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How do you give adequate notice to the hundreds of Black artists and culture makers who have contributed so much to our Seattle arts community? Well, even though it may seem a largely unattainable goal, you just gotta try. And that’s exactly why Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies project has been so warmly embraced. With the mission to highlight the long-standing, vital, and ongoing role of Black artists and arts organizations in Seattle, Black Arts Legacies launched last year and is now in the midst of releasing 2023 profiles.

The project is a dedicated archive of video profiles, written accounts, portrait photography, and audio stories, weaving intergenerational expressions of the complexities and accomplishments of local musicians, dancers, visual artists poets, performers, curators, and architects. Through these stories, we learn about pioneers in Seattle arts alongside artists currently creating and making a name for themselves.

Black Arts Legacies captures the history of Northwest Black artists in order to avoid the potential erasure and lost histories of the culture bearers whose lives and work have served to shape and mold our community. For instance, did you know that playwright Cheryl West holds the distinction of being Seattle Rep’s most-produced living playwright? Perhaps you’ve heard of Amanda Morgan, who at 26 years old has become Pacific Northwest Ballet’s first African American female soloist. Maybe you’ve heard about the Model Cities programs that once flourished in Seattle, but did you know that program also helped to launch a media-training program that would become the genesis for a video production program at Seattle Central College?

These are the kinds of stories profiled in Black Arts Legacies. These are the stories of Black art, Black artists, and Black arts leadership that have and continue to shape our community.

Learn more about Black Arts Legacies, read profiles, and view videos on Crosscut's website.


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