Get to know our contributors—successful and savvy creative professionals from across Washington State who share their expertise, wisdom and experience working across the creative industries—whether it's as a Guest Curator for one of our newsletters, or as a writer for one of our deep-dive How-To Guides. Check out their bios below!
Andre Bouchard (of Kootenai/Ojibwe/Pend d’Oreille/Salish descent) is an entrepreneur, agent, producer and consultant who was born and raised in the Flathead Reservation in western Montana. In 2001 he founded Walrus Performance Productions, a non-profit dedicated to providing first opportunities to choreographers, playwrights and multi-disciplinary performing artists in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010 he founded Walrus Arts Management and Consulting which was expanded in 2015 to serve as a home to the first Native run performing arts booking agency.
In 2019 he founded Indigenous Performance Productions, a non-profit corporation dedicated to production of touring Indigenous performing arts festivals. He holds a Master's degree in Arts Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, a BFA in Dance and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana. He was a Association of Performing Arts Professionals/University of Southern California Leadership Fellow, the founding Chair of the Western Arts Alliance Indigenous Committee and co-designer/founder of the Advancing Indigenous Performance Program.
Betania (they/them) is a teacher and student of place based skills. Betania has worked with many different natural elements with a strong emphasis on different ways of processing animal skins (e.g making and using Brain-tan, Bark-tan, rawhide, and furs), earth pigments; and is a professional Broom Maker. As a survivor of many layers of Trauma, they feel called to continue learning about healing trauma, sharing their journey with others through stories and art and supporting other survivors in their healing - feeling an extra strong pull to advocating and supporting underserved and system impacted youth. Betania has spent many years working and learning various healing modalities, they are two years into learning and achieving the requirements to work as a Somatic Experience Practitioner.
Mary Big Bull-Lewis was born and raised in Wenatchee, WA. She is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribe in Washington State - from Moses, Entiat, and Wenatchi bands & a descendant of the Blackfoot Tribe in Brocket, Alberta, Canada. Her vision for this brand (Wenatchi Wear) was a modern spin on Native American art while keeping the traditions preserved and sharing important historic stories. Growing up in the Wenatchee Valley, she recognized a lack of Indigenous history taught, and wanted to create a brand that would have the potential to reach many people. She begins the creative process with researching, and then hand-sketching each design. She has a diverse background, working in the legal field for many years & then in the medical field as a Certified Medical Assistant. Currently a graphic processor, bookkeeper, and marketing gal for the family owned and operated graphic design business (R Digital Design which she founded with her husband who does the designs and she handles the business side) & continuing as a creative entrepreneur.
Lance Kagey is a catalyst of community connections — passionate about the inclusive call of art to create gracious space that invites people of all types to enter into dialog. Considered one of the area’s leading artists, designers and community builders. Lance connects. Art & design is his calling, but always toward the goal of connecting, neighbor to neighbor, business to client, problem to solution. He’s a street artist, a business leader, a community stirrer-upper. He is, most notably, the cofounder of the wildly successful guerrilla art project, Beautiful Angle — which has been going now for almost 20 years.
Reese is a fourth generation Japanese American who was born on the island of O’ahu and raised between Hawai’i and Illinois. Her passion for music was ignited the moment she began playing the ukulele and has grown steadily through numerous instruments and genres. Reese is the Managing Director of Northwest Folklife, a Seattle-based cultural arts and heritage organization, whose mission is: “To create opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest.” Since 2008, Reese has led the Rain City Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble uplifting the musical contributions of womxn and non-binary individuals in jazz. She is a founding member of the urban folkgrass group, Lavender Lucy, and co-hosts the long-running Womanotes program on community radio station, KBCS. Currently, Reese serves as the Chair of the Seattle Music Commission, with a deep commitment to building a thriving, local creative economy and ecosystem.
Aramis Hamer creates her works of art using acrylic paints. She made the decision to pursue her art career after leaving her hometown in Chicago and moving to Seattle in 2013. With the support of her family and husband, Andy, she dedicated herself to art . She prides herself on being a full-time, professional artist where she gets to spend her days creating the world she wants to see.
Emily Washines is an enrolled Yakama with Cree and Skokomish lineage. Her blog Native Friends focuses on history and culture. Building understanding and support for Native Americans is evident in her films, writing, speaking, and exhibits. Her research topics include the Yakama War, women’s rights, traditional knowledge, and fishing rights. She lives on the Yakama reservation with her husband and three children.
Hi, I'm Diane Buxton. I'm originally from Taiwan, moved to Los Angeles when I was 11, and have lived in the beautiful city of Seattle for over ten years. I've been an accountant for 6 years, having worked in controller-level positions for small companies (which means I did some of everything) before deciding to start my own practice helping small businesses with bookkeeping, tax filing, and financial consulting. I chose to focus on working with creatives because 1) they tend to be pretty interesting people and 2) I wanted to help people who really needed me as opposed to helping big companies make more money. Accounting is actually my second career, my first degree being English and creative writing. Working with creatives allows me to return to my roots and combine my different strengths.
Besides running my accounting practice, I also write musings about what I learn from my life at From Soul to World.
Reesha Cosby was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and moved to Yakima in 2002 to get her big break in radio broadcasting. She is a morning radio host/station programmer, digital journalist, and a social justice activist in her community since 2007. She was recently elected to be president of the Yakima County NAACP. She has been an on-air host in Yakima, Seattle, Tri-Cities, and currently Tyler, Texas, too. She would love to publish books, cookbooks, and screenplays as well as start her own multimedia company. She has a 10-going-on-50-year-old daughter named Willow. Her self-care routine includes drinking cheap wine from Walgreens, playing Farm Heroes Super Saga on her phone, listening to fun podcasts, and watching old episodes of Columbo and Murder She Wrote.
Jam Scott is a writer, filmmaker, and advocate born and based in Tacoma. With her creative work, she aspires to radically open minds, eyes, and hearts by inspiring authentic conversation and equitable action. An organizer with the Tacoma Action Collective, Jam aims to create communities rooted in justice and accountability, and often weaves themes of social justice into her storytelling. Jam recently premiered MATRIARCH, a docu-series focused on the varied realities and lifestyles of matriarchs in Black families, it can be viewed on jamikascott.com.
Leilani Lewis is a Seattle-born arts leader and anti-racism/DEI practitioner. Her passion for the arts and social justice led her to the Northwest African American Museum where she served in a number of roles for eight years. Now at the University of Washington, she uses her experience working in and with Black-led organizations to develop equity and anti-racism strategy across the institution. As a higher education administrator with foundations in arts and culture, she has established herself as a creative catalyst and leader working on behalf of historically marginalized communities.
Whether through independent equity consultation, arts advocacy or strategy development, she focuses on breaking down barriers to address racism within organizations while strengthening the bonds that draw people for collective impact. As a Seattle University alumni and graduate of Leadership Tomorrow, Ms. Lewis is driven by her values that include shared leadership, connecting across differences, and lifting as we climb.
Andrea Parrish has over 20 years of experience in digital marketing and 15 years in social media. She started out running a website for her parent’s catering business, and has since developed a serious love for the power of interconnected communications.
She has managed and consulted on digital marketing efforts for well over a hundred businesses across the country, and currently runs TinyTall Consulting, based in Washington State. As a part of helping businesses build a muscle around engaging their digital community, she also gives keynote presentations and teaches professional courses focusing on the power of asking intentional questions.
Hi, I’m Michael Huang: a native Seattleite and former big advertising exec turned creative agency owner with a background rooted in Hip Hop and street dance culture.
I founded my company, Milli, 6 years ago as a social media marketing firm after I led social strategy for United Airlines’ rebrand in 2013. Since then we’ve grown our practice to a social/community-focused approach to both brand and content strategy as well as content creation. We’ve launched new brands, helped old ones get relevant, worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, managed musicians, produced our own documentaries, and founded an organization to better connect underprivileged youth to creative industries.
We love working with brands, we love creating beautiful content, and, most of all, we love serving our community. I especially get excited about young, people of color in the Northwest punching above their weight and doing big things in the creative community.
Hello Friends. My name is Darryl Crews. I hail from the great city of Tacoma, Washington. I am a multitude of things but I like to think of myself above all as a professional communicator. I’ve worked in the music industry, television, politics, event production, education, recreation, and tourism. Just like many of you, the heart of what I do boils down to touching hearts, opening minds, and creating memories.
I run a big tent communication business called The January Group. My team and I plan events, make videos, write speeches, promote new music, consult with brands, create space for culture (physically and digitally) and advocate for important causes. Some of January’s clients have included Alaska Airlines, Atlantic Records, Apple Music, ARRAY, Seattle Aquarium, City of Tacoma, Revolt TV, among numerous others.
I was born on the island of Taiwan to a Chinese mother and Mexican-American father whose ancestors descended from the extinct Karankawa tribe. At the age of two, I moved to the United States, then moved again and again. I was a Navy brat and that's what life is like for Navy brats. Elementary school was the first place I was called names. If a kid saw me with my mom, they might call me "Chink." If they saw me with my dad, they might call me "wetback." Miraculously, my self-esteem remained intact. In middle school, I lived in Turkey—my family survived rationed water and electricity, no television, and a coup d’etat, but we loved it. Life was tough, but it’s where I first learned the power of a multicultural community.
After studying at UCLA & Harvard, I spent time in India and France and worked in Los Angeles as a screenwriter and magazine writer. Now, I live on remote Orcas Island with my husband, novelist Samuel W. Gailey. Over the years, to support my writing habit, I have helped individuals and brands with branding and content. By the way, content is just a new word for storytelling. Using my "storytelling" skills, I’ve been able to get brands featured in major news outlets. I wrote "Pornology," a non-fiction book that became a film this summer entitled "A Nice Girl Like You," starring Lucy Hale. I’ve also written a TV series with actor Bradley James that was just optioned.
I also enjoy helping and inspiring other artists. That includes editing and ghostwriting books that have been critically praised and earned spots on The New York Times bestseller list; helping launch a literary festival; working with music composers to inspire them to create symphonies, scores and operas and get their work nominated for Emmys, Pulitzers, and Grammys. I’ve had the pleasure of inspiring a handful of painters to raise their artistry and their visibility and to dream much bigger.
Greetings from Spokane, Washington! My name is Remelisa Cullitan. My ancestry is made up of Filipinx/Chinese/Irish/German. I am a professional artist focused on making body/identity positive works, an independent contract curator, and arts advocate on Spokane's Arts Commission as a board member. I'm also an artist mentor, and co-creator of GlitterCouch, a partnership devoted to elevating artists’ voices and arts-focused events. I was born in Spokane and currently still reside in Spokane with my wife and three fluffy cats. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with an emphasis in sculpture, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in art history. I received both degrees from Eastern Washington University in 2016.
Being neurodivergent, art has played a significant role in my learning. I believe everyone is creative, they just need access and exposure to finding the right outlet to express their creativity. Visual art is my voice. I use art as a way for me to communicate with the world. Too often my spoken voice is silenced or ignored, but my voice in art has allowed me to speak my mind in a way that is challenging to ignore. I truly believe if more people made art, and valued the voices in art, that we can truly begin to heal a lot of generational trauma.