Artist Delton Mosby works on a painting during the activism panel discussion on April 26. Photo by Madeline Coats/UW News Lab

Artist Delton Mosby works on a painting during the activism panel discussion on April 26. Photo by Madeline Coats/UW News Lab

Art event evokes activism in Issaquah

Artists from diverse backgrounds discuss power of art as a form of activism.

  • Friday, May 11, 2018 8:30am
  • Life

By Madeline Coats

UW News Lab

Four local artists from diverse backgrounds discussed the power of art as a form of activism at an event on April 26 at the Issaquah YWCA.

Missiongathering Issaquah hosted the event in partnership with the Highlands Council and the YWCA. The artists were a part of a panel discussion about race, equity and social change. The event marked the beginning of Stand Against Racism Week in Issaquah.

Artists Wynn Adele, Leleita McKill, Kay Tarapolsi and Earnest Thomas talked about their experiences with discrimination based on race, religion and sexuality. They each shared stories about using their art to provoke conversation in the community about inequality.

For example, Tarapolsi, who is a Libyan American artist, said people treated her differently after 9/11. Tarapolsi does quilling, which is a form of ornamental craft work using strips of paper. She says one purpose of her art is to promote positive images of Arab culture.

McKill, a photographer, does work that focuses on fashion, art, people and other projects. Her photos aim to encourage and honor diversity and people who are underrepresented. As an American woman of color, McKill strives to lend her voice and share her perspective in the Seattle area.

The other artists spoke about how their work examined issues such as gender, sexuality, community awareness and ethnicity.

The lead pastor at Missiongathering Issaquah, Brian Carr, organized the event and moderated the panel. Carr said the organizers of the event wanted the theme to be activism through art because art is a relatable subject.

“We wanted to utilize the medium of art to talk about racial justice issues,” he said.

In an interview after the panel, McKill said she wanted to participate in the event because she appreciates the work of the YWCA.

“I heard YWCA. I heard art. I heard activism. I heard let’s try to fix racism as best we can,” McKill explained.

According to McKill, a lot of the artists in the Seattle area are politically minded.

“I am just trying to find space to share my perspective and to kind of be a part of the collective narrative of the people that are alive and creating right now,” McKill said.

People who attended the discussion seemed enthusiastic about exploring the role of art in activism.

“Nowadays people seem to be energized, they seem to be more inspired,” said David Hall. The 30-year Issaquah native found the subject matter to be interesting during these times.

During the discussion, artist Delton Mosby was working on a painting in the same room. He explained that not all his work has an activist motive. According to Mosby, he likes to paint hummingbirds because they don’t have a race.

More in Life

Dr. Partridge bringing families together

Has run Virginia Mason’s Down Syndrome Program for nearly six years.

Wine and art on tap in Issaquah

Downtown tasting and entertainment walks resume.

King County Library System (KCLS) is named the leading U.S. library with 4.8 million digital checkouts in 2018 for the fifth year in a row by Rakuten OverDrive. Photo courtesy of KCLS Facebook.
King County Library System exceeds 1 million digital checkouts in 2018

KCLS leads the record for the fifth year in a row

New Year resolution: Love yourself

Love yourself in 2019 and watch the positive changes.

Jiff Searing paints the door frame of the tiny house during the volunteer event on Saturday. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo
Issaquah citizens build a tiny house for the Low Income Housing Institute

An work party was held in Issaquah to build and donate a house to a low income tiny house village.

Diane Gillespie. Photo courtesy of Diane Gillespie
OPINION: Sleeping in troubled times

While adequate sleep is critical to good health and longevity, sleep deprivation is currently on the rise.

31st annual Reindeer Festival returns to Cougar Mountain Zoo

Cougar Mountain Zoo will run the 2018 Reindeer Festival every day until Dec. 23.

KCLS launched its first podcast called “The Desk Set.” The podcast is hosted by librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calkins. Photo courtesy of “The Desk Set.”
KCLS launches first podcast, The Desk Set

Librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calking co-host new podcast.

Nancy Stewart will preform her concert series in various libraries throughout King County. Families can visit the KCLS website to find upcoming concerts. Courtesy of Nancy Stewart.
Nancy Stewart’s ‘A Season for Singing’ concert coming to a library near you

King County Library System prepares for its annual Season of Stories and Songs.

Community gathers for annual Day of the Dead celebration

On Nov. 3, communtiy memebrs came out to the Issaquah Latino Club’s annual Day of the Dead event.

Detox for your body and mind

Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a naturopathic primary care doctor in Woodinville.