About Us

"Racism - it was waiting for me as I left my mother's womb. It is institutional. It is built into society. The traditional values and beliefs of people of color hold the universal consciousness of mankind. We have racism because this consciousness has been silenced. Art can make this consciousness heard by creating an equitable reality where cultural diversity flourishes. Cultural diversity needs to be nurtured and valued." -Marita Dingus, 1992

This quote from the celebrated artist of African descent, who grew up in Auburn Washington, captures the impetus behind the City of Seattle employees who formed a Coalition of ethnic affinity groups in 2009 to create the gallery and to encourage collaboration between the City's affinity groups and employees of all stripes. In our first year we quickly added an annual Summer Picnic where all City employees, their families and friends, are invited to nurture friendships and mutual understanding through food and fun. Both of these efforts support RSJI core values by reaching out to our diverse populations and ethnic communities, enriching cultural appreciation, and strengthening everyday collaboration and productivity amongst City employees. Other collaborative efforts, triggered by current events, are consistent with our focus to enrich lives, and build equity and justice. We invite your ideas, participation, and support.

EHAG History

The Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery (EHAG) was founded in January 2009 by a coalition of four City of Seattle Affinity Groups: City Light Black Employees Association (CLBEA), Filipino American Civic Employees (FACES), Latino City Employees (LCE), and City of Seattle Native American Employees (CANOES). Recognizing that art displayed within the City properties, as well as the community in general, was dominated by Euro-centric art, the coalition set out to provide a space dedicated to raising the visibility of local artists of color and giving them opportunities to tell their cultural/ethnic stories through their art.
In support of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), EHAG submitted a proposal to Seattle Municipal Tower building management to utilize blank wall space on the third floor as well as the abandoned glass cases on the sixth floor for the purpose of exhibiting artists of color artworks. The proposal established a basic governance structure and a quarterly exhibition schedule centered around the coalition’s respective ethnic celebration months. With the support of the Mayors Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS), the proposal was approved in one day.
Over time many City employees have volunteered and contributed their support to EHAG’s mission. ARTS became a full-fledged partner in 2014, providing support as well as incorporating EHAG’s ethnic artists roster into its own outreach efforts. EHAG also evolved to embrace the greater ethnic/cultural nuances and an exhibition schedule unencumbered by ethnic celebration months.

Board Roster

Board Roster (from left to right)
Elisheba Johnson, Marta Idowu, Brandon Cummings, Brinn Campaz, Crystal Torres, Bradley Wilburn, Iman Ibrahim
(not pictured) Aditi Kambuj, Cherry Briggs, Patricia Spears, Sokha Danh

To learn more on the City's commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle, visit the website for the Race and Social Justice Initiative.

For information and inquiries, email us at: EthnicArtGallery@seattle.gov

Board Members

Elisheba Johnson

Project Manager | Public Art Program, Office of Arts & Culture

Elisheba is a multi-media artist and poet who has dedicated her career in the arts to creating space for emerging and POC artists to create and showcase their work. Johnson, who has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, was the owner of Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that held art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. Since 2013 Johnson has been at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture where she is a public art project manager and works on capacity building initiatives including Seattle Arts Leaderships Team (SALT), Public Art Boot Camp. In 2013, Elisheba co-wrote and published "The Adventures of Emery Jones: Boy Science Wonder" with her father Charles Johnson. The series now has two titles; “Bending Time” and “The Hard Problem.” Elisheba is also a founding member of COLLECT, a monthly curated art tour to inspire a new generation of art collectors. Elisheba is currently a member of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network advisory council. When Elisheba isn’t visiting an art exhibition with her son, she is a parenting advocate, travel enthusiast and fancies herself an amateur sommelier.



Marta Idowu

Commission Administrator, Seattle Office of Civil Rights



Brandon Cummings

Land Use Planner | Design Review Program, Department of Construction and Inspections

Brandon joined the Board for the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery in 2017, focusing on various multimedia aspects that come with operating an art gallery. Brandon is originally from the southeast, where he studied Architecture at Georgia Tech and Planning at Auburn University. He currently works as a Land Use Planner for the Department of Construction and Inspections. In his free time, Brandon likes to volunteer with various organizations and remain active in the community back home.

(206) 684-0251


Brinn Campaz

Administrative Specialist | Design Review Program, Department of Construction and Inspections

Brinn is honored to be a member of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery Board that supports local artists of color and brings art to our civic spaces. She studied Art History at the University of Washington, and have worked in various art galleries and museums, including the Galerie Albert Benamou in Paris, France; The Seattle Art Museum, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



Crystal Torres

Senior Land Use Planner | Design Review Program, Department of Construction and Inspections

Crystal has been a proponent of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery committee since starting with the City of Seattle in 2015. She believe art has the power to spark conversation within and between us. Serving on the EHAG committee allows her to support a platform where artists of color can share their stories and create/spark/generate those conversations within the City of Seattle community. Some of her favorite artists include Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Picasso.



Bradley Wilburn

Land Use Planner IV, Department of Construction and Inspections

In one way or another, my appreciation for art is hard wired into my DNA. Art is one of a number of a hues coloring my worldview. Art can bring magic to any moment, uplifting the soul-spirit to the heavens, if one is open. The other day while deep diving into a painting by a friend, I was transported to a place of sublime beauty. I fill my home and workspace with art, in its many facetted forms, letting the energy pervade space and time. It’s important for me to share art appreciation with others, that’s why I serve on the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery committee to connect artists of color to our community. Other related interests include advancing the Race and Social Justice Initiative within the City of Seattle. As an Alumnus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, I robustly meet the challenges uttered by Horace Mann’s College address in 1859. “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”



Iman Ibrahim

Office of Civil Rights



Aditi Kambuj

Seattle Department of Transportation



Cherry Briggs

Administrative Specialist | Design Review Program, Department of Construction and Inspections

Being Native, Cherlyn have been surrounded by art her whole life. Be it through the constant prayers, winter stories, songs – a simple lullaby or highly elaborate chants, ceremonial sand paintings or creative drawings using any available medium, turquoise/silver jewelry, woven baskets and blanket clothing, leather belts and that’s just the Dine’ art she's familiar with.



Patricia Spears

Lead Administrative Coordinator, Department of Construction and Inspections



Sokha Dahn

Community Engagement Specialist | City of Seattle, Office of Housing

Music has always had a special place in my heart. It speaks to my soul – and I think that’s one of the reasons I originally started deejaying. Through EHAG, I aspire to help build and connect with the community of artists of color. I hope to be able to feed my need to be surrounded by artists, music & people. I hope that I can help others as well in doing this.