Wa Na Wari creates space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection.
We are a center for Black art and culture in Seattle’s historically redlined Central District neighborhood. Sited in a 5th-generation Black-owned home, Wa Na Wari:
Hosts rotating exhibits by local and regional Black artists
Provides a space for workshops, performances, and lectures
Convenes changemakers, elders, youth, neighbors, and artists for collaboration, innovation, and community organizing.
Operates an oral history studio for gathering and sharing the stories of Seattle’s historically Black Central District
Seattle’s Central District was 80% Black in the 1970s. Today, it is less than 14% Black. Seattle’s affordability crisis has eliminated spaces where Black artists can work, create, and live. Aging Black homeowners struggle to afford skyrocketing property taxes. Remaining Black residents experience isolation and economic hardship. Wa Na Wari addresses these community challenges in the following ways.
We provide space for Black artists to collaborate, exhibit their work, and network with other artists, collectors, and patrons. We pay Black artists, writers, curators, performers, and gallery sitters, and in so doing put money back into the regional Black creative economy. We present a new model for sustainable Black homeownership by financially supporting the elderly Black homeowner in whose home Wa Na Wari is located, and we regularly convene other Black homeowners to explore this model.