Document Type

Case Study

Publication Date



Elisheba Johnson


Susan Kunimatsu


The name Wa Na Wari translates into “our home” in the Kalabari language of Nigeria. The “our” can be interpreted as referring to the Black collective that Wa Na Wari creates space for through art, historic preservation, and connection. It’s a very fitting name as the community center operates out of a house in the Central District. A product of redlining, the historically Black neighborhood has gone through a seemingly endless series of community facelifts. Many of those Black families have been pushed out and replaced by high-priced apartment complexes. Yet the fifth-generation Black owned home that Wa Na Wari occupies is still standing and still very much Black. Wa Na Wari is a welcoming community center and art organization dedicated to uplifting the legacy of Black people in and around the Pacific Northwest. Although they’ve faced challenges along their journey in creating space for the Black collective in Seattle, their resilience, openness, and friendly nature have enabled Wa Na Wari to thrive and to inspire a displaced community to reunite and flourish.

Organization or Event

Wa Na Wari

Form of Entity


Area of Activity

Arts in Social Service/Social Justice, Arts in Community Development, Presenter/Distributor, Venue/Facility

Artistic Discipline

Visual Arts, Media Arts, Dance, Folk/Traditional/Heritage Arts, Multidisciplinary Arts