NWCEAI is thrilled to have Seattle artist, Rae Akino joining us as Artist in Residence for 2021!

RAE AKINO is a Seattle based, self-taught visual artist.  What began as a coping mechanism for depression and anxiety became a lens to examine and understand the world.  Being closeted, a slave to others expectations, and losing one of the most important people to their existence caused a mental, emotional, and spiritual paralysis.  The need to escape turned into isolation, until they were encouraged to draw their way out of it.

Influenced by music, theater, literature, film, life, people, etc; the DC native uses bold colors and expressive form to explore identity, sexuality, Afrocentrism, spirituality, mental health/ awareness, consciousness, and self.  Centering the viewer into an emotional, mental, and spiritual connection with themselves opens the door to endless possibilities. Awakening desensitized emotions lead to the questions that spark conversations.

Living in a society where boxes and labels are a way of life, forces one to hide and resent the parts of themselves that are not accepted.  Never being strictly one thing or another fostered the realization that “I am all things” “We are all things”.

“My objective is to make the viewer connect and think outside themselves or what they know to be true.  To see beyond the pretty picture on the wall” 

We interviewed Rae for our Blog in 2019. Rae will be holding the I Am (Name Yourself) Workshop, in four parts, online with NWCEAI.

Rae Akino- I Am (Name Yourself) Workshop

A facilitated guide in exploring the concept of identity with creative expression. Led by Seattle Artist (DC native), Rae Akino, this workshop is divided into four sessions centered around self identity, understanding (holding space) for that identity, and expressing it without limitations.

The workshops are free and open to the public- no art experience or special knowledge is required!

All sessions are on Sunday afternoons, 4:30-6:30 PM, Pacific Time and are free of charge. We will meet via Zoom.

Session #1: March 14
Session #2: June 13 (reschedule from June 6)
Session #3: September 5
Session #4: December 5

Please join Rae and NWCEAI and sign up below!  Scroll down for details about each workshop session and to register.


Session #1: The Mask

Very few people walk out into the world bearing 100% of their full selves unapologetically. For most of us, our “Mask” or representative is a necessity for infinite reasons varying according to culture, background, social status, religion etc. The objective of this session is to identify that “Mask” by building an abstract representation using colors, shapes, lines, etc. As a result of that process answering the following questions:

  • How do you show up in the world? How do others see you?
  • Do you like what you see?
  • How can you, (should you) change it? Is it harmful or helpful?


Session #2 Self Portrait

“I have never been in a space where all parts of me were welcome and celebrated at the same time.
Therefore I’ve learned to discern which parts are safe and which are not.” ~Rae Akino.

THIS SESSION IS THAT SPACE! The objective is to create a self portrait that represents all the things we carry into the world plus the things we hide. We will examine how we see ourselves with as much care and honesty as we deserve. Throughout that process answering the following questions:

  • What does your true face look like? How do you show up in private?
  • Do you like it?
  • Can you / should you change it? Is it harmful or helpful?


Register here for session#2: June 13

Session #3 Name Yourself

Now that we’ve identified how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves in the first two sessions, this session is to examine who, what, and how we would like to BE, Period. Using basic lines, colors, shapes, and other tools we will create a 2nd self portrait based on what we would like to be.

Questions to explore:

  • If you could Name Yourself, what would it be?
  • What is stopping you from making that a reality?
  • Name Yourself!
register here for session #3: september 5

Session #4 Free Expression (A Conversation with Art)

The last session of the I Am (Name Yourself) workshop is centered around the concept of communication and expression. What is the difference? Both are conversations with very different purposes.

The objective of this session is to demonstrate these differences by creating two separate 2D works that symbolize either one or the other.

  •  What is the difference between Expression and Communication?
  • How can they be re-imagined?
register here for session #4: december 5

We hope to see you online with Rae and NWCEAI~

Workshop Materials List

  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Pastels
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  •  Canvas
  • Construction paper
  • Chalk
  • Anything You Have on hand!!!