Arts & Culture advocates see friendly faces on the new City Council

Seattle City Council is poised to see huge changes in the way it’s governed, thanks to the arrival of 5 new council members. And although public safety was a major issue during the campaign, arts & culture also rank high on the list of voter concerns. Thankfully, Seattle is blessed with two strong arts & culture ad- vocates, in Mayor Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Sara Nelson.

As readers of VIBRANT know, Sara Nelson has a long history of reaching out to underserved communities and has been an active participant in Unified Outreach/ Vibrant Magazine Cultural Dialogue Workshops. These events bring together cultural organizations, business leaders, advocacy groups, and violence prevention counselors from across the city, seeking new ways to heal the city and to move forward as one-Seattle. Often, the workshop results in behavioral health classes and/or community events that give at-risk youth the chance to engage in art therapy programs.

Sara walks the talk, establishing the Film Commission in partnership with the Office of Economic Development, and supporting the Harbor Island Film & Sound Stage in West Seattle. Sara is the real deal and is quickly be- coming the go-to representative of artists around town.

Not surprisingly, Nelson is a creative-spirit herself, and is the co-founder of Fremont Brewing. A family-owned

craft brewery founded in 2009, where they brew small-batch artisan beers for “artists, fisherpeople, trades- people, technology geeks, and lots of beer lovers.”

Having an artist/businesswoman involved in the conversation is a blessing! Sara is the quintessential thinker that we at VIBRANT often talk about, utilizing both the left hemisphere for linear thinking and problem analy- sis, while the right hemisphere helps find creative solutions, delivered with empathetic program implementa- tion. She sees art enrichment as an essential part of the solution. Believing that the arts encourage communi- cation and expression, builds bridges, and breaks down racial, social, economic, and cultural barriers.

As for Mayor Harrell, his time as a public servant and community leader demonstrates a love for Seattle itself, and specifically underserved communities. He has made public safety and violence interuption a large part
of his platform, and like Nelson, he believes that the arts play a major role in providing opportunity youth with viable avenues away from at-risk behavior and towards positive opportunities. Taking action, the Mayors 2024 budget saw a dramatic increase in funding for the arts and for art-infused behavioral health services for youth.

It’s clear that Mayor Harrell recognizes the importance of art and creative expression as the lifeblood of vi- brant communities, going beyond just funding arts & culture organizations, and stepping up to the table with ideas of his own, such as his plan to launch an Empowerment and Opportunity program. This vision includes creating opportunities for upcoming new artists and creatives to connect with and be mentored by artists, icons, and entrepreneurs across creative industries, investing in space for creatives to hone their craft, and scaling economic development resources for creative entrepreneurs. For those familiar with the Vibrant work preparedness/apprenticeship program, you know we love this idea!

Through Mayor Harrell’s leadership, the City of Seattle regularly partners with artists, art organizations, and entrepreneurs to beautify our streetscapes, activate our neighborhoods, and create jobs and opportunities by growing the city’s creative economy. Most recently, Mayor Harrell hired Gülgün Kayim as the next director of the Office of Arts & Culture, launched the Many Hands Arts Initiative to install new public art, advanced leg- islation opening a new space in King Street station for creative organizations, and supported efforts to bring events like Bumbershoot back to Seattle through the Downtown Activation Plan.

It’s actions such as these that set the mayor apart from others. He has a proven track record of developing and sustaining working relationships with industry titans around the city and throughout the region, and with a powerhouse like Sara Nelson by his side, Seattle might just become the Hollywood of the Pacific Northwest.

And then there’s the new councilmembers, who bring an appreciation for arts and culture in the city…

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Picasso homage “Thinking Party” by Devin P.

ROB SAKA Rob Saka won the hearts of District 1 (West Seattle) voters with his honest and direct communication style and approach. Saka shared his story of overcoming the foster care sys- tem, to serving as an officer in the Air Force and obtaining his law degree. He proudly introduced us to his family and shared the importance of arts and culture in the lives of his three children. “My family and I are strong patrons of the arts. On any given day, we can enjoy live theatre or musical performances on the big stages in downtown Seattle, or community performances featuring talent- ed local actors. Recently my wife and I enjoyed a concert by Burna Boy; it’s wonderful that we have venues capable of welcoming talent from around the globe, as well as celebrating our own up-and- coming artists. We’re also blessed with world-class museums featuring local history and engag-
ing storytelling, and seasonal treats such as the Astra Lumina at South Seattle College. I envision Seattle as a city where diverse artists and creative workers of all disciplines are supported through living wages and opportunities to grow in their artistry.” – Rob Saka

CATHY MOORE As a former King County Superior Court judge, former Seattle public defend- er, and former Chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, Councilmember Moore has seen how the arts can have a positive effect on rehabilitation and healing. She has a proven track record of effective advocacy and public service on behalf of all in our city, which bodes well for those seek- ing a strong and vibrant arts community in Seattle.

MARITZA RIVERA has already established herself in the artistic community. As the former Deputy Director of the Department of Arts & Culture, we can expect that Maritza will bring an insid- ers view of the strengths and weaknesses of Seattle’s support for the artist community, and be a strong advocate for identifying opportunities and solutions that will help stabilize, retain, and grow a vibrant art scene in Seattle.

JOY HOLLINGSWORTH Joy Hollingsworth is a strong advocate for children, making the support of after-school enrichment programs a focus of her campaign. She will serve in a district with a rich history of arts and culture, from the legendary Black and Tan Club to the Royal Esquire Club. A district that gave us the musical genius of Quincy Jones and Clarence Acox. We are excit- ed by Hollingsworth’s focus on after-school programming, summer youth daycamps, and mentor- ships, apprenticeships, and jobs for youth. Hopefully revisiting former Mayor McGinn’s work-read- iness in the arts program which operated from 2013-2018. “I promise to invest in early learning and childhood development, parks, libraries, green spaces, tree canopy and the arts, as well as late-night activities and programs at community centers and non-profits. – Joy Hollingsworth

BOB KETTLE, Bob Kettle is a distinguished former naval officer with a decade of experience volunteering with non-profit organizations. Kettle will represent District 7, the home of Bumber- shoot, Pacific Science Center, Bite of Seattle, Climate Pledge Arena, and the many wonderful music venues of South Lake Union and Bell Town. He recognizes the importance of arts & culture in building a healthy community and is looking forward to supporting the arts in District 7 and throughout the city.


Vibrant Entertainment & Arts Magazine is proud to recognize Chris Hopper as our VEA Artist of the Year. Chris is well known for plays and musicals provided by his company, Black and Tan Project Productions, generally focus- ing on historic figures or venues.

Hopper first gained attention for his original work, Jefferson, who am I?, a period piece centering around one of our most famous presidents. The story itself is an ominous
tale of mystery, intrigue, and awakening as Thomas Jefferson is haunted by the Nigerian ghost, Ajamu. Ajamu is a cousin of Jefferson’s slave (and mistress) Sally Hemings, and forces Jefferson to reckon with his failure to abolish slavery. The play received rave reviews for the writing and directing, and for the performances of veteran actors Tom Fraser and Garfield High School alumni, Marcel Davis.

Although the bar was set high for his follow-up project, Hopper again scored accolades with his 2023 musical play celebrating the Black & Tan Club, where lovers of historic Seattle were treated to a journey into the past, to the pre- mier destination of the biggest names in blues and jazz, from 1922 thru 1966. For nearly five decades, Seattle’s first interracial venue, the

Black and Tan Club, 12th & Jackson, hosted legendary musical acts such as Eubie Blake, Ernestine Ander- son, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, Count Basie, and Lena Horne.

In February 2024, a revised Jefferson, who am I?, was presented, as writer/director/actor/songwriter Chris Hopper expanded on his original work, creating an even more robust experience for the audience.

Hopper, the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters, proudly shares that his family has lived in the Central District since his parents migrated from the South to Seattle in 1950, joined Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and began contributing to the art & culture scene in the community, most notably as a touring choir from 1979 thru 1992. As for Hopper himself, his first experience in theatre was as an actor in Civil Light Opera’s produc- tion of Showboat in the fall of 1979, at 9 years old.

Although he wears many hats, Hopper states, “I iden- tify first as a writer, because it’s my greatest artistic passion, then Director. I also find myself in the role of producer on many projects, as I have to hustle to raise the money for my productions.”

When asked how he would describe his approach to creating, he says, “I like producing and writing period pieces. Shows that span over decades, because I’m a history buff and I think it’s important to retain history so that it’s not lost to future generations. I just finished a new piece about social justice struggles taking place in 1960’s. I hope to have it ready for stage within the next 12 months.”

Hopper says he’s always enjoyed stage plays, par- ticularly musicals. And although he has a dream of directing a major motion picture one day, he fell in love with musical theatre when he saw the great seventies Broadway productions, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Dream- girls!

Hopper is a Renaissance Man, defined as a person who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas. Hopper seems to have an ever-growing list of artistic accomplishments, including writer, director, songwriter, and actor. All of which come in handy when producing a play the size of Black and Tan. The fact that Hopper himself has a background in acting helps him to identify with those he is tasked with directing.

Hopper reminisces with Vibrant about his first opportu- nity to truly stand out in an acting role, which was his performance at 17 years of age in Showboat. Hopper was cast as an extra, but was given speaking roles once the Director recognized his talent. A clown in one scene and a pageboy in another. “It was a blast!”

Hopper goes on, “I was a teenager at the time and it opened a whole new world for me.”

When asked what inspires him, Hopper says that he is motivated by poetry, photos, and life itself. “I remember with the Thomas Jefferson project, I ran across a photo of a young man with strong African features, it sparked a question. If this man was the descendant of one of Jefferson’s slaves, what ques- tions would he like to ask Jefferson himself? And in that moment, Jefferson who am I? was born.” Hopper says that in addition to writing, directing, and acting, he also enjoys the overall atmosphere of stage productions. “The ability to create something with multiple artists in different disciplines, from ac- tors to dancers, lighting techs, musicians and costume designers. Throw in the crowd response after a performance, and there’s nothing like it. What a rush!”

Hopper points to the team that he’s assembled for the new production as close to perfection, comple- menting each by name, including Choreographer Najee Cambronero, Costume Designer Akia Ronai, Actress Dr. Jewel Sae-Tiew, Actor Rees Farmer, and Stylist Nishi Muna.

With the building of the Harbor Island film & sound stage in West Seattle, our city is on the verge of becoming one of the biggest movie producers in the nation. Given Seattle’s opportunity to draw in big name talent, we asked Chris who he would like to work with in the future ~

“I admire the work of Steven Spielberg, Francis Coppola, Lee Daniels and newcomer Director Jeymes Samuel aka The Bullitts; true visionaries. As far as actors go, Jack Nicholson, because he can play any role and has the reputation of being able to play the same scene several different ways. Also David Ow- yelowo, Jeffrey Wright, and Don Cheadle, because they are chameleons and can channel any character, fictional or real life.”

Tales of the Golden Path

Recently, I attended a networking meeting designed for organizations focusing
on youth. As we go around the table sharing our names and what we do, the next stop is a gentleman with an incredibly warmhearted smile, slightly soft-spoken but

with an extremely strong presence. My colleague leans over and whispers “I know who that is. He wrote Tales of The Golden Path.” I did recollect a conversation regarding King Eric Patrick’s work, and although I had not read it yet, I had heard it described as a “real” tribal series. So I waited around after our meeting in hopes of talking with him directly. Sadly, he was gone. But wait! He had mentioned that he teaches a journalism class twice a week at the SW Boys and Girls Club in unincorporated Seattle. Light bulb clicked, ”perfect!” I thought. Not just an inter- view, but the possibility of working with his class of up-and-coming writers. How awesome would it be to give his students the opportunity to contribute to this very magazine? So a quick email and here we are!

Where, you ask? Popeye’s in White Center, just down the street from the old Safeway Building, and the Welfare/ WIC office. We laughed in unison at both being unsure of what it is now. We sat for hours, reminiscing about local history, with a few key points to his writing explained. Reminiscing about the mom & pop stores, to the fast food joints slowly filling the streets. The local buildings and ancestral homes that are cemented in our minds long turned into condominiums. See, the article was intended to be more about The Tales of the Golden Path series, but I found King Eric’s tales of Seattle to be much more intriguing. The greatest part of our conversation was how we shared our Central District memories; Rogers’ Grocery, Sammy’s Burgers, and Philly’s Best. Most important to King Eric was Earls (Barbershop). He shared that when God called upon him to write these stories, he would sit over there with all the “old guys” at the shop and just write. They weren’t always the most welcoming bunch, but they let him hang out with the crew. Eric based many elements of the series on those characters and their conversations.

We discussed the bussing of students from one neighborhood to another, starting in 1972 at Wilson Middle School, and continuing through the last few High Schools in 1999.
Specifically his travelling from the Central District to Ballard, or my
own family’s daily trip from Mount Baker Blvd to Ingraham High. He

talked about the property covenants (Redlining) of specific areas and the letters that forced African American families out once their land became coveted. He taught me more about this city’s history in an hour than the schools teach our children in years.

About his book~ I’ve read it now and what a wonderful read! Tales of the Golden Path is a personality driven book that is so well written that you can clearly see the regalia of each tribe. Crystal clear imag- ery, from the Hyena tribe to the Gorilla tribe, from the Shark tribe to the Lion, each brings a unique identity to the story. If you enjoy well- written characters, action and suspense, you will love this book!

Additionally, the format that Eric uses is something that I enjoyed. Each chapter has some information about the person, tribe, of village at the beginning that instantly engages you. I really can’t say enough good things about the way this book was put together. It’s awesome!

Eric categorizes his writing style as “historical sci-fi”, within every plot there is an underlying reference to the world in which we live. In the series Tales of the Golden Path you will explore a dystopian land in which prodigious and authentic tribes face immense conflict, divi- sion, proprietorship, and dictatorship over all. Thus provoking social thought and conversations that all can be led back to the author King Eric’s life here in our beautiful city.

Hockey History and the year Seattle shocked the World

In July 2020, the Kraken became the most recent team of hockey players to make their mark in Seattle. We’ve had many hockey teams over the past century, including the Iron Men, the Bombers, the Americans, the Totems, and the Thunderbirds. But the most prestigious of historic Seattle hockey teams was the Seattle Metropolitans, whom the Kraken honored with a banner-raising ceremony on October 26, 2021.

Why so much fanfare for a hockey team that disbanded in 1924?

The team was formed in 1915 as an expan- sion team, with the Metropolitan’s name borrowed from the Metropolitan Building Company, the entity that built the Seattle Ice Arena at the University of Washington.

The year was 1917, and the city of Seattle witnessed a sporting spectacle that would forever be etched in the history of ice hockey. The Seattle Metropolitans, members of the Pacific Coast Hockey Associa- tion (PCHA), achieved an unprecedented feat by capturing the Stanley Cup, marking their place as the first American team to claim the prestigious trophy.

The journey to the Stanley Cup was a rollercoaster ride for the Metropolitans, filled with thrilling victo- ries and moments of adversity. Coached by seasoned leader Pete Muldoon, the team showcased a combination of skill, determination, and teamwork that captured the hearts of fans.

The Metropolitans’ campaign climaxed in a tense and dramatic final series against the defending champions, the Montreal Canadians. The heavily favored Canadians quickly got off to a one-game lead but the Metropolitans rallied to win three straight games in the best of five games series, culminat- ing in a resounding 9-1 victory in game four.

One of the standout performances came from the Metropolitans’ star player, Bernie Morris. With a combination of raw talent and finesse, Morris consistently delivered clutch plays, scoring a total of four- teen goals throughout the playoff run, with six scored in the final game.

That championship clinching game, played in front of a roaring home crowd at the Seattle Ice Arena, must have been a moment of pure joy for Seattle sports enthusiasts. Fans are said to have cheered so loudly that the iron girders of the arena’s roof rattled as the players lifted the Stanley Cup above their heads.

The city of Seattle erupted into a sea of jubilation as fans flooded the streets to celebrate the historic win. The victory celebration that followed was a testament to the passion and support the city had for its newfound champions. People lined the streets, waving flags and donning the team’s colors, as the Metropolitans proudly showcased the Stanley Cup, a symbol of their hard work and dedication.

The Seattle Metropolitans’ triumph in winning the Stanley Cup not only solidified their place in hockey history but also added an amazing chapter to the city’s rich sports legacy. Seattle Hockey fans will always cherish that amazing season when the Metropolitans rose to the top of the hockey world, and proved that Seattle has always had the heart of champions.