Photo by Laura Marie Rivera: Satchel Black, a member of Coyote Central’s CRE-8 team, serves hors d’oeuvres prepared by the youth at a community open house, April 28.
Photo by Laura Marie Rivera: Satchel Black, a member of Coyote Central’s CRE-8 team, serves hors d’oeuvres prepared by the youth at a community open house, April 28.

Members of the Seattle arts community celebrated Seattle youth arts organization Coyote Central at an open house April 28.

In addition to art classes that range from painting to welding to digital photography, Coyote Central also offers several youth mentoring programs. While Coyote Central operates using a “pay-what-you-can” model, for the first time, more than half its students are seeking scholarships.

Teen representatives from two of Coyote’s ongoing programs attended the community open house. They were joined by members of CRE-8, a cohort of fifth graders who commit to a three-year program. They have monthly gatherings culminating with a community arts showcase, and they act as ambassadors for school and special events. This month, they planned, prepared and served the food for the open house: teen-made empanadas and arroz con leche. Members of Coyote’s Youth Advisory Board, who shared their thoughts on leadership through speeches and poems, also attended.

During the event, Bayla Cohen-Knott, 17, who has been taking classes at Coyote Central since she was 10, shared that she sees the organization as an ecosystem where everyone can be a leader, including the board, staff, teaching artists, youth and the community.

People also said farewell to Executive Director Claudia Stelle, who retired after 20 years at the organization. Coyote Central is currently conducting a search for Stelle’s replacement.

Stelle said the next executive director will “need to be a visionary leader with a firm commitment to equity.”

To learn more about Coyote Central, 2300 E. Cherry St., and its next executive director, visit coyotecentral.org.