It's coming. Mouthwater Festival is October 1-13th 2024!
Mouthwater crew photos by
Maya Umemoto Gorman
From the press release on May 22, 2023:
Velocity Dance Center announces the development of
MOUTHWATER FESTIVAL: A NEW DISABLED ARTS FESTIVAL
Seattle, WA - Black, Disabled local artist has been awarded a multi-year Mellon Foundation grant, which will be used to develop and launch Mouthwater Festival, a new disabled arts fringe festival coming to Seattle in the fall of 2024.
Co-founded by Saira Barbaric, NEVE, and Vanessa Hernández Cruz, Mouthwater Festival will span Seattle, showcasing performance art, theater, dance, and music by disabled creatives. Disabled artists from all over the country will gather in town to share their work, develop their practice, and foster cross-disability solidarity and creativity.
Barbaric was the initial grant recipient, which was intended to support the research,
investigation, and design of an accessible artistic structure. They have been a part of Seattle’s arts scene since 2016, known for producing events, performing burlesque, and showing visual art with a variety of queer and erotic art collectives. Barbaric's work spans mediums considered both high and low art and builds nuanced representations of trans people, disabled people, and Black people, which are some of the intersections that Barbaric inhabits.
"I am thrilled to receive support from the Mellon Foundation to create, research, tour and build this festival. I believe that the Mouthwater Festival has the potential to be a transformative force in our city. By creating a platform for disabled artists, we can address some systemic barriers and set standards for a more vibrant and understanding norm within the arts community. I am honored to be in process with my collaborators, disability justice leaders, and the Seattle arts community," said Barbaric.
To support this group's founding, Barbaric has reached out to NEVE, a mixed-Black Seattle local who’s an internationally recognized dancer, and Vanessa Hernández Cruz, a Chicana Los Angeles-based Disabled dance artist and experienced creative.
From Vanessa: “This is going to be an incredibly beautiful & radical festival! I am deeply overjoyed to be a part of this journey to bring this to fruition. What I am most excited about is the convening of all the amazing talented Disabled artists & being able to uplift, share, & celebrate our work. Experiencing Crip Joy together!”
“What is so exciting to me about the Mouthwater Festival is that it will introduce so many Disabled artists to one another’s work, further strengthening our Disabled arts community, It will familiarize more people in Seattle with both the national and local, vibrant Disabled arts scene, and it will put Seattle on the map as a Disabled dance and arts hub. I’m happily bracing for the creative explosion, “ shared NEVE.
Mouthwater Festival will create an arts hub by and for Black, Brown, and Indigenous disabled artists to present, collaborate, and get paid. The performances will happen all over town, allowing Seattleittes to catch a cabaret, a waterfront showing, or a night of theater. The festival's values are anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, pro-black, disability justice-informed, afrofuturist, sex educated, and practical. NEVE and Saira Barbaric dream of making Seattle a regular stomping ground for disabled artists to thrive and grow.
Erin Johnson, Executive Director of Velocity, is excited to see a national funder investing in a Seattle-based artist and hopes that Seattle funders, audiences, and advocates will match this national interest. "As we build a community of support around the first iteration of the Mouthwater Festival, it is crucial that we consider not just this first year but how we invest long-term in artists and projects like this festival. These are the projects and people that will shape the Seattle arts and culture landscape for the next 20 years and bring us closer to our vision of a vibrant and inclusive community. This is the time to invest.”
The Mouthwater Festival will take place in Seattle with an artist incubator in late September 2024 and free or ticketed events from October 1-13, 2024. The festival is in the early stages of identifying venues, partners, and supporters. Mouthwater Festival is being produced through Velocity Dance Center’s Made in Seattle new dance development program and will be anchored at 12th Avenue Arts on Capitol Hill.
For more information on the Mouthwater Festival, visit the festival landing page below, and visit our Instagram!
NEVE ™, Lover of Low Creatures, LLC™© 2021