Nikkita Oliver will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Vashon Center for the Arts. (Alex Garland Photo)

Nikkita Oliver will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Vashon Center for the Arts. (Alex Garland Photo)

Powerhouse poet, storyteller and activist returns to Vashon

The former Seattle mayoral candidate whose worked on everything from arts and law performs Feb. 28

Nikkita Oliver, a powerhouse Seattle educator, artist, attorney, boxer, musician, mentor and organizer, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Vashon Center for the Arts, for an evening that will include poetry, music and storytelling.

Oliver became a household name in 2017, with her bid for Seattle mayor as the first political candidate of the Seattle People’s Party. Her campaign narrowly missed the general election by approximately 1,100 votes, coming in third of 21 candidates.

After the mayoral race, Oliver stayed in the spotlight with her activism opposing a new youth jail in Seattle.

But she has long been acclaimed in Seattle for her creative and impactful work in the intersections of the arts, law, education and community organizing.

She has worked, in recent years, as a case manager for Creative Justice, an arts program aimed at transforming the criminal legal system and at providing space for young people to be self-empowered and self-determined. She is also the co-creator, with Nikki Etienne and DJ Rise, of the Ringside, a monthly poetry slam and artist showcase.

She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy, performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has been featured on The Breakfast Club and KUOW’s “The Week in Review.” Her writing and poetry have been widely published, and she has won multiple championships in the Seattle Poetry Slam. She is also the recipient of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights Artist Human Rights Leader Award.

Oliver last appeared on Vashon in May, when she performed at VCA for school groups in a daytime performance and a general audience in an evening show. For those appearances, she was hosted by a coalition including members of Hosted by Harbor School Race Equity Committee, Vashon Artist in Schools and Vashon-Maury Showing Up for Racial Justice.

In advance of that event, Oliver told The Beachcomber that “art has the capacity to bridge people’s hearts.”

“Cultural work helps us shift cultures [and] policies,” she said.

Tickets to Oliver’s appearance on Feb. 28 range from $5 to $25; get tickets in advance at vashoncenterforthearts.org.


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