Today we have with us Benjamin Hunter discussing curiosity, flow, alchemy and music.
Learning Matters series on convening methodologies for holding space for hope, healing and restoration.
Benjamin has been busy cross pollinating multiple artistic disciplines for more than a decade, the Seattle based polymath and multi-instrumentalist has dedicated his life to transforming the world’s stale status quo into a vibrant, inclusive, communal, and compassionate society. Hunter’s first tool was the violin accompanying him on laps around the world. Playing since age 5, he was fortunate to travel the world and absorb various musical styles at a young age. Receiving his degree in Performance Violin, with keen interest in politics and philosophy, Hunter set his sights on the intersection between art, community, and a rapidly evolving clash of culture. Touring with his band mate Joe Seamons in the internationally acclaimed, award-winning blues duo, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, Hunter’s stirring instrumentation and timbre brought tales of the slave trade, reconstruction, racial reconciliation, and America’s still broken promises to the uninclined.
Seeking to formalize the education he received in school and delivered in music venues across the world, Hunter then founded Community Arts Create. In a time when music and arts education is being surgically extracted from school curriculums, the non-profit seeks to create space and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with their individual and collective creative identities, using that as a lens to view their connection with social justice. However, schools only provided a temporary sanctum for Hunter’s gospel of changing the world through art. He needed a headquarters that existed for the sole purpose of bridging divides, filling knowledge gaps, and fostering a community around those ideals.
The Hillman City Collaboratory was soon formed. Housed in South Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood, the “social incubator” has brought and maintained camaraderie, inclusiveness, education, and social wellbeing to the residents in and around an area that is seeing rapid shifts due to unrelenting displacement. His ultimate wish is to inspire a Collaboratory in every underserved community in the nation, showcasing the collective might of community members defying precarious economic circumstances through creativity, engagement, and dialogue. That still wasn't enough for Hunter, and in 2016 he co-founded the Black & Tan Hall, a co-operatively owned restaurant and performing arts venue, shifting the for-profit paradigm to an alternative platform that is hyper-local, built by and for people rooted in community, and serves as an anti-gentrification model that combats displacement and sustains good jobs. More specifically, B&TH supports and elevates arts that give voice, agency, and power to those too often ignored. A place where art and the artists are dignified, valued, and heard!
To find out more about Benjamin’s work, check out: www.benjaminhuntermusic.com
Community Arts Create collective education
Hillman City Collaboratory social incubator
Black & Tan Hall co-operatively owned restaurant and performing arts venueSupport the show