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Where do Seattle artists put their fears?

They bundle them up and feed them to the buzzard. Or they shred them.

Artist Timothy White Eagle brought this buzzard to KUOW and the Office of Arts & Culture's event "The Great Work Begins" on Monday, January 30th. White Eagle asked attendees to take a pinch of ceremonial tobacco, think actively on their fears, and wrap them with the tobacco into a small square of cotton. After tying the parcel with red string, the bundle went into the buzzard's carcass. 

White Eagle says the buzzard feeds on carrion; fears are symbolically something rotten, to be destroyed metaphorically by the buzzard.

This was one of several activity stations at the event. It aimed to bring together artists from all disciplines to talk about their hopes and fears for the next four years. It was also an opportunity for the Seattle arts community to think creatively about the way forward.

The evening was divided into two parts: activity stations and community discussion. For the first part of the night, attendees were given an hour to engage with four stations: Fear, Hope, Where to Go, and Confession. Guests went from station to station, writing their hopes down on Post-its or listing projects they were interested in pursuing on the Where to Go wall. For an in-depth description of each station, look through the photo slideshow above.

The discussion half of the evening kicked off with a performance of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by local artists Sara Porkalob, Michael Feldman, and Adam Quillian. Once artists had gathered in their seats, KUOW Arts and Culture reporter Marcie Sillman opened up discussion. For the next hour, artists from around the Puget Sound voiced their thoughts about what the arts community should do. The evening closed with a poem read by Seattle's Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna.

Attendee Jose Abaoag, a theater artist, summed it up the prevailing sentiment.

"It's not enough anymore to simply post on social media, and click on things we agree with. We've got to get together face-to-face and take action."

Interested in attending an event like this? Get in touch with KUOW's community engagement team: