Interview with Editor, Writer, Founder of Via Seattle, Gennette Cordova
PR4P: Why did you start Via Seattle?
GC: I started Via Seattle because I wanted to make a positive contribution and build strong, positive bonds in the communities that I belong to. I specifically wanted to focus on the needs of the people who belong to the demographics that I belong to—although, our reach isn’t limited to those groups.
PR4P: What need in the creative marketplace does Via Seattle fill?
GC: Via Seattle is the mother organization of projects like Artists We Will Be, a recurring panel that will take place in different cities and highlight the stories and insight of different artists of color. I think it’s imperative, right now, to give women of color a loudspeaker to help them express themselves artistically.
PR4P: What challenges do women of color face (in the creative/artistic fields) that are different from women who are of different races or ethnicities?
GC: People of color, women of color specifically, are less likely to get platforms to showcase their talents and tell their stories. Very few major motion pictures, for instance, tell the stories of Black women, and even fewer are written by or directed by Black women. This is an issue, not just because artists aren’t getting opportunities, but because Black women and other women of color aren’t seeing themselves represented as much as they should be, and the times when they are, it’s typically not in a positive light.
PR4P: What does Via Seattle want to accomplish during 2017?
GC: For the rest of this year, we’re hoping stay on the same track—hosting drives and fundraisers, developing projects that benefit children, spotlighting people of color and women in art and activism, while building up a coalition of like-minded individuals and organizations who have goals similar to ours.
PR4P: What does Via Seattle want to accomplish during the next three years?
GC: We’re hoping, within the next two years, to open a creative, collaborative workplace for women creative to utilize. That’s really where most of our energy will be going.
PR4P: How can creative women help each other to succeed?
GC: Creative women can help each other succeed in a variety of ways—like providing feedback. If you like someone’s stuff or you think they’re doing something well, let them know. If you have constructive criticism, that’s coming from a sincere desire to make someone’s work or their creative process better, respectfully offer it. Collaboration is great, too! Working together, sharing each other’s platforms, and constantly offering positive reinforcement builds bonds and helps alleviate the toxic competitiveness that we often see among artists.
PR4P: What advice do you offer to women artists and creative who are just starting up?
GC: Work on what you’re passionate about, every day. This was a sentiment that was echoed by a lot of the women, on our panel. Even if it’s only for half an hour. Many times for creatives, the work that we’re passionate about isn’t what we’re doing full-time and we don’t answer to anyone. Which, without deadlines and an authority figure holding you accountable, means we’re at the mercy of our own motivation, work ethic, and time management. So, you have to make doing what you love every day a habit.
Follow Gennette Cordova and Via Seattle on Facebook or Twitter @@Via_Seattle @GNCordova