Viva Vera 2016 - Maia Pagan (keynote speaker)The Vera Project celebrated its 15th year at a gala celebration proudly presented by community partners Sub Pop and Rhapsody.

The 9th annual Viva Vera gala took place on Saturday, February 20 at The Triple Door, and featured performances by local pop artists Briana Marela [JAGJAGUWAR] and Crater, whose debut album came out last week on Help Yourself Records. Guests enjoyed appetizers and dinner catered by Wild Ginger, and drinks from Oola Distillery, Underground Wine Project, Lowercase Brewing, Caffe Vita, and Timber City Ginger Beer.

The gala brought together over 200 of Seattle’s premier music and art supporters and luminaries and raised over $116,000 for The Vera Project’ all-ages music and education programing. Guests bid on items during live and silent auctions. Featured items included a one-of-a-kind set of hand screenprinted David Bowie posters from local artists in celebration of Intergalactic Bowie Day, a summer pig roast party from Matt’s In the Market, a chance to “cruise the town” with Macklemore, a VIP package for The Goodship Academy of Higher Education, a “design your own podcast” package, and limited edition Sparkman Cellars etched magnum wine bottles custom made with the 2016 Viva Vera art. Guests also entered for a chance to win Seattle’s best raffle prize: $1200 to spend at Linda Dershang’s bars and restaurants.

“This year’s gala was a huge success,” said Tim Lennon, who was appointed as The Vera Project’s first executive director in May. “The support this city and its music and arts scenes showed Vera was as inspiring as the party was fun. This is a truly beautiful community and, thanks to everyone’s support, together we are ready to launch into another amazing year of all-ages volunteer-fueled culture making and youth empowerment.”

The keynote speaker, 17-year old Vera member Maia Pagan, spoke eloquently to the audience about the positive impact her involvement with Vera has had on her life: “People— adults— asked my opinion and when I answered, they listened. At members’ meetings, people listened. When I walked into a room, people paid attention to me. I was acknowledged. I was validated. I was empowered and entrusted to represent the organization in ways that I would have never believed.”

Maia’s experience was echoed in a video that featured current and past Vera members. The video, produced by Marcy Stone Francois, can be seen at:

The Vera Project is more than a music venue, more than a classroom; Vera fosters an environment in which people of all ages can connect with each other, learn to work in music and arts production, and become leaders in their communities. Vera offers concerts, classes in silk screening, concert sound, DJing, music journalism, and lighting production, and offers opportunities for young people to get involved in every level of arts programming, management, and organizational leadership. For more information visit or contact Development Coordinator Katherine Humphreys at

Thank you to Billy and Piper O’Neill and all our friends at Sub Pop, Rhapsody, Boeing, Vulcan, Ticketfly, The 10 Club, United Reprographics, Eyes on Fremont, Chihuly Garden and Glass, The Space Needle, The Stranger, and Pagliacci Pizza!

By Zen Chi

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