Ballard High School, Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning, Maritime High School
Rachel Kessler is a creative connector and innovative collaborator. With her 25 years’ experience as a community artist, cartoonist, text-based visual artist and writer, multi-disciplinary collaborator and educator who explores landscape and community, she understands the power of art to connect and problem-solve. She co-founded the collective Wa Na Wari, a residential reclamation project centering Black art and media in Seattle’s Central District. As a mother of young children with limited resources she experimented with boundary-breaking performance art and video, co-founding interactive poetry collaborations Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. Her work is deeply rooted in place: she lives and works on Yesler Way, the Seattle street her ancestors immigrated to, worked on, worshipped on and died on. She is working on a community cartography project called “Profanity Hill: A Tour of Yesler Way.” As Artist-In-Residence at public housing project Yesler Terrace, (where her great grandparents lived) she and community members activated a vacant apartment slated for demolition with live music, poetry and story-telling, potlucks, dancing, and collective murals. Her latest publication features her illustrations of the Pacific Northwest urban shore, Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry, which was released in March 2023. Currently, she is working on a children’s book about abortion.