About Kay Tarapolsi

Kay Tarapolsi storyteller Libyan American artist illustrationKoloud “Kay” Tarapolsi

Kay Tarapolsi is a Libyan American artist who creates art to promote a positive image of Arab culture.

Kay moved to the US with her family when she was 7 years old and has traveled to 45 states (the Northeast is all that is missing). She received her Bachelors of Science from Oklahoma State University in Sociology and Art History, with a specialty in African art.  She did her college internship in Florida at Walt Disney World, by earning a Ducktorate in Management – Disney Style.

Moving to Seattle in 1992, Kay started volunteering at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), where she has been a Docent since 1994. In 2001, she received her Masters from the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, with an interest in Middle East studies and also obtained Museology Certification from the Burke Museum. She founded Arab Artists Resources & Training, an international non-profit that lists over Arab artists and organizations worldwide, in June of 2001.

Kay was appointed Arts Commissioner for the City of Redmond by the Mayor for 6 years and has been on the Executive Board of the African Council at SAM and the Salaam Cultural Museum.

Kay became Board Director of the Arab Center of Washington from 2005 to 2007 and worked extensively on the 2005 Arab Festival as Grant Writer and on the Steering Committee. She then became Producer of the 2007 Arab Festival, was on the Steering Committee for the 2009 Arab Festival, and Booth Coordinator for the 2013 Arab Festival.

In 2008, she started her company A Crafty Arab where she is able to handcraft a vibrant Arab world. When her youngest started school in 2012, she turned toward the business full time and now sells online on Amazon, Etsy, and Zibbet. Her products can be found

  • Seattle Public Library FriendShop, Seattle, WA
  • Fabric of Life boutique, Edmonds, WA
  • Arab American Museum in Dearborn, MI
  • Smithsonian African Museum in Washington, DC

The Arabic Alphabet Animal Poster became an idea back in 2002 when Kay received an alphabet poster (in English) by Jill M. Schmidt, a published illustrator of children’s books. Kay realized there was a need for an Arabic poster that was bright, fun and colorful and began working with Jill in 2010 to create this product line.

Kay teaches Arab art education to various schools in the Pacific Northwest and has been an artist in resident in several summer camps. Contact her for more information

See more of Kay’s handmade craft work:

Zibbet shop

Past Projects

  • Producer, Arab Festival, Arab Center of Washington, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA
  • Project Manager, Finding Common Ground: Washingtonian Arabs define their identity, MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry), Seattle, WA
  • Community Leader, Seeds of Compassion Parade for the Dalai Lama, Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
  • Outdoor Sculpture Curator, City of Redmond, WA
  • Gallery Manager, NW Woodworking Gallery, Kirkland, WA

Certification

  • March 2010 – Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH) Business Development Training Certification
  • September 2009 – King County Library System World Language Training Certification
  • April 2003 – United Way of King County Leadership Effectiveness and Diversity Training Certification

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