19/20 Artist-in-Residence: Benjamin Hunter

Benjamin Hunter is a 19/20 Season Artist-in-Residence. Learn more about this program.


Ben is an internationally touring multi-instrumentalist and composer, social entrepreneur, and community activist. In 2011, he founded Community Arts Create, a small, arts and community development organization that uses creativity as a stimulus for inter-generational, inter-cultural social engagement. In 2013, he co-founded The Hillman City Collaboratory, an incubator for social change in south Seattle. In 2016, Ben co-founded Black & Tan Hall as a next step in fashioning new models for community empowerment and equity. Trained as a classical violinist since age 5, Ben began exploring the world of fiddling while working towards his degree in performance from Whitman College. He’s since added vocals, mandolin, guitar and percussion to his repertoire as he traveled the country studying roots music in his duo with Joe Seamons. He performs on all of those instruments with various Seattle ensembles and solo, playing blues, old time, jazz, classical, and world roots music with emphasis on music from the African diaspora.

In 2016, he joined a Common Ground Music Project cohort of artists on a trip to Cuba to exchange ideas and conversations with a final performance. In 2017, he performed alongside Tracy Rector for City Arts Magazine’s Genre Bender. In 2018, he composed the music for Black Bois, a critically acclaimed modern dance performance, exploring Black male bodies in America. Born abroad and fortunate to have travelled extensively as a kid, Ben brings a world music curiosity to his teaching, playing, and community endeavors. Ben was the recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Award, 2016 City Arts Magazine Future’s List Award, 2016 International Blues Challenge winner, and the 2019 Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial Award. Ben is a Seattle Music Commissioner, and served on Seattle’s pilot BASE program board (Building Art Space Equitably).