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Our Big Neighborhood 2018

Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center are excited to announce a new, three-year youth and family initiative, Our Big Neighborhood. Inspired by Northwest Folklife’s annual Seattle Children’s Festival, Our Big Neighborhood expands on Northwest Folklife’s vision to bring people together to share and sustain folk, ethnic and traditional arts for present and future generations.

Our Big Neighborhood offers families and people of all ages opportunities to discover Northwest communities and cultures through participation and hands-on learning. Throughout 2018, in addition to the Seattle Children’s Festival in September, Our Big Neighborhood encompasses two new event series – Movin’ Around the World in April and Global Playground in August and a one-day launch event at Seattle Center Winterfest in November. More information is available at

Building on a long history of community-focused cultural programming, both Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center are expanding their programming for children, youth and families. Bringing together live music, storytelling, dance and other multi-cultural art forms in one place will offer Our Big Neighborhood participants the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities, cross-cultural exploration and intergenerational exchange. All Our Big Neighborhood programs are designed to spark curiosity, deeper appreciation and understanding for the uniqueness and differences that make our region so vibrant.

“Seattle Center has been an integral partner and supporter of Northwest Folklife and we are extremely delighted to not only be deepening that relationship with our partners and the City of Seattle, but to join together to launch a three year commitment to accessible, intergenerational and cultural exchange for all ages through the Our Big Neighborhood program,” said Northwest Folklife’s Executive Artistic Director Kelli Faryar.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our partnership with Northwest Folklife to present fun, all ages programming that provides participants a window into the diverse cultures who inspire and influence creative expression in our region,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams.

The 2018 Our Big Neighborhood initiative includes:

Movin’ Around the World: Celebrating the Cultures of the World through Movement and Song (April 7-13, 11am– 3pm) at Seattle Center Armory. This program encourages kids and their families to experience cultures of the world through seeing and doing. Get moving by dancing alongside experienced teaching artists and learn some new moves!

Global Playground (August 4, 11, 18, 4pm– 7pm) at Seattle Center Artists at Play. Set in Seattle’s most unique playground, this outdoor program mixes cultural connectivity with outdoor play.

Seattle Children’s Festival (September 22, 10am– 5pm) at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion and Armory. This intergenerational, multi-cultural exchange aims to develop minds and bodies through movement, rhythm, song, and hands-on activities. For more information visit

Seattle Center Winterfest Launch Party (November 23) at Seattle Center Armory. Joining the tradition that is Seattle Center Winterfest, Northwest Folklife will support the opening weekend with student and cultural performances and activities that bring families together.

Coming up first in April, Movin’ Around the World is a week-long Our Big Neighborhood program that will feature a new cultural community from the Pacific Northwest each day. Running Saturday, April 7 through Friday, April 13, from 11am to 3pm each day, these programs are scheduled over Seattle Public School’s Spring Break to better involve Northwest families. Youth, parents, and families are invited to participate through dancing, music-making, and hands-on activities in the Seattle Center Armory, learning directly from and being inspired by master tradition bearers and youth ensembles. Kids can learn a dance, make crafts, sing a song, and get better acquainted with some of the cultural communities that make up Our Big Neighborhood.

Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center work with models of cultural exchange that directly involve Northwest communities and community leaders in the creation and curation of programming. The Our Big Neighborhood initiative plans to deliver programming that will have a positive impact on children and families, provide early childhood cultural understanding, encourage families to stay active and learn together while building stronger communities. To make this vision possible, Northwest Folklife partners with local organizations to create a truly co-curated and community program. If you would like to learn more about Our Big Neighborhood and other public programming at Seattle Center, click on or call 206 684-7200.

Photo by Erinn Hale