Dreamathon: Reimagining Pandemic Life Together

Illustration of three people against a blue background: a person with long hair to the left, a person in a wheel chair in the center, and a person with a mask around their neck to the right.
Jessica “Jessie” Vergel, whose Pacific Islander identity moves her to celebrate BIPOC communities through design, created this art to promote the #DreamathonWA campaign.

As we look ahead to fall and winter, what can we learn from communities who have been at the front lines of COVID response about the role of art, culture, creativity and joy? After enduring more than 18 months of a pandemic, what does the world need now?

These questions are at the heart of an arts-centered community health campaign organized by a coalition of partners including the Library, African American Health Board, Washington Community Alliance, King County Library System, mutual aid organizers of color and community-led BIPOC groups. Called “What the World Needs Now: A Dreamathon,” or #DreamathonWA, this series is part of the Library’s ongoing focus on race and social justice.

Please join this effort to reimagine life together during the pandemic and after. The #DreamathonWA finale events — all free, virtual and public — will take place over the next two weeks. Here are a few sneak peeks:

Virtual dance party: Friday, Oct. 22, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

A colorful image with four squares of people dancing
Event art by artist Kisira Hill, a cultural and biological anthropologist, graphic designer and content creator

Dancing is a big part of the #DreamathonWA bill. Hosted by local musicians Rell B Free and CarLarans, this 18+ event is for those who may have lingering questions on how they can enjoy themselves and stay safe this fall and winter. Converge Media co-hosts and the lineup includes DJs Toe Jam and Tremenda Diosa.

RSVP and find out more at this Facebook link.


All-ages Community Celebration: Saturday, Oct. 23, 2 to 4 p.m.

Colorful illustration of people in a bustling city setting: pushing a baby carriage, shopping for produce, with masks.
More #DreamathonWA event art by Kisira Hill

Food justice, poetry, music, cooking, Black wellness, Indigenous insights and children’s well-being: They’re all on the menu at #DreamathonWA’s virtual Community Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 23, from 2 to 4 p.m. RSVP and find the streaming link at this Facebook event.

Roxana Pardo Garcia
Roxana Pardo Garcia. Credit: Leo Carmona

The day will showcase community-led COVID responses that increase joy, well-being and health. Hear from renowned pediatrician Dr. Ben Danielson and Black Panther Aaron Dixon, who worked with local children including the Sand Point community’s Art Club to dream up a program on community health. (Don’t miss this video of Art Club kids, lab coats on, interrogating COVID itself.)

Catch a chat with Chef Matt Lewis (of Where Ya At Matt) and activist Roxana Pardo Garcia as they share ideas for tasty, affordable meals that can brighten pandemic life.

Emerging food justice leaders with BLOOM will share about Indigenous sovereignty, Black liberation and BIPOC solidarity.

Artist and leader Amir Islam, executive director of the Residency hip-hop program, will help lead an important conversation on supporting people with substance use disorder during COVID.

King County Library System will share community dreams from South King County — captured through balloon selfie stations that encouraged passersby to dream and post — and Tubman Health & Freedom will give an update as well.

One of the amazing stories of the pandemic is the Pasifika Wayfinders of Pacific Islander Community Association (PICA-WA), who worked door to door to vaccinate their community. Members of this dance ensemble will share cultural and public health insights on Oct. 23. They will also perform at the Reflections Dance Festival, on Thursday, Nov. 4 (see below).

Pasifika Wayfinders on Seattle's Pier 62
Pasifika Wayfinders on Seattle’s Pier 62. Photo by Futsum Tsegai

Reflections Dance Festival, Thursday, Nov. 4, 6 to 8 p.m.

The final event of #DreamathonWA is a special dance festival, which was filmed on Seattle’s Pier 62 by the Library’s artist in residence Futsum Tsegai, and will be presented as a virtual event. RSVP and find out more at this Facebook link.

Reflections debuted to a virtual audience of more than 5,000 viewers in the fall of 2020. It features artists and cultural practitioners who are members of communities hardest hit by COVID. It’s a love letter to the city during the pandemic.

In addition to Pasifika Wayfinders, the dynamic lineup includes dancer and civic leader Abriel Johnny (Cowichan and Tlingit), who will share a jingle dress dance as ceremony and remembrance.

A young woman in colorful, traditional dress against a backdrop of a pier and the water
Abriel Johnny (Cowchan and Tlingit), a dancer at Reflections. Photo by Futsum Tsegai

Educator and dancer Giavonna White has chosen Seattle children who are her dream team for their Reflections performance entitled “Young, Gifted, and Black.”

And 18-year-old dancer Larry Lancaster will perform courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, accompanied by classical violinist Swil Kanim (Lummi).

A young ballet dancer posing against a backdrop of a pier and water
PNB’s Larry Lancaster at Pier 62. Photo by Futsum Tsegai

Reflections is co-presented with Friends of Waterfront Seattle with lead partners Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects.

#DreamathonWA reading

During the pandemic our librarians compiled several book lists that are related to the themes of our 2021 Public Health Series and #DreamathonWA.

For COVID-19 information, resources and updates, please visit the Washington Department of Health’s COVID-19 webpage, or call their hotline at 1-833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.

Posted by Davida I., Public Engagement

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