We have officially opened our first cafe in the South Seattle neighborhood of Hillman City and we've partnered with local arts nonprofit Community Arts Create (CAC) on a mural designed by neighborhood artists and high school students. Together with CAC, we hosted a grand opening and mural unveiling celebration at the new flagship cafe and roastery (5600 Rainier Ave S Unit A, Seattle, WA 98118) on Monday, November 18. Mural artists shared their stories, followed by coffee tasting and food from Umami Kushi.
Onda’s model is about connecting people with the farmers who grew their coffee, and sharing revenue from every purchase directly with the grower to support higher wages, better coffee and a healthier planet. Creating a space where diverse communities can connect and share ideas was part of the reason we wanted to expand our online- and wholesale-only business to a brick-and-mortar location in Hillman City, said Onda co-founder Paul Tupper.
“Hillman City represents a multitude of global cultures in its own right and Community Arts Create has served as a trusted advocate for community development and social engagement through art for the past decade in South East Seattle,” he said. “This mural is the first of many projects that we hope to do together.”
The process of creation for the mural was led by artist Devon Hale, who led a group of students at Rainier Beach High School to “mastermind” a piece that welcomed people to Hillman City. “Youth are a huge part of how a community works and succeeds,” The student vision reads. “We are attempting to portray a vision of the healthy, loving, united community we have been, are, and hope to always be despite the constant shifts in vernacular, culture, style, intellect, and the vibe of many diverse groups that have lived in this area.” Ideas for the mural also came from community members, who were invited to sketch or paint what about this neighborhood was important to them.
Now cafe customers and Rainier Ave commuters will be greeted by a 20-foot tall interpretation of a beehive, representing the work it takes from everyone to build a community together. Individual hexagons explore themes such as education justice, environmental sustainability, community history, and gender equality. The students hope that the mural is “welcoming to incoming citizens but also reminiscent of the people and lifestyles that existed before us.”