Q&A Atta Dawahare January 05 2015
Atta Dawahare is someone we have seen out and about in Seattle, always with a smile on his face and passion for the day to day. His support and love for the arts was always of interest to us and when he contributed to the creation of this project we wanted to feature him in the beginning of a series about art enthusiasts.
Sierra Stinson: First off, tell us about yourself. What are you interested in and what do you do professionally?
Atta Dawahare: My name is Atta Dawahare and I help people grow. Professionally I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I have a private practice, Union Therapy, down in Pioneer Square. I have been in business since 2002.
In my life and practice I focus a lot of my time and energy exploring inner dynamics that affect the way we perceive ourselves, our relationships and the world around us. In addition to my Master of Counseling, I also have a Master of Divinity.
SS: I would love to know how you are involved in the artistic community here, I know you have a bit of a collection going yourself and would love to know whose work you've collected. Who are the artists you have your eye on these days?
AD: I have been going to art galleries and concerts since I moved to Seattle in 1998. In 2012 I took a very special class at the Victor Hugo House called Writing the City. It was taught by Charles Mudede. In that class I met Amanda Manitach. Via Amanda I have met so many great artist in the Seattle area. Last year I volunteered with Crystal Barbre and Kyle Abernethy at the Art Lair in Belltown. My goal was to create a presence for growth in their community. It was an experiment that attempted to help students process what came up for them emotionally as they faced the challenges of learning to draw and paint. Art is not just a skill. Art in many ways is what allows us to connect with each other and ourselves. Having help processing these connections can be such an empowering experience.
When a new client comes into my office I always mention in the first session that my goal is to help liberate them to become more fully who they want to be. This is the gift that art has given me. Art allows me the space to more fully be myself and connect with others who are pushing beyond the preconditioned perspectives that bombard us daily. I was raised in a very fundamental christian home in Kentucky. I can not remember a time in my life when I did not know that we were to give 10% of our financial income to the church. While I no longer ascribe to religion, I have taken a powerful lesson in giving. The way that lesson translates into my life today is through supporting local artists by purchasing their work. I often think of the Smurf society. Aside from the totally bizarre gender issues going on there, I love how everyone can do what they do in society and it is cool. Like Artist Smurf. He just gets to make art. And that is it! No one expects him to do any more or less. Nowadays most artists in the city have to try to find a way to make art and survive living in ever increasing expensive society. Bottom line: Support your local artists. And do it regularly. Build it into your budget like you had one. As way of inspiration here are some of the artists I currently have works up in my home: Amanda Manitach, Crystal Barbre, Monica Rochester, Amanda Prince, Siolo Thompson, Jay Mason, Laurel Dodge, Almendra Sandoval, Kerry Confer and Maysun Dawahare.
SS: How does art interact with your every day?