The boy with the warm brown eyes walked away down the sidewalk, turning back to wave before rounding the corner.
Think about that sentence. Visualize it. What did you picture? A busy city street or a suburban neighborhood? A teenager or a young child?
Whitney Mongé, an Alternative Soul artist originally from Spokane, got her start in the Seattle music scene in 2007. As a street musician, (busking in Pike Place Market), Mongé was enlightened as an artist. It was this time in Pike Place that spurred her into taking up music as her profession.
“I’m reclaiming the hell out of this space!” Rell Be Free’s shout echoed throughout the theater of the Vera Project, accented with dim blue and purple lights. A teenager with homegrown Seattle beginnings as a musician, Rell Be Free was one of the night’s featured musicians. These artists, youth who speak truth to power, prepared to make themselves heard through rap and spoken word performances at the Northwest Folklife Festival.
Through Creative Justice, youth are encouraged to share their stories using art as an alternative to completing traditional probation. Co-director Nikkita Oliver describes the program as offering opportunities to “liberate ourselves in a creative space.”
The 2019 Northwest Folklife Festival featured a new exhibit that put youth arts at the forefront. Fitting with Folklife's 2019 cultural focus of "Youth Rising," the A/NT gallery at Seattle Center featured the showcase of The Hydrant Lounge, a collective of youth arts leaders who came together to promote their work and form lasting partnerships within the art world. With an entrance facing the International Fountain, the central location of The Hydrant Lounge greatly facilitated the Lounge's popularity.
The Hydrant, the organization behind the Folklife display, is a youth-created and youth-led artistic "think tank" that seeks to promote emerging figures in the Seattle arts community. Urging young art creators of all kinds to "tap the Hydrant," the organization gives priority to young creators who, without a platform, may feel isolated in artistic fields that are often dominated by the older generations.