positive self-esteem; which is the greatest gift we can give our kids”.

And the proof can be seen in the instructors themselves; many of which began the program as students and have now returned to give back to the program that they love.

darrian-splashDarrian started attending classes over 10 years ago, participating in music, dance, and video programs; where she co-hosted the Unified Outreach/SCAN Television program “What’s Good Seattle, the Shop 206”. Today she teaches classes in Fashion/Runway Event Management, as well as summer day camp Cartoon Animation and Video Production programs.

Isis first walked the catwalk six years ago at the pilot work-training program in 2010. This year was her first in the role of Instructor. “I really feel like I identify with the kids in the program. And it feels really good to share the things I’ve learned over the years.”

isis-splash

kiel-splashKiel has been participating in Unified Outreach classes for as long as she can remember. From traditional drawing and painting, to contemporary dance, cartooning, music, and video. This year was her first as a program instructor for the Cartoon Animation Summer Day Camp.

Karla participated in the work-readiness program in 2013 and this year returned as an instructor for the Runway program. Now 18, Karla is also using the contacts she made through the program to pursue her own career in Fashion and Design.

student-splash-1

Unified Outreach Co-Founder David Toledo stated that it’s only natural that Unified Outreach would have strong leaders such as April and the previously mentioned students-turned-teachers.

“The Unified Outreach program was really inspired by my mother Alice; who in the early 1980’s opened a food bank from the steps of our own home. Mom was so creative, with a “lead by example” attitude, and a fearless advocate for kids, seniors, those with special needs, and really anyone who needed help. And my sister Diana Toledo-Palmer is the same way. She’s such a great example and inspiration for me. She’s a leader in the community; active in so many community organizations and working so hard to make West Seattle a better place for our children”, David Said.

Unified Outreach is located in West Seattle. More information is available at www.UnifiedOutreach.com

West Seattle Reign of Fashion Showers Audience with Creativity

Reign of Fashion WallFashion Flyers

The creativity and passion of youth was on full display at the August 21st Unified Outreach Fashion Expose’ in West Seattle.

Kiel backOn stage were 20 aspiring models broken into two groups; the Little Royals were first-year models ages 5-10; followed by the Reign of Fashion models who ranged from 13-18 years old.  For many this was the first time they had ever walked a runway; but designer Carlisia Minnis from MAC Fashion House spent time with the models during the weeks leading up to the show to be sure that they were comfortable strutting their stuff on the catwalk.Karla stage

Behind the scenes were youth from the Unified Outreach program which consisted of teams of youth ages 13-18 who planned, designed, and delivered the 1 hour program. These teams consisted of Facilities/Stage Set-Up/Sound & Lighting, Promotions/PR/Marketing, Photo & Video Production, and Stage Management/Models/Runway.

David Toledo, one of the event organizers said, “The entire behind the scenes crew was made up of teens from 13 to 18 years old from the work training in the arts program. It can be hard to grasp the magnitude of what these kids were able to produce; especially when you consider that many had no experience of this sort just 4 weeks ago.  But tonight they did the sound and lighting, facilities, photo and video, stage set up, and everything else to deliver this flawless event.”4Culture Red Carpet Unified Outreach

Credit was also given to the program instructors April Goode, Edward Dumas, and Isis West-Goode; as well as the SYVPI counselors Nani, Lensy, Merry, and J’Quai who provided additional support to the kids during the 4 weeks of classes.

In the audience was a mixture of both local and national personalities, sports stars, political figures, media personalities, major advertising agencies, and merchandizing and department store buyers; provided the youth an excellent opportunity to network with industry leaders and local heroes who were available for the meet & greet following the show.

The annual event is made possible with a financial grant from the Office of Arts & Culture, a technology grant from 4Culture, and a facility usage grant from West Seattle Christian Church.  Once all of the funding is in place Unified Outreach partners with the staff at SYVPI and SW Family Services to recruit youth ages 13-18 to participate in the program.

The work-readiness-in-arts partnership was created during the Mike McGinn mayoral era;  a result of Unified Outreach members engaging Mayor McGinn at art-related town halls.  Unified Outreach presented the idea that the City wasn’t doing enough by simply funding arts classes; but that kids need networking opportunities, as well as education and career tracks once the art class/workshop has ended.  Mayor McGinn was receptive and in 2011 the City launched the work-readiness grant program.

TKG Dance CrewAnd on Sunday, August 21, 2016 the Unified Outreach non-profit youth arts Charity took work-readiness programs to a whole other level with a custom designer fashion show that would put some industry-level entertainment companies to shame. The event was hosted by local celebrity Sammy Tekle, with music performances by Ali Rahimi, dance routine by TGK Dance Crew, and featuring a fully catered dinner by Goode Girls.

In addition to the custom design outfits by MAC Fashion House; this year Unified Outreach also welcomed Lu LaRoe who provided the outfits for the Little Royals.Runway walk

The Unified Outreach Work-Training in the Arts program returns in 2017. Visit http://www.UnifiedOutreach.com for details.

IMG_0999

The buffet and desert selection was provided free by Goode Girls Catering.

The event was held a the WSCC Exhibition Hall at 4400 42nd Ave SW.

 

For further information please visit www.UnifiedOutreach.com, email UnifiedOutreach@hotmail.com, or call 206-371-1139.

 

Hip Hop Royalty Theatrical Debute

(Seattle, Washington) June 17-18, 2016 marks the highly anticipated return of Hip Hop emcee, producer, and organizer Danny “King Khazm” Kogita, with a double album release and theater production entitled “Diaries of a M.A.D.” The first show at the newly renovated Historic Washington Hall.

Diaries of a M.A.D. is an interdisciplinary installation, uniquely bridging music, cinema, and performing arts in an intimate exploration of struggle and perseverance. The album is laden with crisp snares, warm kicks, and dusty samples produced by members of Dev From Above, Third Eye Bling and Khazm and his beat crew, The Konstructicons. The soundscapes of this autobiographical essay paint a dark lacquer of social commentary.

The stage show produced by Olisa “Spyc-e” Enrico, is an artistic interpretation of how a biracial, disabled youth was able to overcome challenges in Seattle’s South end. An amalgam of Hip Hop, Japanese culture and disability awareness; the conceptual musical performances, blended with visual projections, dance and theatrical segments, push the boundaries of what is and what can be.

In 2003, King Khazm, along with his rap group- Cyphalliance, emerged onto the Northwest Hip Hop scene with exceptional response with debut album “Industreets.” A barrage of technological mishaps and life prevented the long awaited follow up album from seeing the light of day- until now.

One decade later, Living as a M.A.D. has been miraculously recovered, and after several months of extensive reconstruction, the album will finally be released. This sonically diverse project, recorded at Seattle’s renown Pharmacy, includes production by Jake One, Vitamin D, DJ Tre, Kitone, and others. The soundscape ranges from socially conscious lyrics to smooth melodic vocals.

Diaries of a M.A.D. and Living as a M.A.D. both release on Fresh Chopped Beats / MADK Productions and will be available at iTunes, Amazon.com and finer Hip Hop specialty stores.

For more information and announcements, visit www.freshchoppedbeats.com

King Khazm “Diaries of a M.A.D.” Theatrical Experience
June 17-18, 2016
Washington Hall
153 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Doors 7:00pm / Curtain 8:00pm
$25 General / $35 VIP / $5 Students 18 & Under
Tickets at BrownPaperTickets.com

 

“AVA GOES” ~ MOTHER/DAUGHTER WRITING TEAM RELEASES AUTISM-AWARENESS BOOK SERIES

September 22, 2015 – Autism is a brain disorder that is characterized by difficulties in some social interaction, difficulties in motor coordination, and sometimes repetitive behaviors.  But children with autism often excel in other areas; such as creative arts, visual skills, and mathematics.

Ava J. Clark, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2 is one of those gifted children, and along with her mother Alicia Coleman-Clark have decided to release a line of children’s books to encourage families who are also dealing with autism.

The “Ava Goes” series follows Ava on various adventures such as a trip to the dentist and to the beach.  These wonderful beginner books are fun to read aloud and makes a great bedtime story. We believe this series will soon to be a favorite among parents, beginning readers, teachers, and librarians.

Ave Book Tour

Alicia says that it’s her hope that Ava will continue to write these books and keep the series alive long after Alicia is gone.  Hopefully with Ava’s own children one day.

Ava and her mother are currently on a local book tour which most recently included the West Seattle Barnes & Noble.

Alicia is also working with families, teachers, and education systems as an advocate with hopes of developing lasting partnerships that involve bringing the Ava Goes series to elementary schools.

Recently, Ava also made an appearance in the “LOVE YOURSELF” anti-bullying song by KHARI (video link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21LHPg57nxg&feature=share)

Khari

Alicia Coleman-Clark (and Miss Ava) can be reached at ARCC22@Aol.com

“Ava Goes” books can be ordered from http://www.avagoes.com/ and at bookstores everywhere.

Amazing list of honorees at the Robert Stephens, Jr. Awards ceremony

Awards winnerss June 20, 2015 Seattle’s Central District came together to celebrate long time advocates for youth, arts, social justice, and stronger neighborhoods; honoring some of Seattle’s most legendary names.

“We selected men who personally impacted us. The men in the room are the ledges whose shoulder we stand on.” Said Garfield Community Center Director Andre Franklin. Another member of the advisory committee stated that seeing so many true community leaders in one place left them “in awe”.

The event was birthed from a partnership between B.U.I.L.D. (Brothers United In Leadership Development), Unified Outreach, and the Garfield Community Center Advisory Board; along with Seattle Parks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and 4Culture.

The event featured a full buffet spread with home style chicken, macaroni, greens, and corn bread. An incredible meal that in itself was worthy of celebration.pic food

Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle2
Vicious Puppies aka Dog Pound

Music and MC duties were provided by DJ Surreal (aka George Yasutake), and guests were treated to a gravity defying performance from one of Seattle’s hottest breakdance groups, the Vicious Puppies (aka Dog Pound). Last month the Vicious Puppies brought their dramatic stage presentation of “Black and Blue” to the Neptune Theatre. The play brings social conscience and race relations to the front lines with a true-to-life story based on actual events. The play has received great reviews and the group is looking to expand the touring calendar throughout the summer. The Puppies have also played the main stage at the Sasquatch tour and other large venue events and are quickly becoming one of Seattle’s most in-demand groups.

Award Hampton
James Hampton receives his award.

Award honorees included well known community leaders who have served the people of Seattle for decades; as well as shining stars actively making a difference today.

The event recognized Mike Yasutake, John Yasutake, Gregory Davis, Aaron Dixon, Elmer Dixon, Bishop Ray Rogers, Steve Sneed, James Hampton, Reco Bembry, Guy Davis, and Larry Evans.

Each award recipient was introduced by someone who had a personal story of how the award winner had impacted their life.  The microphone was then handed to the award winner who then shared their own story about who had most impacted them.  The ceremony was full of humor and laughter, as well as somber moments and tears of gratitude.

IMG_20150620_115319 The afternoon culminated with the honoring and awarding of the new Robert Stephens, Jr. Community Service plaque which will hang in the Garfield Community Center.

Robert Stephens, Jr. has been a fixture in Seattle’s Central District for over 35 years. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Mr. Stephens, Jr. began serving the community after completing his tour in 1968. Mr. Stephens, Jr. has a Masters Degree in Education Psychology, is a K-12 teacher and school counselor, and has worked with Seattle Public Schools, Langston Hughes Cultural Art Center, Neighborhoods House, and Washington State Reformatory.

RSJ award
Robert Stephens, Jr.

Mr. Stephens, Jr. has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations and governmental advisory committees over the years; and has had a hand in the establishment of Odessa Brown Health Clinic, Madrona Dance Studio (now Spectrum), Medgar Evers Swimming Pool, and dozens of other programs that are now an established part of the community.

Mr. Stephens, Jr. has served as the President of the Central Area Neighborhood District Council; founded the Seattle Central Area Cultural Arts Commission, and helped in the creation of Homer Harris Park.IMG_20150620_115407

When presenting the award, Garfield Community Center Advisory Council Member David Toledo stated “When we began searching for someone that exemplified the community spirit; someone who was a true advocate for our youth, for the arts, and for the neighborhood; we all knew right away that it was time to honor Robert Stephens, Jr.”

-JP Scratches