Tag Archives: Cathy Nguyen

Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate is…

13 Apr

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson. Photo by Israel Perez.

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced the selection of Kellie Richardson as Tacoma’s 2017-2019 Poet Laureate.

Over the next two years, Richardson will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events. She will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October, and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

“As Poet Laureate, my priority will be to support the creation of bold spaces that mirror our citizenry,” said Richardson. “I strongly believe in the power of storytelling as a means of healing and, ultimately, a way in which individuals and community find resolution despite trauma, and common ground among bitter rivals.”

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma’s current Poet Laureate, Cathy Nguyễn, will host Pass the Torch, a poetry and music event at which Richardson will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held April 29, from 5 – 8 p.m., at the Tacoma Community College Auditorium (Building 2, accessed from South 12th Street and Whitman Street). Free parking is available in Lot G off South 12th Street.

Light refreshments are available from 5 – 6 p.m., with an opportunity for attendees to participate in a hands-on project led by artist Saiyare Refaei. Attendees can also record a poem for inclusion in the Laureate Listening Project reflecting on the personal importance of a particular place in Tacoma. Limited recording spots are available, and can be reserved through Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

The main program begins at 6 p.m. and will feature poets Richardson, Nguyễn, Miriam McBride, PaQ’Jon Dickerson, Marquis McCrary, Marcel Augustin, and Baiyinnah Muhammad. These poets will be joined by DJ Smokey Wonder.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Click! Cable TV. Pass the Torch is sponsored by Tacoma Community College’s Office of Student Engagement.

Another free, public event focusing on poetry in Tacoma, the Louder Than a Bomb Tacoma Teen Poetry Slam, takes place at 2 p.m. that same day at the Tacoma Community College Student Center (Building 11).

About Kellie Richardson

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson. Photo by Israel Perez.

Kellie Richardson is a writer, artist and educator born and raised in Tacoma, Wash.  Her work explores the intersection of race, class and gender with specific emphasis on themes of love, loss and longing. She employs both classical poetic forms as well as contemporary mediums such as spoken word. Her work is provocative yet accessible, powerful yet vulnerable. In addition to publishing original work, she created the blog, Brown Betty, in 2012. Brown Betty exists to provide armor and inspiration for real life; a place where commerce and community intersect to cultivate healing. The blog explores the complexities of navigating the human experience, and calls its readers to continue to be inspired to endure and overcome barriers to their happiness.

Richardson is particularly inspired and called to explore the experiences of women of color, and the intersectionality of identities. In addition to teaching courses at Pacific Lutheran University, she has provided poetry and writing workshops to students from Bryant Montessori to Tacoma Community College. She has performed pieces for the Tacoma Art Museum, The People’s Assembly, University of Washington Tacoma, Drunken Telegraph, The Tacoma Round, COLORED2017, and many others.

Richardson’s relationship with Tacoma is defined by transitions and metamorphosis as she has moved from student to professor, child to parent, and, the most critical progression, from onlooker to loving actor. She enters this process as a loving actor looking to continue to give to Tacoma through poetry and the gift of storytelling. As Poet Laureate, she will persist in her desire to ensure literary arts are both accessible to, and representative of, the diversity in Tacoma.

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True Grit

28 Oct

True Grit FLYERPresented by Tacoma Poet Laureate, Cathy Nguyen, and Associated Ministries intake specialist, Raphael Hartman, you are invited to True Grit, a dynamic evening of art and conversation.

Date: Thursday, November 19
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue
Cost: Free, donations accepted

True Grit is an art benefit show that will capture the stories of six youth from the greater Puget Sound area and exhibit honest photography of local, makeshift spaces of refuge for youth on the streets. Through documentary and poetry, True Grit will explore the stories of Tacoma and Seattle youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness and will host a diverse panel of youth, advocates, and service providers to dialogue around the ways in which Pierce County can support youth and young adults in housing, education, and self-actualization.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be collected at the event and will be given to a local organization, to be revealed on the evening of the show and which will be selected by our youth interviewees. Don’t miss out on a powerful experience where advocates and community members can envision a world where all youth have safe, supportive housing and opportunities to succeed.

True Grit is supported through sponsorship by and partnership with the Tacoma Arts Commission, the Washington State History Museum, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Announcing Tacoma’s next Poet Laureate…

15 Apr Cathy Nguyen

The Tacoma Arts Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Cathy Nguyen as Tacoma’s 2015-2017 Poet Laureate.

Over the next two years, Nguyen will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events. She will also participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October, and help produce the 2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

“The Poet Laureate is an artist and activist who works both to amplify the literary voices of underrepresented community members and to enhance the shared written and oral narratives of the Tacoma community,” said Nguyen. “It’s necessary to me that social justice and equity are at the center of all that I do and create which, in the community context, means raising social consciousness, building civic advocacy, and engaging community members in shared learning and teaching through poetry and other forms of creative expression.”

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma’s current Poet Laureate, Lucas Smiraldo, will host a poetry and music event at which Nguyen will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 – 8:30 p. m. at B Sharp Coffee House (706 Court C in downtown Tacoma). Featured poets will include Nguyen, Smiraldo, 2011-2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate Josie Emmons Turner, 2010-2011 Tacoma Poet Laureate Tammy Robacker, 2009-2010 Tacoma Poet Laureate Antonio Edwards, Jr., and 2008-2009 Tacoma Poet Laureate William Kupinse. These poets and others will be joined by musicians Terry O’Hara and Bronson Bragg, vocalist Kathryn Burke, and there will be music compositions by Gregory Youtz.

Cathy Nguyen is an “artivist” who seeks to promote social equity and youth leadership through creative expression and community organization. A resident of Tacoma since 2010, Nguyen has worked to infuse the arts in a variety of human service and grassroots contexts.

In 2012, Nguyen created and coordinated “The RIOT”, a first-ever teen poetry/hip-hop program at STAR Center. In the years that followed, Nguyen worked to draw on and capture the voices of queer youth and young adults through a variety of arts, violence prevention, and leadership development programming at Oasis Youth Center. Currently, Nguyen integrates creative expression with youth and community development as a teen support group facilitator at BRIDGES, a center for grieving youth and their families, and as an organizer of Tacoma Stands Up, a grassroots initiative calling for an end to police brutality and social injustice through peaceful organization, where she has led Tacoma-wide rallies and arts events focused on community-building and social justice advocacy.

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