West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
An empty-for-a-while South Delridge space is filling up fast with dreams and plans.
Artist Jake Prendez and partner Judy Avitia-Gonzalez are transforming the storefront at 9414 Delridge Way SW into Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery. It will be a place to share, show, learn, explore, and sell art – a place they hope will connect an art-making and art-loving community that is otherwise “fragmented,” scattered around the region.
Nepantla, in the Aztec language Nahuatl, “describes being in the middle or the space in the middle,” explains their flyer about the project, continuing:
The term was popularized by Chicana writer/scholar Gloria Anzaldua. Most often the term references endangered communities, cultures, or genders who, due to colonialism/marginalization or historical trauma, engage in resistance strategies of survival. Nepantla becomes the alternative space in which to live, heal, function, and create.
Jake lives in West Seattle; Judy, in White Center, where she went to high school at Evergreen. She is especially excited about the prospect of workshops for youth: “We didn’t have anything like this,” particularly a place where the area’s growing Latino population can feel welcome.
Creating this space in this area is important to them both. Jake says he was getting offers to take over spaces elsewhere – Columbia City and Beacon Hill, for example – but wanted to hold out for “the perfect space.” This one, he is certain – found by Judy – is it.
And others share his vision. He says a youth arts program he’s been running at the Rainier Cultural Arts Center in Columbia City for Northwest Folklife will move to Nepantla once it’s open, with its 13-to-18-year-old participants in the program, Próxima Generación, meeting every other Wednesday afternoon/evening.
Workshops for adults will be offered too, and collaborative events where people can “work together (and) learn from each other,” Jake says. He also expects new gallery shows each month – focused on marginalized communities – and retail space where locals can sell their work. “Not just my stuff!” he smiles – though his work will bring a national reputation – here’s some of what he showed us during our conversation:
From retail to workshop space, it will all be housed in Nepantla’s ~1,100 square feet (between Fresh Flours and Hoang Kim), as well as some furniture visitors can use to “engage with the space” – armchairs, for example.
Both Jake and Judy have lived in Los Angeles and say their inspiration is from many community spaces they’ve encountered there. And they know Nepantla will evolve “once the community starts engaging.” Already, while it’s still taking its initial shape, “a lot of folks are asking, ‘what can I do?'” Jake says.
One answer: They’re crowdfunding to help cover the cost of the buildout, which is already well under way. A grant from 4Culture is helping too – though the second half isn’t available until they’re open. When we visited earlier this week, they were working on the walls and the floors, and a point of pride for a community space, an all-new restroom.
They hope Nepantla will be open sometime in December. You can help support it by going here.
Most months, you’ll find WordsWest Literary Series bringing writers to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) on the third Wednesday. This month, however, because of the holiday, the free event is happening on the fourth Wednesday – three days away, 7 pm November 28th! Here’s what’s planned:
Join WordsWest on this special date as three Bellingham writers bring you a feast of words to satiate your post-Thanksgiving hunger for top-notch writing. Bruce Beasley will read poetry, Suzanne Paola non-fiction, and Carol Guess will surprise us with her genre-acrobatics! For the fifth year in a row, our November event will feature a bake sale with 100% of the proceeds given to the West Seattle Food Bank, and a food bank volunteer will share their favorite poem.
Bruce Beasley is a professor of English at Western Washington University and the author of eight collections of poems, most recently All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, 2017).
Carol Guess is the author of nineteen books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered, Doll Studies: Forensics, and Tinderbox Lawn. In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University. She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.
Suzanne Paola’s latest works of nonfiction are Make Me a Mother(W.W. Norton) and Curious Atoms (Essay Press). She is also author of Body Toxic, A Mind Apart, and the novella Stolen Moments. Awards include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, and an Oprah Bookshelf pick.
Every third Wednesday at C & P Coffee Company, WordsWest hosts literary events that range from readings by published local and national authors, to guided writing explorations. Each month we also host a community member to share his or her favorite poem as part of the Favorite Poem Project. WordsWest is curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich, and Harold Taw.
C & P is at 5612 California SW.
11:11 AM: A pedestrian was hit by a driver just outside the north end of the Farmers Market. The east side of California/Oregon is taped off. Avoid the intersection for a while. The victim, a man, was conscious; we are trying to find out more about his condition.
11:22 AM: The victim will be taken to Harborview by Medic 32. The rest of the SFD response is clearing but police still have the east side of the intersection taped off.
12:02 PM: Just went back to check – police have cleared the scene and the street has reopened.
Though the recently approved city budget takes a big step toward the long-sought Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout, it’s still at least a few years off, and the city has planned some interim changes for the increasingly busy intersection. What was announced last month has raised some questions, so SDOT will be in Highland Park this Wednesday for a community discussion/briefing. From Highland Park Action Committee chair Charlie Omana:
In October, the Seattle Department of Transportation informed the Highland Park Action Committee of proposed small changes to the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St to promote safety while we continue to wait for the installation of a roundabout.
Upon further consideration, neighbors determined that some of these small changes would not be beneficial, effectively cutting off access to their homes. In response, SDOT has removed the elements of concern and plans to move forward with the improvements.
Because neither HPAC nor neighbors were consulted in the original development of these plans, SDOT has offered to meet with the community to discuss the changes and listen to neighborhood concerns. This will not be a regular meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, and will be presided over by HPAC’s Vice-Chair, Mr. Gunner Scott. We hope you will be able to attend, but otherwise look forward to your participation at our next full HPAC meeting in January.
The meeting is set to start at 6:30 pm Wednesday (November 28th) at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
(Dark-Eyed Junco, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
PATHFINDER WREATH SALES: West Seattle’s most legendary handmade holiday wreaths, raising money for outdoor education at Pathfinder K-8, are on sale in The Junction today, 10 am-2 pm at the KeyBank corner. (California SW/SW Alaska)
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: Freshness continues into fall at this year-round market, 10 am-2 pm in the street in the heart of The Junction. And visit the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle booth at the south end of the market if you haven’t yet bought your ticket(s) for next Saturday’s pancake breakfast! (California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)
DUWAMISH LONGHOUSE NATIVE NW HOLIDAY GIFT FAIR: 10 am-5 pm, at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse in West Seattle.
Details in our calendar listing. (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)
CAMPFIRE JAM: New monthly jam session starts tonight at Parliament Tavern, 7 pm:
Acoustic singalong campfire jam for all! Join us at the Parliament Tavern on the last Sunday of each month starting 11/25. Bluegrass pickers and folksingers, lets unite together. Bring a song to share, come lead us in a group singing song from our songbook, or just sit back and lurk on the sidelines. If you are a bluegrass or old-time picker looking to expand, this is the jam for you. All acoustic instruments welcome.
The Parliament is 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
FREE ALL-AGES YOGA: 7:30 pm Yin and Yoga Nidra session at Bikram Yoga West Seattle: “Relax and unwind while being led through relaxing postures to open up muscles and joints followed by a guided meditation.” (4747 California SW)
Something for the calendar or guide? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!