Artist as Storyteller

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Supported by the Seattle Colleges Performing Arts Fund, the Artist as Storyteller speakers series welcomes BIPOC artists, performers, and activists to share their work and connect with students about what it means to be an artist in today’s social and cultural climate. The series emphasizes the art-making and storytelling process as it relates to the individual and community.

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Artist as Storyteller Blog

POST 1: SAT FEB 20 21

Adaptation, Resiliency, and Environmental Justice


A change in structure, function, or behavior by which a species or individual improves its chance of survival in a specific environment.
See: Radioactive Blueberries (Feral Atlas)


The ability to withstand hardship, adapt and growth through adversity, and emerge with greater strength than before the hardship.
See: Jellyfish polyps (Feral Atlas)

Environmental Justice

The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.
See: Got Green

Image: 'Acceleration', by Feifei Zhou with Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho. Courtesy Feral Atlas

Image: Invasion (detail), by Feifei Zhou with Nancy McDinny and Andy Everson. Courtesy Feral Atlas 

Our theme for winter/spring 2021 season, Adaptation, Resiliency, and Environmental Justice, emerged from the realization that the process of making art and the experience of being a student both come with great challenges and new possibilities in the Covid-19 era. We cannot safely gather in the community spaces of classrooms, theaters, or music venues. We have experienced and born witness to economic devastation, racial inequities, insecurity of healthcare systems, the violence of failing political systems, and a changing climate that has wrought havoc on our more-than-human world.   

However, art making, activism, and academic study persists and provides a refuge and space for reflection in this time of isolation. Artists, performers, and activists are on the cultural front lines of helping us understand the melding of the "before-time" of Covid with the possibilities of the future through new forms of digital and adaptive storytelling.

In bringing students and artists together in conversation we hope to create a new community formed with a foundation of resiliency and persistence shared by all.

We invite you to reflect on your own stories of adaptation, resiliency, and the struggle for environmental justice as you join in conversation with the artists of our 2021 winter/spring season.


Post 2: FRI FEB 19 21

Call to Artists: Social Justice Collage Workshop

Social Justice Collage Workshop

A four-week, virtual/online workshop in March & April 2021 with Kolaj Institute

Deadline to apply: 
March 13 2021

Collage artists with a passion for equal rights and equitable opportunities for all are invited to apply for Kolaj Institute’s Social Justice Collage Workshop, a four-week program designed to provide a foundation for the intersection of collage and social justice with the end result of creating a collage for an exhibition in May.

Early social justice advocates focused on issues such as the distribution of capital, property, and wealth because of the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor at the time. Since then, the term social justice has adapted to include the environment, race, gender, and other causes and manifestations of inequality with a focus on human rights and improving the lives of disadvantaged and marginalized groups.

The workshop is designed to explore the purpose, meaning, context, history and problems of social justice through collage making, discussion, examination of other artists’ work, and hearing from dynamic speakers who make and curate social justice collage. Participants will engage with each other via Slack and meet once a week on Zoom for four weeks. The workshop faculty is Elaine Tassy, Gerald Leavell, Rachel Monique Walker, and G.E. Vogt.

The workshop is intended for self-motivated artists, at any stage in their career, who want to develop a practice of making artwork in response to social injustice. The workshop focuses on creating collage that addresses modern issues and current political concerns. The workshop is open to artists anywhere in the world.


POST 3: THU FEB 18 21

Turn on WA Notify! 

On Tuesday, March 9, we’ll kick off the Artist as Storyteller series with Seattle-based drag performers, Butylene and One.

Until then, check out One’s cameo in the recent “Turn on WA Noftify!” PSA, created by performance artist and dancer Alyza DelPan-Monley, who enlisted the help of several Seattle-based LGBTQ+ and BIPOC performers. Their PSA is meant to encourage folx to enable their smartphones to use Washington Exposure Notificaiton (WA Notify), which helps prevent COVID-19 transmission by allowing folks to track whether they’ve been exposed through smartphone alerts. You can read more about the process of creating the PSA here.