About Koloud Tarapolsi

Kay Tarapolsi storyteller Libyan American artist illustrationKoloud ‘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 50 states (plus Puerto Rico). 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 2020 Kay became the Curator for the Seattle Salaam Culture Museum.

In 2008, she started her company A Crafty Arab where she is able to handcraft a vibrant Arab world. 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.

Koloud Tarapolsi Arabesque Quilling Artwork

Koloud ‘Kay’ Tarapolsi has been creating quilling artwork, and teaching it to children and adults, for 10 years in the Pacific Northwest. Quilling evolved from Egyptian filigree and got its name from Renaissance nuns that wound stripes of paper around their writing quills. The paper was shaped into a design, then glued and added onto furniture or framed masterpieces. Koloud enjoys using the quilling stripes in her arabesque art since the paper allows her the freedom to explore movement in Islamic calligraphy while other mediums she has tried, such as clay and wood, have been too restrictive.

Koloud Tarapolsi Art Public Shows

  • 2019 – Suzanne Zahr Gallery, Mercer Island, WA
  • 2018 – Onyx Fine Arts Collective, Gallery Onyx Grand Opening Show, Seattle, WA
  • 2017 – ACES: Artists of Color Expo & Symposium. Shunpike, Armory, Seattle Center, WA
  • Seattle Art Museum Volunteer Committee. Annual Volunteer Show, Seattle Art Museum, WA
  • International Refugee Committee. ARTvocacy, Bainbridge Island Museum, WA
  • 2016 – Onyx Fine Arts Collective. Richland Public Library, Richland, WA
  • International Refugee Committee. ARTvocacy, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA
  • 2015 – Seattle Art Museum Volunteer Committee. Annual Volunteer Show, Seattle Art Museum, WA
  • 2015 – Bellevue College ACSA, Arab Artists & Arabic Art Exhibition, Bellevue Art Museum, WA
  • 2014 – Onyx Fine Arts Collective, 10th Annual Art Exhibit of Artists of African Descent. Washington Convention Center, Seattle, WA

Koloud Tarapolsi’s Unpublished Manuscripts

Koloud Tarapolsi has been an Arab storyteller for the King Country Public Library for 8 years and has never been able to read a picture book from anyone from her birth country, Libya. She hopes to change that by creating hand made books for her library sessions and hopes to get these published soon.

  • Blessed Moroccan – Picture book biography about Moroccan visual artist Chaïbia Talal
  • Najat’s Multicolored Souk – Picture book biography about United Arab Emirates visual artist Dr. Najat Makki
  • Ilhan Wom The Election – Picture book biography about Somali American politician Ilhan Omar
  • Gate 4A – Picture book adaptation from a work from Palestinian American writer Naomi Shihab Nye
  • The Alien Who Loved Hummus – Picture book about a lost alien who tries different Arab foods

Koloud Tarapolsi Past Projects

Koloud Tarapolsi Professional Affiliates

A Crafty Arab is a member of these communities:

Koloud Tarapolsi 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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