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Crosscut launches Black Arts Legacies showcasing contemporary and historic Black creators in the Northwest

SEATTLE—Crosscut today launched Black Arts Legacies, a digital archive highlighting the roles Black artists have played in the Northwest’s cultural landscape. For its debut, Black Arts Legacies is featuring 26 creatives spanning decades and artistic disciplines.

Black Arts Legacies was the brainchild of Vivian Phillips, founder of Arte Noir and a longstanding advocate for Black artists, and Dr. Quinton Morris, director of chamber and instrumental music at Seattle University.

“During my time as the co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, I remember feeling extreme exhaustion during the turmoil centered around the brutal murder of George Floyd and racial profiling of Christian Cooper, I wanted to turn my anger into action by healing our community through telling the stories of our local Black artists and organizations, who combat racism and social justice through art and cultural activities daily.”

Dr. Quinton Morris, director of chamber and instrumental music at Seattle University

The archive is supported by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Additional support is provided by Meta and BECU.

“Celebrating Seattle’s Black Artists emboldens our shared knowledge about the impact of Black Culture in Seattle, uplifting both historic understanding and powerful creative work. The Black Arts Legacies celebration elevates our arts sector and helps bring together all audiences as we strive to come together, heal together, and identify positive human connections and commonality.”

City of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

Black Arts Legacies includes written profiles, photos and videos. Crosscut will also produce a Legacies newsletter, podcast and Instagram.

“This project paints a complex portrait of the artists and organizations that help us make sense of who we are as a city and as a region — and only scratches the surface of the important contributions Black people have made to the fabric of Seattle.”

Kemi Adeyemi, project editor of Black Arts Legacies with Jasmine Mahmoud

At launch, Black Arts Legacies will include spotlights on:

  • Al Doggett, painter and graphic designer
  • Anastacia-Reneé, poet and installation artist
  • Barbara Earl Thomas, visual artist
  • Barry Johnson, painter and installation artist
  • Benjamin McAdoo, Jr., midcentury modern architect
  • Dave Lewis, musician, keyboardist, bandleader
  • Donald Byrd, choreographer and dancer
  • Douglas Barnett, theater maker and performer
  • Edna Daigre, dance/movement teacher
  • Elisheba Johnson, curator and artist
  • Ernestine Anderson, jazz singer
  • Esther Ervin, sculptor and jewelry maker
  • Ishmael Butler, musician (of Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces)
  • Jade Solomon, dancer and choreographer
  • James Washington, Jr., painter and sculptor
  • Kabby Mitchell, ballet dancer
  • Laurie Allison Wilson, architect
  • Marita Dingus, sculptor, glass and ceramic artist
  • Mona Lake Jones, poet and author
  • Porter Ray, musician and rapper
  • Sharon Nyree Williams, theater maker and performer
  • Tariqa Waters, curator and installation artist
  • The Black Tones, rock band led by twins Eva and Cedric Walker
  • Tina Bell, punk rock/proto-grunge musician/singer
  • Valerie Curtis Newton, theater maker, and director
  • Zoë Dusanne, visual art curator for midcentury Seattle artists

A celebration of Black Arts Legacies will take place at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on June 16 as part of the annual We Out Here Festival. The event is free and registration is required.


About Crosscut
Crosscut is the Pacific Northwest’s independent, nonprofit news site. We believe an informed
public is essential to solving the challenges of our time. Crosscut strives to provide readers with
the facts and analysis they need to intelligently participate in civic discourse, and to create a more
just, equitable and sustainable society.

  • Online:
  • On Twitter: @crosscut
  • On Facebook: @crosscut

Chris Nelson

About Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) manages the City’s public art program, cultural
partnerships grant programs, the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, ARTS at King Street
Station, and The Creative Advantage initiative in the effort to foster a city driven by creativity that
provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. In
alignment with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, we work to eliminate institutional
racism in our programs, policies and practices. ARTS is supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts
Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council.

  • Online:
  • On Twitter: @seattlearts
  • On Facebook: @seattlearts
  • On Instagram: @seaofficeofarts

Erika Lindsay, Chief Communications Officer
(206) 684-433