Volunteer Spotlight: Angela Xun

A Chinese woman in her 20s, Angela, looks off to one side with the skyline of Seattle behind her

Arts Corps is happy to welcome our newest volunteer, Angela Xun! Angela joined us at the start of this new calendar year and was quick to jump in, helping us with events and communications. She wrote a little about herself so we can all get to know her better:

Hi! I’m Angela (she/her), a senior majoring in Gender, Women and Sexuality studies at the University of Washington. I have been a big fan of arts and media from my early years in the orchestra and later college time in dance teams. The loving and supportive environment that the dance community has provided during my college years encouraged me to foster a culture as open and nurturing as the ones I had experienced. In return, I decided to learn and support arts education and to be part of the arts community while incorporating my major in Gender, Women and Sexuality studies. The diversity, equality and inclusion perspectives that Arts Corps holds resonate with my studies by providing practical events, behaviors and systems in advocating youth arts education and eliminating barriers on art accessibility. 

Arts education was crucial to me throughout my whole life. In my K-12 period, playing the flute and piano in an orchestra fostered my interest in classical music and concerts. During my college years, minoring in Dance and living in an art-rich community has encouraged me to embrace transnational art cultures. In this loving community, I choreographed an experimental dance piece, blending street style and contemporary as a reflection on my dance journey.

As globalized as the world is becoming, we have the chance of exchanging art cultures and values between countries, artists, musicians, filmmakers and many others. With the growth of NGOs like Arts Corps, young people can gain more access to arts education and gain more opportunities to be inspired, like Joe Hisaishi’s youth interview.

One of my favorite dancers who has continuously inspired me is Bada Lee(ins@badalee__). Not only her style but also her technique, texture and the way she listens to music are inspirational and pleasing to watch.

I’m very excited to be part of Arts Corps and willing to be involved and incorporate my studies into praxis!

We’re excited to have you in our team, Angela!

Read More

Community Spotlights: Daybreak Star Radio Network, Red Eagle Soaring,  yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective

As we come to the end of November, which is Native American Heritage Month, we wanted to spotlight local Indigenous organization who do incredible work. These group share our belief in the transformative power of creativity, and use it in order to create impact in our community. We hope that you support them not only now, but throughout the whole year.

Daybreak Star Radio Network logo, a circle that's half white, half black, mirrored images of thunderbird flying towards a sun

Daybreak Star Radio works to indigenize the airwave. An active program of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, this online international radio station is dedicated to giving voice to new and established Native American musical artists across all genres of music and across all of the Americas. 90% of their music is played, composed, and/or produced by Native Americans. The other 10% is music from those who specifically support Indigenous causes or have spent significant time learning Native instruments and styles.

Their musical, educational, cultural, and language arts programming helps reconnect Indigenous people to their heritage by strengthening their sense of belonging and significance as a people. The radio’s varied content helps reflect the different life experiences of indigenous communities and celebrates their resilience, talent, and creativity.  

In a recent interview with King 5, DJ Big Rez spoke to the significance of this work, “It’s just music, but it’s an art form. I’ve learned it’s an energy. It’s important to just highlight these people, you know, it’s their art, it’s their story.”

Listen to Daybreak Star Radio and donate here.

Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre logo, with red words and a red eagle flying left in Coast Salish style

Red Eagle Soaring mentors Native youth as they learn about the technical aspects and process of theatre. They have staged over 180 productions, and supported youth access to the healing power of Native cultural traditions which promote social, physical, and intellectual engagement.

Their programming cycle begins early in the year, rehearsing for a play which performs late spring/early summer. In August, they offer an intensive 2-week summer theatre workshop, called Seattle Indigenous Youth Art & Performance (SIYAP), in which youth explore traditional and contemporary performing arts and create a final public performance at the end of the camp.  Then during fall and winter, they offer various workshops including creative writing, Basic and Advanced acting skills, music-focused workshops, Short Film projects, and more. 

Their work often ties in directly to the Pacific Northwest and to issues which indigenous communities face. Their programming provides not only a space for self-expression, but creates a community in which Native arts and life ways are celebrated. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, Red Eagle Soaring opened the doors to their first-ever dedicated theater space at Station Space, located in King Street Station. Read more about Red Eagle Soaring and their new space here. Donate to support their work.

yəhaw̓ in white broad-stroke letter, and "together we lift the sky" in typewrite letters over a starry sky

yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective is a community of intertribal Indigenous artists who help improve Indigenous well-being through art-making, community building, and equitable creative opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Their work centers womxn, Two Spirit, and young people and offers opportunities for artists at every stage of their career. These opportunities include exhibitions, installations, performances, residencies, markets, publications, grants, as well as relationship-building and mentorship opportunities with the intent that all participants will gain experience, exposure, and grow sustaining connections. 

The Lushootsheed word “yəhaw̓” means to proceed, to go forward, to do it. It comes from a Tulalip story when, a long time ago, the sky was too low. Tall people kept bumping their heads. Many different communities gathered to do something about it. They spoke different languages, but realized they only needed to know one word in common to understand each other. That word was yəhaw̓. The people made long poles out of saplings and lifted them against the sky. They heaved upwards as they called out yəhaw̓ in unison to synchronize their efforts. After a few tries, they succeeded – changing the world as we know it. The collective is guided by the values, the idea that together we can lift the sky.

One year ago, the collective was able to purchase 1.5 acres of land in Rainier Valley. Since then, they have been working on restoring the land, creating space for art making and ecological education. Learn more about yəhaw̓ and how their purchase is part of a broader land rematration movement here.  Support their work here.

Read More

Community Spotlight: Manny Cawaling on Doors Open

A youth wearing a shirt reading "Make Art Anyway" sitting in front of a doorway, cleaning a glass door
An Art 4 Life intern helps clean the glass door into CAM, to display art behind it.


At Arts Corps, we know the necessity of arts education. The skills built through culturally relevant art classes are the skills necessary to understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us. It is through creativity that we are able to navigate the present, and it is through creativity that we will be able to imagine and create a better future. We also know that the cultural sector in our communities has been facing difficult circumstances. Inequities relating to access that have long existed were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting effects. We start the school year with many art programs in our community endangered, if not already gone. This is why advocacy for arts education and the greater cultural sector is so important. Thankfully, there are people who have been doing the work. 

Inspire Washington is Washington state’s cultural advocacy organization, uplifting the power of science, heritage, and the arts. For several years, they have been working on a program that would increase funding for the cultural sector, thereby increasing access for all people to have culturally meaningful experiences. Recently, they’ve reached a major milestone. Manny Cawaling, Executive Director of Inspire Washington, was kind enough to take a moment amidst the commotion to connect with us and explain what is happening.  

 First, some background: 

Back in 2015, the state of Washington passed a legislature (RCW 36.160) granting local governments power to create a Cultural Access Program in their city or county. This program would be funded by a small sales tax and could make transformative investment in cultural programming. 

So far, two communities in Washington have adapted their own program: Tacoma passed a program in November 2018, called Tacoma Creates and Olympia passed one in the spring of 2022, with the name Inspire Olympia

So, what happened recently?

On Monday, Sep. 25, King County Executive Dow Constantine, introduced legislation to King County Council asking them to adopt the cultural access program. It would be called “Doors Open”. This is a major milestone! 

What does this mean?

“Well,” explained Manny, “It means that, if approved by the council, there would be an increase in public investment for cultural programs of over $90 million a year”. This would be a historic investment in the nation. Washington’s creative industry already represents 10.8% of the state’s GDP, so an active investment in the industry would help develop the local and state economy. Still, the true meaning of a cultural access program would be the impact on the community.

Historically, there have been various communities that have been excluded from cultural programs for a variety of reasons, including cost and cultural relevance. Public funding would help bridge this access gap. It can incentivize organizations to create more diverse offerings, and it would increase the possibilities of new programs happening in more places. “There are kids that live in a city in King County who want to be in a youth choir, but their parents can’t drive them across town to the nearest youth choir. Well, with funding that community could start their own, right?” 

Space is another big issue in King County. Beyond the problematic fact that people who work in the creative sector often can’t afford places to live, we also lack affordable spaces for exhibitions and performances. More funding means we could build more spaces or renovate the ones which already exist. We can make spaces more accessible, so that a greater number of people can enjoy them.  

Finally, the investment would directly impact people. “I know that [when running cultural organizations] half of my budget was always, at least half of my budget was always people.” Manny shared, “I feel very confident that investing over $90 million in cultural programs will build jobs, build cultural and creative jobs.” Not only that, but the jobs which already exist could improve their wages. Currently, the wages in Washington’s cultural sector can’t compete with other industries. As a result, creative and cultural workers are either changing sectors or leaving the state of Washington. This funding can help create the resources which people need to stay in the area and stay in the sector. 

What happens next?

A cultural access program in King County is still not a done deal. It must be approved by the King County Council, who is currently debating it. 

One of the issues that are being discussed is the sales tax which would pay for the program. The tax is modest, $40 per year per household. However, Manny explained that some argue against it because it’s regressive, meaning it disproportionately affects lower-income communities. The argument on behalf of the sales tax is that the program is focused on providing resources to these same low-income communities, who are currently being under-served.  

“I have a really on-the-ground perspective.” Manny tells us, “My dad was a machinist in Boeing. We were a Filipino American family, one-income household, we couldn’t afford a lot of things. But my dad also understood the value of a good deal. He loved museums, so he was always looking in the newspaper and reading newsletters finding out when there were free days, and that is how he pieced together cultural experiences for us. So I will agree that sales tax is regressive. I also understand this program will overdeliver for communities that are low income.”

In the 2022-23 school year, 69% of the youth Arts Corps served were on free or reduced lunch. Many of our families are facing the very real challenges of economic disparity. These same families are the ones who consistently give us the same feedback, quarter after quarter, year after year: provide more programming. Parents and students alike wish there were more classes, on more days, for longer periods of time. They understand the value of art and the fact that their communities deserve to experience the beauty and joy it brings. Our staff and faculty do their best to create as deep of an impact as possible, but we are ultimately restricted by limited funds. Many organizations are in similar positions.  

The rich, tangible value that a Cultural Access Program would provide to our youth, families, and communities is the reason why we must advocate for it to pass. Funding means more access to museums, more art classes, more beauty and joy for everyone. This program is an opportunity for us as the public to prioritize creativity and to invest in ourselves and each other.

How do we help?

The fact that King County Council is debating the Doors Open Program means that we have an opportunity to share our creativity and the deep impact it makes in our life. On Nov. 1st, the council will be holding a hearing that the community can attend virtually. It is important to display large community support, so please attend.

During the hearings, the council will be listening to testimonies. As a community of artists, we understand the power of a story. As a community of artists, now is the time when our stories can spur action. Each testimony lasts only about a minute or two. If you would like to testify about why this issue matters to you on Nov. 1 at 9:30am, you can sign up here. 

Thank you to Manny for helping us understand the significance of this moment, “It matters because there have been people and communities across King County that historically have not had access to programs and that’s not right. There’s no justice in that. Arts Corps is of course an arts organization, but you are also a social justice organization. We need to make sure that the communities that you serve get the same level of access as other communities. This is an urgent need. It’s about equity.”

Learn more about the proposed Doors Open program here. 

—GRECIA M. LEAL PARDO, Development and Communications Coordinator

Read More

Board Spotlight: Kim Hasegawa Darcy

Meet one of our wonderful board members, Kim!

Kim Hasegawa Darcy is the daughter of two amazing educators. She grew up on two coasts as her father was a Professor in upstate NY and her mother a Professor in Seattle. She racially identifies as Japanese American and has embraced her Japanese culture and heritage into her and her family’s lifestyle. She visited Japan every year and eventually lived there while her father was a professor at Hokkaido University. As a graduate of WSU she currently serves students in the Shoreline School District as the District’s Equity Specialist centering BIPOC voices and student outcomes. She is passionate about racial equity work and is honored to serve on the Arts Corps Board. 

What made you decide to become a board member at Arts Corps?
I’ve been a donor and Tanisha invited me in.  I believe that Arts Education is KEY for students and is also a content area where funding in many districts are cut.  I wanted to promote Arts Corps for their amazing work and I’m honored to be a part of it.

What opportunities and challenges do you see ahead for those of us who care deeply about art, young people, and community? 
Funding and access!  That needs to be changed!

Has there been an artist or piece of art which has had a positive impact in your life? 
Music. I love music of most genres.  Music brings me nostalgia, memories, even the gift of youth!  It calms me on stressful days and pumps me up when I need that boost of energy.  I absolutely LOVE going to concerts – recently I have seen Janet Jackson, Madonna, Taylor Swift (with my daughter) and I will go see Peter Gabriel.  My husband and I enjoy Rock, and my daughter and I enjoy pop and Hip Hop.  

What is something that is currently bringing you joy?
Spending time on vacation with my family.  I enjoy warm sunny climates!  I love the fact that my UW sophomore still loves to do Mommy/Daughter trips.  I also love spending time with my 4y/o niece as much as I can.  

Read More

Faculty Spotlight: Adam Collet and Arielle Labra

The Art 4 Life Summer 2023 Arts Corps team at CAM. From left to right: Program Manager Eris Eaton, Teaching Artist Arielle Labra, Teaching Artist Adam Collet. Photo courtesy of CAM.


In Art 4 Life Summer 2023, our youth did a lot! In the course of a week, the interns worked with professional artists at Common Area Maintenance (CAM) in Belltown, learned a variety of new visual arts skills, created 5 different pieces, and hosted a showcase event for the community. It was a whirlwind of laughter, growth, and creativity. At the heart of it all were Arts Corps teaching artists Adam Collet and Arielle Labra. Adam and Arielle were the ones to plan the curriculum, lead the classes, and stand by the youth through their challenges and celebrations. We are so thankful for their work and talent! 

Now that the program has ended, we got the opportunity to learn more about these awesome teaching artist and their thoughts on the internship. 

You both have been teaching artists for Art 4 Life in the past. What made you decide to become a teaching artist? What do you like about this program in particular?

ADAM: I came to teaching late in life,  I never thought I would be a teacher, I guess I resisted the call for a long time. When my own children began school I started to see a real need for quality, relevant art education. That was the beginning for me.

What do I like about Art 4 Life? It’s a chance for students with an interest in art, that might not otherwise have access to higher level art opportunities, to work together intensively and produce a new body of work. This latest iteration of Art 4 Life was great, we were at CAM (Common Area Maintenance) for a week. We worked on book binding, zine making, poster making, collage, printmaking, stencil work, photography, and sign painting. There were probably a couple more things in there too. In the end we had an art show/book binding event to showcase all the awesome student work. Big shoutout to Arielle , my co-teacher, and Timothy and Robert at CAM, and all the CAM artists that pitched in.

ARIELLE: Growing up I lacked representation. When I was in school I didn’t have a teacher whom to look up too, not even my art teachers. So I would like to be “that” teacher for someone. I think representation is key for youth, they are trying to figure out who they are and having teachers that don’t fit the norm is key.

As to Art 4 Life, I like that it’s a very intentional program, its main focus is to expose youth to an artist work environment and teach them new art and work skills for their future careers. I think that art programs are essentials in a students life, there are so many art forms out there. I’m grateful we get a chance to show/teach different art mediums to the youth and that they get a chance to try new things.

What has been a challenge about pursuing art professionally? What has been a reward?

ADAM: Haha, pursuing creative work professionally is not for the faint of heart. There’s of a constant struggle trying to balance personal and professional goals and projects. Rewards? Peace of mind, the reward is all in your head.  

ARIELLE: It has been financially hard, teachers and artists world wide are not compensated fairly for their jobs and time. But I love sharing and being creative with others. It feels my heart with joy when I see young artist believing in their craft and trying new things.

What are some of your own creative practices?

ADAM: I’ve been taking photos for a long time now but lately (the last 2-3 years) I’ve been drawing and painting a lot more. Mostly drawing semiautobiographical short comics. Currently I’m mining a lifetime of memories and seeing how they influence the way I interpret the world. I’m also trying to assemble a box camera I picked up recently.

ARIELLE: Being curious, drawing everything, and keeping an open mind! I always take photos of where I go and whatever catches my attention when I’m walking. I always carry a little sketchbook and pencil with me because you never know when you will find something to draw.

What was one of your favorite moments during the internship?

ADAM: We did some linocut printmaking and seeing the students turn a slab of nothing into beautiful works of art was fantastic. Watching them pull those first prints, it was like watching a magic show. That, and giving them the cameras and toy cameras to take photos. It was very cool to see how they decided to document the work that was happening.  Lastly, maybe just seeing everyone so motivated. We had a couple 15 minute breaks built into the schedule everyday but more often that not students would just keep working. Everyone was just so focused and productive. 

ARIELLE: The students faces when they saw their final projects. They worked so hard to make it happen and it showed in their piece.

Do you have other projects coming up, or anything you would like to share?

ADAM: Nothing I want to mention, don’t want to jinx it.

ARIELLE: I’m slowly but surely diving more into tattooing and just moved into a new studio, so my summer project is to make the place look nice and get new clients!


Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Adam Collet has been taking photographs and making art since childhood. Adam went to school in Seattle, also attended Seattle Central Community College and the UW where he earned a BFA in Photography. In 2008, he began teaching and passing on an interest in art and design to the next generation. Still living in Seattle with wife, children, and cat.

Besides Adam’s photography and illustration work he’s also a Teaching Artist specializing in Visual Art with a focus on integrating Art and STEM disciplines. In addition to Arts Corps, he’s taught classes, and online content for King County Library System; Seattle Public Library; stArt Exploring, a project of Sound Transit; Seattle Parks and Rec; High Point Neighborhood House; Yesler Terrace, Youth Tutoring Program; Family Learning Program; and various schools in Highline and Seattle Public Schools.

Recent projects include Essentially Seattle – photographing essential workers for City of Seattle/SPU, from the Office of Art & Culture; Public Art Program – photographing publicly sited artworks for City of Seattle, from the Office of Art & Culture. Ethnic Artist Roster, Seattle; Creative Advantage Arts Partner Roster, Seattle; ShoreLake Artist Roster, Shoreline.


Arielle A Labra Campos (She/Her/They/Them) is a Queer Latinx artist born to Immigrant parents in Zimbabwe. Moving to South America at the age of 5, living in Chile and Argentina before moving to Seattle in 2018. From an early age, Arielle has explored different art forms to express and find herself. Growing up, they would spend their school breaks at their grandparents beach house in Chile. In summer playing with the waves, the sand and seashells, and in winter Arielle would fill her time with drawings, paintings and crafts. She is inspired by the feeling of belonging and her long-life connection to the sea and their creatures – utilizing blue and purple colorways, and detailed lines and dots to bring her illustrations to life. Her art often combines the creatures of the surface (humans) with oceanic themes. In her work, Arielle brings together elements that sometimes looks like they don’t belong together, bringing harmony and balance to it.

Read More

Partner Spotlight: Common Area Maintenance

A poet stands in front of a microphone with a small crowd sitting in a semicircle around them in CAM.
Margin Shift Poetry Reading: with authors Lila Bonow, Serena Chopra, Michael Haeflinger, Martha Ryan, Ching-In Chen, and Tanya Holtland. August 2022

This summer, Arts Corps is partnering with CAM for the Art 4 Life Summer 2023 internship! It has been such a delight to work with this talented, receptive, and kind group of artists in our journey to create a program in which teens can learn, experiment, and have fun as they get exposed to the world of professional art. CAM is not only a group, but also a space designed to foster creativity and collaboration, and we can’t wait to spend some of our summer there. Get to know CAM a little better by reading below and seeing just a few photos from the very many cool things that they do. 

What is CAM and what do y’all do? How did you come together?
CAM, short for Common Area Maintenance, is a gallery and open-format artist studio located in downtown Seattle. Our mission is to foster meaningful relationships with our member artists and the greater Seattle arts community through creative collaborations and resource sharing. In 2015, we first came together with the idea that creative spaces can be sustainable while remaining wild and rooted in exploring anti-capitalist methodology – both serving as a public benefit and a place to grow in one’s personal practice. One way we foster a sense of wildness in the space is by inviting our artist members and non-members alike to contribute to the curation of shows and events completely free of cost. These shows are also open to the public without any admission fees. So it might be of little surprise that one of CAM’s core values is financial accessibility. From the beginning, we’ve been dedicated to providing affordable space for artists to work and exhibit – and we are thrilled to announce that we have recently transitioned to a sliding scale rent model for our artist members, further enhancing our commitment to financial inclusivity.

What are some of CAM’s creative guiding principles? 
CAM embraces a set of creative guiding principles that revolve around the belief that artists thrive not in isolation, but through collaboration and generous mutual support. In order to foster such an environment, we uphold values of care, flexibility, affordability, accessibility, and unwavering commitment to our labor. Additionally, we cherish joy, play, and celebration – which historically often leads to a lot of karaoke parties!

What role do you think youth arts education has in our Seattle art community? 
We believe that youth-centered education mirrors our aspiration to see all people thrive within the arts and develop a creative voice. More specifically, we trust that youth arts education is the foundation for the next generation of voices in Seattle’s leadership. It provides the material that guides a culture towards radical action, through the lens of self-expression, empowerment, and creativity. We want Seattle’s youth to take over our jobs!

What is something you are excited for in our Art 4 Life program? 
The energy and creative power of young people is unparalleled, so we’re excited to share in that creative space together, while learning from the brilliant teaching artists at Arts Corps. Our time together in preparation has already been so inspiring and we can’t wait to continue – Multi-generational making and sharing is really fun! Another important aspect of this program is the opportunity we have to share with young people that an arts career is a tangible life choice. This feels quite powerful as most member artists at CAM didn’t see that modeled for them in their youth and had to discover or invent their own path. This is a chance to show students that the opportunities to create never stop.

Artists Dani Hopple and Sander Moberg holding up a quilt composed of non-matching squares and a blue border
Artists Dani Hopple and Sander Moberg holding up CAM’s community quilt project. December 2021
An accordion player, a French horn player, and a saxophonist play on a small stage with a sign reading "warm fuzzy feelings"
Warm Fuzzy Feelings: an Exhibition by Alexander Mostov. November 2018
Sepia photo of artists Dani Hopple and Whitney Bashaw, watching a regular color projection on a movable screen outside CAM
Artists Dani Hopple and Whitney Bashaw, watching a live projected poetry reading with author Tanya Holtand. January 2021.


Read More