Event Overview

Updated 9/28/22

We are excited to announce preliminary programming for WHAT NOW? Towards Artist-Led Movements, a regionally-focused hybrid gathering in Seattle, WA and online Sep 30-Oct 2, 2022. More programs, presenters, and facilitators will be announced over the coming weeks.

Registration for online attendance is now closed. We will be accepting walk-up registration for in-person attendance through the end of the gathering. To register for onsite attendance only, please visit Eventbrite.

Details on the event’s framework and themes can be found on our Info page. Organizers, partners, advisors, and supporters are highlighted on the People page.

This hybrid gathering has been designed with an in-person focus on regional connections, with virtual opportunities for national exchange. Accessibility of travel and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic were central considerations in this planning, and, as such, in-person programs are designed to engage local and regional arts organizers who live within driving distance of Seattle's Central District (roughly mid-Oregon to Vancouver, BC from north to south, and the Olympic Peninsula to Idaho from east to west). Online programs, in turn, are meant to bring local and national voices together in conversation for a broader online audience. The virtual program will include both Zoom-based participatory meetings and conversations, as well as live streamed programs broadcast directly from Washington Hall. Some of these participatory Zoom-based sessions will also be screened in real time on-site in Seattle.

Throughout the weekend, participants will be invited to join us on Discord to come together with other WHAT NOW? attendees, to join or start conversations, working groups, affinity groups, or to ask questions. This space will hold relationships and conversations throughout the gathering and beyond, and welcomes participation from attendees both in-person and remote.

Friday, September 30

The weekend-long gathering, beginning in the afternoon of Friday, Sep 30, opens with a Welcome Program that will frame themes of network organizing, introduce partners, and orient attendees to on-site and virtual gathering spaces alike. Designer and strategist Yingzhao Liu shares principles of network organizing, grounding the event in how and why we come together.

Then, Olisa Enrico, a Seattle-based performing artist and arts educator, facilitates an interactive getting-to-know-you session for the participants at Washington Hall to build trust and a foundation for the collaborative work to follow.

Later Friday evening, in-person attendees are invited to come together off-site for a Backyard Boogie featuring Josh Nucci at Wa Na Wari to socialize and learn more about the organization’s work, as well as listen and participate in a musical jam led by Josh Nucci. Wa Na Wari creates space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection. Admission to this event is free with an in-person ticket, but you must RSVP separately to these offsite events within the Eventbrite registration form in order to attend.

Saturday, October 1

Saturday’s program kicks off with a Network Mapping workshop facilitated by Tony Patrick and Daniel Sharp, an online program to excavate our shared ecosystem, articulate pre-existing and intangible resources—includuing each other—and identify aspirations for continued collaboration and relationships post-event.

Mari Shibuya, a Seattle-based artist and facilitator, leads Creativity Regenerates, a participatory multimedia and somatic session collaboratively exploring vital futures for our communities.

Saturday’s program also features a day-long Arts Marketplace curated by On the Block. On the Block facilitates an alliance among neighboring artists, cultural spaces, and small business owners with the mission of serving as a conduit to sustainable opportunity, creative equity, and abundance from the ground up.

The Arts Marketplace will be paired with a national conversation on Artist-Led Economies, an online program exploring arts entrepreneurship, ecosystems of support, and marketplaces, which brings together local artists—including participants in the live marketplace taking place on-site at Washington Hall—alongside national projects, including Stella J Brown of Chicago’s Buddy.

Throughout the afternoon, in-person attendees are invited to share more about their projects and organizational work by signing up for the Hot Seat. Sign-ups to share will begin Friday afternoon on a first-come, first-served basis. In between Hot Seat talks, enjoy musical performances.

After a dinner break, head to Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, for a happy hour with light bites and drinks available for sale from the concessions stand, followed by a series of short films curated by the Social Justice Film Festival. Full program available on Northwest Film Forum website. Admission to this event is free with an in-person ticket, but you must RSVP separately to these offsite events within the Eventbrite registration form in order to attend.

Sunday, October 2

A conversation on Creative Workforce Development will bring together national voices including the US Department of Arts & Culture’s Carol Zou, organizer of the People’s WPA project, with Seattle-based organizers: Hope Corps’ Imani Sims; Jac Smith of The Hydrant, Friends of the Waterfront, and Blue Cone Studios; and Josh Nucci of Wa Na Wari and Blue Cone Studios. Together they’ll discuss sustainable pathways and support systems for creative careers.

Shelagh Brown, Community Partnerships Director at Seattle’s Creative Justice, then leads an in-person conversation, Beyond Self Care: Community Care For Our Collective Liberation, on how care for community is care for self, spotlighting voices on the frontlines of collective care and mutual aid. An online workshop led by AS220, a community arts organization in Providence, RI, on the Art of Conflict will follow.

An in-person and cross-generational festival wisdom-sharing conversation, The Future of Festivals, with Cody Choi of So Dreamy Festival, Kelli Faryar of Friends of the Waterfront, and other Seattle-based festival organizers will address how lessons can be shared between larger established festivals and newer ones curated by and centering historically underserved communities, and explore the role of smaller festivals in the artist support ecosystem.

In addition to several workshops and events throughout the day, local service organizations and providers will also be on-site at tables throughout the day. Service providers and organizations will be listed here as they are confirmed. Sign-ups to schedule a brief sit down with providers will begin Friday afternoon on a first-come, first-served basis.

WHAT NOW? concludes on Sunday evening with a Common Field Farewell, a celebration marking the organization’s life and work that invites both online and in-person participants to share their wishes and aspirations for the field, followed by a Sunset Social Jam to hang out and close the weekend.


Post-event, look out for the release of a podcast and audio documentation of WHAT NOW? programs, produced and hosted by Jack Straw Cultural Center. Jack Straw Cultural Center is a multidisciplinary arts center committed to keeping art, culture, and heritage vital through sound.