The arts community in Seattle needs to take some time out (this Black History Month would be a good time) and support truly local Black arts organizations. We need to end the culture of tokenism in our arts funding and redirect those larger grants to Black-led organizations. Black people should be directing and generating art. We do not need white curators giving the occasional crumb to a Black artist and calling it progress.
Black History in Seattle is extremely important to our team and our larger Divaland community. Before COVID we used to highlight all of the amazing events that would occur during this time.
In a post-0COVID world, let’s move beyond just attending a show to becoming contributors to several Seattle Black Arts Organizations.
The time is now to have a reckoning of how we approach this historic month and give towards the organizations and groups that support the Black community.
Giving to the following Seattle Black arts organizations is not new for us. We love CD Forum for Arts and Ideas, Wa Na Wari, and the NW African American Museum and their work, and we will continue to support them as the fight for justice continues.
Seattle’s Black History Month – Give to These Fabulous Seattle Black Arts Organizations and Groups
Team Diva has given and will continue to give to these three amazing Black arts organizations. There are so many fabulous Black Seattle arts organizations that go unnoticed. Seattle Artist Trust created a list of so many more than who we are highlighting.
Hopefully, the list they created will lead them to actually funding more BIPOC artists and organizations. We are highlighting the CD Forum for Arts and Ideas, Wa Na Wari, and the NW African American Museum because we are already proud supporters of these groups. Feel free to spread the love here and with so many other amazing organizations.
Get out your Diva purse and let’s get to donating.
Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas
Blackness is Not a Month it states on the CD Forum for Arts and Ideas website. And nothing is more true. The CD Forum needs to be our go-to arts organization for pushing the envelope on performance art.
We keep hoping that other arts organizations in the city will better represent Black artists. Instead, we should just be giving all of our money to organizations already representing Black artists. In an interview, we did with Seattle artist Dani Tirrell last year, they stated the need to fund this organization so well.
“The organization I want to see folks really support is the Central District Forum [for Arts & Ideas]. I keep saying, we are just as powerful as Seattle Theatre Group and On the Boards, but we don’t have the capital to bring international black artists here, for black audiences and local artists whose own work can grow in that setting.”
Imagine a world where the CD Forum was fully funded for greatness. Make that donation here >
WA Na Wari
Team Diva has seen firsthand the ravages of gentrification and what it has done to our historic Central District neighborhood. Wa Na Wari sits at the heart of Seattle’s Central District which was 80 percent Black in the 1970s. Today, it is less than 14 percent Black.
The housing policies that Seattle has put in place have permanently displaced artists and Black homeowners who cannot keep up with property taxes and repairs. Wa Na Wari really understands that providing Black artists housing, a place to exhibit work, and an opportunity to network with all levels of the art world will create a more sustainable path for Seattle artists.
Not only that, they are supporting an elderly Black homeowner in the building where Wa Na Wari is. Imagine a world where there wasn’t just one Wa Na Wari house, but an entire neighborhood. Make a donation here >
NW African American Museum
There is no history in many ways without someone or something to preserve that history. Our Diva Dweller Jackie Peterson was one of the curators and designers of the Seattle Black Panther exhibit at the NW African American Museum several years ago. The exhibit really detailed and brought the light that we only have school breakfasts now because of the Panthers. There is still a medical clinic here in Seattle serving the community because of the Black Panthers.
As we all learned this last Fall when Jackie was on the Roy & Kim show, the vast majority of leaders at Museums are white. Our institutions are only preserving white culture, and showing it to school kids on the occasional trips to museums. Donating and creating space for our larger Seattle community to really see our FULL history is critical. This is especially true as we are dealing with homegrown terrorists who believe so strongly in propaganda.
Thank You For Supporting These Seattle Black Arts Organizations With Us
Once again there are many amazing Black Seattle Arts Organizations in our city. Kim and Chavi have specifically been dedicated to the CD Forum for Arts and Ideas, Wa Na Wari, and the NW African American Museum over the last several years. Please take a moment to imagine what a world we could live in if we invested FULLY in our Black arts community.
We all know that the majority of major arts groups primarily fund white older artists. They are slow to understand their behaviors of tokenism in their funding processes, and slower to still to react. What we need to do as patrons is to get out of the lane of donating to these traditional organizations and push ALL of our funding to BIPOC centered organizations. The time is now to be the community that we all need!