City of Seattle
Mayor Edward B. Murray


Seattle is a growing and creative city. We have a vibrant arts community that has proven time and again that Seattle is a cultural leader. I am committed to supporting Seattle’s arts community and making us one of the most dynamic arts cities in the world. Investing in the arts makes our community more vibrant, spurs economic growth and furthers our pursuits of social and economic justice. We are an international cultural hub and we understand the cultural value of art and its economic potential.

The City invested $2.6 million in 2014 to support more than 360 individuals and institutions, representing a major investment in Seattle's cultural and artistic community. We also named Capitol Hill the first ever Arts District, which will nurture and protect arts and culture in our neighborhoods. Because of the Creative Advantage initiative, more than 1,600 students in the Central Area were able to attend music classes.

Investing in our youth and cultural organizations is an investment in Seattle’s future. Thank you for supporting our city with your time, energy, and vision. 2014 was an amazing year and together we can make 2015 even better.


Mayor Edward B. Murray
City of Seattle

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  • Welcome
  • Grants
  • Equity
  • Mayor's Awards
  • Cultural Space
  • Public Art
  • Youth
  • Financials
  • Staff & Commission

Fifty million dollars. That's the milestone the Office of Arts & Culture reached in 2014 - surpassing the $50 million mark in grants to Seattle's cultural organizations and artists over the past forty plus years. It's certainly quite an accomplishment - but it's so much more than a talking point. That investment can be traced in paintings, scripts, exhibitions, performances, and much more: a city transformed by art.

The Henry Art Gallery was a 2014 Cultural Partner, presenting Ann Hamilton’s the common S E N S E. Photo Jonathan Vanderweit

Through the following granting programs, the Office of Arts & Culture invested $2.6 million in 367 organizations and artists to support more than 4,400 performances, events and exhibit days ultimately serving an audience of 1.74 million participants. Each of the granting programs utilizes a community panel process and employs a race and social justice lens in the selection process. 


Cuong Vu performed at EMP Level 3 as part of the 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival, a 2014 Civic Partner. Photo by Daniel Sheehan.

In 2014, we increased the number of arts and cultural organizations we provided funding to by more than 20% through our Civic Partner funding program, making this the largest number of groups funded in our 43-year history. Close to $1.7 million was distributed. Together, these funded organizations served an audience of over 1.4 million people, including more than 168,000 students and youth. The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is a Civic Partner that encourages the exploration of the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods and games including Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations at Seattle Center each April. 


The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience used their Arts Mean Business grant for an Education Manager position to provide leadership and oversight of The Wing's expanding education and tours programs. Photo: Jenny Crooks

The Arts Mean Business 2.0 funding program aspires to create greater equity and inclusiveness in Seattle by funding pivotal arts jobs for arts, cultural and heritage organizations that represent historically underserved communities. Through the program, six Seattle arts, heritage, cultural and arts-service organizations hired pivotal jobs that make a difference in their ability to sustainably carry out their missions. For example, Deaf Spotlight hired their first paid staff, an executive director, to provide leadership toward the achievement of the organization's mission: to inspire, encourage, and showcase creative works of, by, and for Deaf people in the Pacific Northwest.  


ArtsWest received a Cultural Facilities grant in order to make repairs after a flood. Pictured here is their 2014 presentation of Dogfight. Photo: Michael Brunk

Cultural Facilities supports facility renovations like ADA access or the completion of the final phase of new facilities for Seattle-based arts, heritage, cultural and arts service organizations. A total of $225,000 was distributed to eleven organizations in 2014, providing facility improvements such as a redesign for the Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle’s community center kitchen, and the creation of an adjacent outdoor area as a community gathering space.


Dancers perform at the annual Othello International Music and Arts Festival, representing the diverse culture of Rainier Valley. Photo: Jenny Crooks

The Neighborhood & Community Arts funding awards supported 40 neighborhood arts festivals and events in 2014. The program invested $48,000 ($1,200 per organization) including the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival, a one-day multicultural festival featuring musical, dance and theatrical performances from cultures in the greater Othello neighborhood.


This young dancer performed as part of “Welcome to Our Native Land Powwow!” at the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center this year. Native Kulturz received a smART ventures grant for their presentation. Photo: Jenny Crooks

As a small awards program, smART ventures encourages innovation and broadens participation by communities that may not qualify for other funding programs. smART ventures provides support up to $1,000, proving that small investments can have big impacts. Recipient Gabrielle Nomura produced a new contemporary ballet combining taiko drumming, theatrical vignettes and fresh choreography, casting light on the topic of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. This year smART ventures distributed 65 grants, a new record.


As part of Natasha Marin’s CityArtist Project grant for her Red Lineage project, she conducted community workshops, leading participants in the creation of their own original Red Lineage poems. Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

The CityArtist program, which assists individual artists based in Seattle to develop and present their work, awarded $160,000 to 33 artists working in literary, media and film, and visual arts in 2014. Fifty-five percent of awards went to first-time recipients. Writer Sierra Nelson completed her manuscript of 64 new poems inspired by the ancient Chinese divination method of Book of Changes (I Ching), incorporating an interactive structure for new and diverse audiences.
*Mapping is representative of project locations


In addition to the above programs, there are two additional funding programs that support youth engagement with the arts: the Work Readiness Arts Program (WRAP) and Youth Arts. Find out more in the Investing in the Future: Youth Development section below.

Our Office provided on-going opportunities through implementation, partnership and training for our partners in the cultural community to gain greater awareness and skills in becoming a more racially equitable community. From workshops on Diversity & Inclusion with Carmen Morgan to White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo, and from an Arts Connections day with individual artists to the ongoing ARTISTS UP program, the work of the office is centered in equity.

The forum was moderated by the Office of Arts & Culture’s Kathy Hsieh. Photo: Jenny Crooks

Over 400 people attended our Artistic Freedom & Artistic Responsibility event in partnership with the Seattle Rep, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and 4Culture, which also reached people nation-wide via live-streaming and trending on Twitter. The forum offered a diversity of perspectives on how to approach new and historical work in a way that is meaningful, relevant and equitable as the demographics of our country become more diverse. The #SeattleAFAR hashtag trended with over 1600 tweets.

Showcasing Seattle's Diversity: 2014 marked the launch of the Ethnic Artist Roster, a diverse list of artists of color who were selected through a panel process for exhibition opportunities in city owned or affiliated galleries. The associated web portal is a resource for anyone who is looking for artwork by artists of color or who wants to host a culturally relevant art exhibition.

Participants to ARTISTS UP programming had the opportunity to network and learn about new programs. Photo: Bruce Clayton Tom

In 2014, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture partnered with 4Culture and Artist Trust on ARTISTS UP, an initiative to better serve all artists throughout Seattle, King County and Washington State. Through the course of the year, the program created networking and resource events for Latino; Asian, Asian-American, and Asian Pacific Islander; and African and African American artists. The year ended with a social mixer for all artists, and continued outreach to ensure that all artist communities feel connected to opportunities available to them. The series continues to grow and reach Native Artists in early 2015 and has served over 150 people to date. The information gathered will be used to deepen the engagement of our programs and services with individual artists.

The Arts & Social Change Showcase gave artists the opportunity to present their work to presenters. Photo: Jenny Crooks

Puget Sound has a wealth of arts agencies who are interested in presenting a wide variety of visual art, theater, music, dance and interdisciplinary performances. This event gave artists an opportunity to showcase their work and to network with presenters and other artists. Organized by the Office of Arts & Culture in collaboration with the Arts and Social Change Committee: 4Culture, ArtXchange Gallery, The City of Bellevue, Novum Lux Consultants, Seattle Center, and Washington State Arts Commission.

We partnered with Theatre Puget Sound for two transformative community discussions tackling issues of diversity, inclusion and equity, led by Carmen Morgan. Arts organizations across the nation are having to redefine who they are, and who they want to be in relation to their communities. The first community workshop explored creating institutional change in our arts organizations, while the second was a precursor to a full year of analysis and skills-building on an organizational level. A select cohort of local arts institutions will spend a year together moving from discussion to implementation of structural and organization change.

Furthering change on an individual level, we commissioned Robin DiAngelo to create and present several workshops on the topic of Building White Racial Stamina. These workshops focused on the specific way that racism manifests through DiAngelo's concept of "white fragility," the inability for white people to tolerate racial stress, preventing them from engaging constructively across race.

Main Image: Over 400 people attended “Artistic Freedom & Artistic Responsibility”, a forum dedicated to discussing the approach of new and historical work in a way that is relevant to all audiences. Photo: Jenny Crooks

Over 500 people attended the 2014 Mayor’s Arts Awards. Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

The Mayor's Arts Awards recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts and cultural organizations and community members committed to enriching their communities through the arts. This year, the Seattle Arts Commission selected a poet for the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony. Donte’ "Da Queen" Johnson is a poet, community organizer, workshop coordinator and writing circle facilitator. He performed a poem called "Seattle" that had the standing-room only crowd cheering before we even got to the awards.

Donte’ “Da Queen” Johnson reads his poem, “Seattle”. Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

Watch the 2014 Awards Ceremony here.

Main image: 2014 Mayor’s Arts Award winners with Mayor Ed Murray. Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

Alan Chong Lau is a poet, painter, editor and sometimes curator and coordinator of arts events. As a poet, his work is represented by publications in numerous anthologies as well as individual titles such as "Songs For Jadina" which won a Before Columbus Award and "Blues and Greens - A Produce Worker's Journal." As a visual artist he has shown in Seattle since the early 1980s represented by Francine Seders Gallery until her recent retirement. He is also the Arts Editor for the International Examiner, a Seattle-based Asian American community newspaper. He believes that the arts play a vital role in society and through his various occupations facilitates culture throughout Seattle. He is a freelance coordinator and curator around town, creating "pop-up" arts events and shows in venues as diverse as Wing Luke Asian Museum, Kobo at Higo's, Elliott Bay Book Company and the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery.

MOHAI has grown to become the largest private heritage organization in Washington State and attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually. MOHAI is dedicated to enriching lives through preserving, sharing and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the nation. The museum engages communities through interactive exhibits, online resources, and award-winning public and youth education programs.

Executive director Leonard Garfield directs all activities at the museum, working with the Board of Trustees, MOHAI staff and the community to ensure MOHAI achieves its mission. Mr. Garfield holds a M.A. degree in American Culture from the University of Michigan and has more than 25 years' experience managing regional cultural organizations, including 15 years as executive director at MOHAI and six years as executive director of the King County Office of Cultural Resources (now 4Culture). In February 2014, Garfield was one of Seattle Business Magazine's Executive Excellence Award recipients.

Path with Art transforms the lives of adults in recovery from homelessness, addiction and other trauma by providing opportunities for in-depth arts engagement and positive community connection. Since 2007, Path with Art has helped students find their voice through the power of artistic expression. Today, the organization partners with 28 social service partners such as Plymouth Housing Group, Recovery Café, and Harborview Medical Center to offer 30 eight-week studio art classes taught by professional teaching artists across 18 disciplines. Through its Access Art program, Path with Art collaborates with leading arts organizations, to connect participants to arts and cultural events throughout the city. Quarterly art exhibitions and showcases invite the broader community to engage with students through their art and individual stories, fostering a dialogue about the issues surrounding homelessness and recovery, seeing individuals beyond the lens of statistics.

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe is a federally recognized tribe in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Known as the People of the Moon, Snoqualmie Tribal members were signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliot of 1855. The Tribe owns and operates the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, WA. To date, the Tribe has donated over $4 million dollars to non-profit organizations located in Washington State. Over fifty arts and culture organizations including the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle International Film Festival, the Genius Awards, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, EMP, Vera Project, Seattle Children's Theatre, and Longhouse Media have received donations from the Snoqualmie Tribe. The Tribe seeks to support these and other exemplary arts organizations in the Puget Sound area and collaborate with them to expand open access programming that allows underserved communities the opportunity to enjoy these regional treasures.

After a thirty-year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world's most respected lutenists, conductors, and baroque opera specialists. Previously, he was based in Bremen, Germany, as Professor at the Hochschule für Künste and director of Tragicomedia, which toured worldwide and recorded numerous CDs. Stubbs is the permanent artistic co-director of the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF). With his colleague Paul O'Dette, Stephen directs all BEMF operas and recordings, three of which were nominated for Grammy awards. In 2007 Stephen founded Pacific MusicWorks in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in early music and contemporary performance. Other recent appearances include Gluck's Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte in Hawaii, and Handel's Messiah with the Seattle Symphony. His discography includes well over 100 CDs. In 2013, Stephen was appointed Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music.

Since 2004, TeenTix has been the central office of a community-wide effort to engage young people in civic life through the arts. The organization believes that arts institutions have a crucial role to play in building better futures for the youth in our community, and as such, they provide teens with tools to become empowered arts audiences, critics, leaders, and influencers. With a consortium of 54 regional arts-presenting organizations, TeenTix has facilitated the sale of over 45,000 $5 arts tickets to teens over the past decade. Members of the TeenTix Press Corps have written over 400 arts reviews for the TeenTix Blog, the region's best source of teen-centric arts coverage. Graduates of their arts leadership training program, The New Guard, have gone on to take up positions in arts, culture, and civic organizations both locally and nationally. Their vision of a healthy community includes diverse civic leaders who value, support and participate in a thriving arts community.

Art enables people to better understand their communities and their lives. Art and cultural space have also been shown to increase the liveliness and vitality of a city, and even improve property value. Cultural space is at the heart of every successful neighborhood in Seattle, which is why we invest in spaces through our Cultural Facilities Fund. The inclusion of public artworks, theaters, galleries, cinemas, museums, bookstores, and studios are the physical manifestation of the vibrancy our city has to offer.

Intermediate dancers perform Shannon Stewart's choreography in the Strictly Seattle performances at Velocity. Photo: Tim Summers

Have you ever wondered how many theatre seats there are in Seattle? Or square feet of gallery space? How much room does cultural space actually take up? We set out to answer these questions and more. From the largest to the smallest, we are counting every theater, gallery, arts office, rehearsal room, library, music club, museum, and cinema in town. The results of this ongoing inventory are available through the city's open data portal.

The Nesholm Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall is just one of many venues featured on the new Spacefinder Seattle website, connecting artists to art spaces.

Over 600 spaces have been counted, adding up to 6.9 million square feet of cultural space including 63,871 theater seats and 588,241 square feet of gallery space.

The Cultural Space inventory project set the stage for the launch of the Spacefinder Seattle website in 2015, designed to connect artists and art spaces.

If you're an individual artist with permanent workspace (even in your own home) please take part in the ongoing inventory.

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture was pleased to launch an Arts & Cultural District program in 2014, to celebrate a density of artists and arts organizations in various neighborhoods. The presence of arts and cultural programming in a neighborhood increases vibrancy, walkability and livability. Support for the Arts & Cultural Districts program was provided by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support cultural space work. The $50,000 grant was applied to creating a Cultural Space Toolkit. The grant was one of only 66 the NEA awarded this year.

The Cultural Space Toolkit includes programs such as pop-up space activations, wayfinding, parklets, historic markers, pole banners and busking programs that may be applied to neighborhoods as desired by the residents. These resources are part of a cohesive strategy for placemaking and neighborhood engagement, and have been designed for improving walkability, marketing, right-of-way improvements, wayfinding, preservation, and fostering an increased density of arts projects throughout Seattle, in order to best support artists, art spaces and cultural vibrancy.

Capitol Hill, with its indisputable vibrancy, walkability and livability, was the first proclaimed district of the new Arts & Cultural Districts program.

The 12th Avenue Arts building, featuring two new theatre spaces, opened in the middle of the new Capitol Hill Arts District. Photo courtesy Capitol Hill Housing.

Over the course of the past 35 years, a diverse group of arts and cultural organizations have been re-occupying a formerly light-industrial area known as "auto row." The District is now home to over 40 arts and cultural organizations. More recently, the neighborhood is experiencing rapid change and gentrification. Existing arts organizations are under real threat of being displaced by rising rents and redevelopment. Capitol Hill is increasingly perceived as being in danger of losing its history as a cultural hub. The City of Seattle, in collaboration with the Capitol Hill Housing and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and in consultation with over a dozen arts organizations, launched the Capitol Hill Arts District in an attempt to retain the cultural vibrancy in this unique neighborhood.

Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a percent-for-art ordinance in 1973. For more than 40 years, our public art program has integrated artworks and the ideas of artists into a variety of public settings, advancing Seattle's reputation as a cultural center for innovation and creativity.

The program specifies that 1% of eligible city capital improvement project funds be set aside for the commission, purchase and installation of artworks in a variety of settings. By providing opportunities for individuals to encounter art in parks, libraries, community centers, on roadways, bridges and other public venues, we simultaneously enrich citizens' daily lives and give voice to artists.

In addition to permanent and temporary public art projects funded through the percent for art ordinance, the Office also presents a variety of arts and cultural activations through the year in partnership with other organizations and agencies. These activations encompass concerts, buskers and interactive art projects.

We were very pleased to announce that internationally recognized artist Ann Hamilton was selected for a commission on the new public piers as part of Waterfront Seattle. Hamilton, known for large-scale, sensory installations, is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and has also represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. In partnership with Waterfront Seattle.

Seattle artist Norie Sato will create one of the first Waterfront projects on Union St: The East/West Connection on Union Street project is connecting streets to new public spaces on Seattle's Central Waterfront. Seattle artist Norie Sato was selected to collaborate with the project design team to create an original artwork or series of artworks on the rebuilt east-west Union Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way. In partnership with Waterfront Seattle and SDOT.

Sato also received the 2014 Annual Local Arts Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts. Active in public art for five decades, locally Sato was involved with the artist-run space and/or; served as a Seattle Arts Commissioner, Seattle Design Commissioner, and on the Public Art Advisory Committee; and acted as lead artist for Sound Transit's Seattle Central Link Light Rail.

In addition to the two Waterfront Seattle project artist selections, nine artists were selected for projects across the city, including:

     · Martha Jackson Jarvis for 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements
     · Katy Stone for Seattle City Light Technical Training Center
     · Chris McMullen for Georgetown Festival Street
     · Nikolaus Hafermaas for the North Precinct Project
     · Christine Bourdette for Yesler Park Project
     · Peter Reiquam for Safe Routes to Schools, Rainier Beach Square
     · Sam Trout for Shoreline Street Ends
     · W. Scott Trimble for Seattle City Light North Service Center Expansion
     · Oliver Hess for Fire Station 22

We were proud to learn that two of our projects were named in Americans for the Arts' 2014 Year in Review, the only national program recognizing projects of excellence in public art. Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, a colossal sculpture of a cat perched at the edge of the roof of Fire Station 9 in Fremont, and ‘Chromatic Crystallization (Seattle)' by Elizabeth Gahan, a temporary work in which crystalline structures created from colorful corrugated plastic and vinyl "grew" over the southern arch at Westlake Park were selected.

Elizabeth Gahan’s ‘Chromatic Crystallization (Seattle)' enveloped the southern arch at Westlake Park. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth R. Gahan

Year in Review presented awards to 37 outstanding public art projects completed in the previous year from across the United States and Canada.

The new Seattle Presents Gallery has hosted a variety of immersive installations, including by Alison Foshee. Photo: Deborah Paine

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture launched a new gallery space on the ground floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, at the corner of 5th Avenue and Columbia Street. The 180-square-foot space is known as the Seattle Presents Gallery, hosting a variety of immersive installations, curated exhibitions pulled from the City's Portable Works Collection, resident artists, and original artworks. The inaugural presentation featured Seattle-based filmmaker, animator and musician Clyde Petersen’s installation, called Empire Builder.

The Office of Arts & Culture also launched a new gallery space in the 7th floor of City Hall, appropriately called the Mayor’s Gallery. Featuring Seattle artists, the gallery launched with Carina del Rosario’s Passports Series, an exhibition that examined identity and discrimination.

Passport Series by Carina del Rosario

City Hall Gallery was busy with six exhibitions over the course of the year: Tessellated Language, Handed Down, Women’s Caucus for the Arts, Revolution – 5 After 1, The Rainier Beach Project: Overcoming Displacement, and Queror.

The Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery presented quarterly shows in 2014, featuring the work of Al Doggett and Donald Leonard, RajaaGharbi, YukiyoKwano and Tracy Carrera.

The gallery space in the Seattle Municipal Tower also featured quarterly exhibitions in 2014, starting with Heritage: Personal, Cultural Natural; moving to Who You Were, Who You Are, Where Are You Now? and Groundswell: Observing Landscape and ending with Myth Making.

With the grand opening of the SPACE Gallery at Warren G. Magnuson Park’s Building 30, a curated selection of the City’s Portable Works Collection were installed on the walls of SPACE (Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange) Gallery from October 16 to November 30. Dynamic and dramatic works were selected for the formal naval base, which is now owned by Seattle Parks & Recreation, and has been reclaimed as artist studios, an event space (the ‘Officers Club’) and SPACE gallery.

Over 400 permanently sited artworks of diverse media compromise the city’s public art collection, all of which receive annual condition assessments, preventive care and treatment prioritization. In 2014, public art conservation staff and consultants performed major conservation treatments on over 25 artworks, and preventive conservation on 80 works in the collection.

Artist Kurt Kiefer’s Belltown installation "The Second Avenue Project" received a substantial overhaul to its three street clock components, including new faces and time-keeping systems. In Tilikum Place Park, James Wehn’s artistic fountain depicting Chief Seattle and other historical events received extensive conservation treatments to the bronze components, including repatination in many areas.

Photos of James Wehn’s fountain depicting Chief Seattle and other historical Seattle events before and after conservation work was completed. Photos: Tiffany Hedrick

Other major conservation projects included Ginny Ruffner’s "The Unified Playing Field Theory" at the South Park Community Center; Carl Chew’s "Red Ball Stamp" at Blue Dog Pond; Ronald Hilbert’s "Spirit Dancing in the Longhouse" at the Washington State Convention Center; Lawrence Beck’s "Atala Kivliktwok Okitun Dukik" at Golden Gardens Park; Donald Crabtree’s "Untitled/Man and Woman" at the University Substation; Linda Beaumont’s "Step on no Pets" at the Seattle Animal Shelter; Douglass-Truth public library branch artwork "Children of the Sea" by Marita Dingus; Fire Station #10’s "Call and Response" by Stuart Nakamura; "Witness Trees" at Bergan Place by Jen Dixon and Louisa Boren Park’s "Untitled" by Lee Kelly.

Art has the capacity to change the way we understand ourselves and the people around us; art expands perspectives and leads the way to a richer appreciation of our community and our role within that community. In order to give young people the tools they need to succeed in school, life, and our City, we must invest in their creativity. We do this by ensuring that arts opportunities will be available to every student at every school in Seattle through our arts education initiative, The Creative Advantage. We also invest in arts training outside of the classroom, both during the school year and in the summer, through the Youth Arts and Work Readiness Arts Program (WRAP) grant programs. Inclusiveness is at the heart of the Office’s youth development programs; we must ensure these fundamental opportunities are accessible to everybody as a matter of equity. Investing in our youth is an investment in Seattle’s future. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute provides a wide variety of youth-focused programming. Please see that section for more information

In March 2013, the Creative Advantage began implementation in the Central District, in schools that feed into and out of Washington Middle School. Highlights from the first year of implementation include closing the access gap, students meeting standard in the arts, an additional 1,659 elementary students attending music classes, a new sense that arts learning has become a priority, and a new conversation around issues of social justice. Building on this year’s success, every K-5 student in the Central District will have music class next year.

Middle school students show off their arts skills at Bumbershoot. Photo: Payton Bordley

The Creative Advantage is Seattle Public School’s arts education plan, and represents a reinvestment in Seattle's students and our community's economic and creative future by addressing inequities in access to the arts. Through a unique public-private partnership between the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and The Seattle Foundation, The Creative Advantage aims to create pathways for all Seattle students to access a continuum of arts learning opportunities by 2020.

In 2015, SPS and ARTS will roll-out The Creative Advantage in south-southwest Seattle for all schools that feed into and out of Denny International Middle School. The program will expand into two additional pathways in 2015-2016. Read the full report here.

Find The Creative Advantage online at, at and on twitter SeattleArtsEd.

Roberto Ascalon presents at the Creative Advantage Arts Partner Institute at the Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Jenny Crooks

ARTS launched The Arts Partner Roster of teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations for The Creative Advantage in 2014, which will serve as a resource for schools seeking arts partners to meet their arts education goals. The roster is available District-wide, and can be shared with other City entities, such as Seattle Public Libraries and Seattle Parks and Recreation.


Youth Arts funds teaching artists and organizations providing out-of-school arts training. In 2014, Youth Arts awarded $175,000 to 32 programs, including Yesler Rec-Tech. Through this program, 19 youth were led by five artists-scholars through a civic leadership venture consisting of historic research, neighborhood interviews, and video-digital instruction that concluded in a public screening at the Frye Art Museum for an audience of more than 650. The program empowered youth to be advocates for their changing and redeveloping Yesler Terrace community, and participating young people emerged knowing their voices have a platform and are valued.

El Centro de la Raza received a Youth Arts grant for Day of the Dead activities. Photo: Jenny Crooks


Work Readiness Arts Program (or WRAP) funded eight organizations providing out-of-school programming linking arts learning and work experiences for Seattle youth ages 14 to 18. The program is a partnership with Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The Delridge Mural Project engaged youth with professional teaching artists to develop, design, and paint murals on two walls at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, reflecting the history of the area and community.

The Delridge Neighborhood Development Association partnered with the Work Arts Readiness Program to produce a mural at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Photo: Jenny Crooks

In response to a variety of organizations engaged in youth arts programming who are seeking new, expanded, permanent facilities, we hosted the Youth Space Summit, in which organizations discussed creating a central facility that could serve many purposes and raise consciousness, and invest in peer-to-peer, cohort learning. Participating organizations included SYSO, JazzED, Broadway Bound, Teen Tix, Northwest Choirs, Seattle Teaching Artists’ Network, NFFTY, Young Shakespeare Workshop, Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, Adefua African Music & Dance, Flamenco Gitana, NW Tap Connection, Ewajo Dance Center, Red Eagle Soaring Native American Theater, Seattle Music Partners, DeCajon Project, Youth Speaks Seattle (a program of Arts Corps), Seattle Drum School and 826 Seattle.

Main Image: A young musician gives a new instrument a try at the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra’s Jazz4Kids Concert and instrument petting zoo. Photo: Jim Levitt

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute celebrates, nurtures, preserves and presents African American and Diaspora performing arts, cultural wealth and iconic legacies.

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, a foundational program of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI), rung in its 11th anniversary with a nine-day festival featuring over 50 feature-length and short films. The festival opened with the spectacular Western "They Die By Dawn" by British actor, singer and filmmaker Jeymes Samuels, who wowed audiences with his humor and serious knowledge of American Westerns and the African Americans who populated the West. LHPAI reviewed over 130 film submissions from all over the world, welcomed 17 filmmakers, and engaged over 1,450 audience members, with the help of over 600 volunteer hours.

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival featured over 50 feature-length and short films this year.

Now in its third year as a holiday celebration, De Inga Y Mandinga is a bilingual (English-Spanish) multidisciplinary performance that explores artistic products of cultural mixing born of historical African diasporic influences in Latin America. "Inga" is a Castilianization of "Inca," a reference to Peruvian indigenous peoples. "Mandinga" refers to the enslaved West African peoples brought to the Americas. Thus "De inga y mandinga" is a popular phrase used to explain that Latinos have mixed heritage as a result of the encounter of Indigenous, African and European cultures. The performance tells this history incorporating poetry and video projections with song, music and dance.

A new holiday tradition is born with De Inga Y Mandinga Photo: Papo Vazquez

Social Justice from the Ground Up is an inclusive approach to the annual Martin Luther King Junior Day Celebration held at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Now in its sixth year, LHPAI welcomes over 300 young partners from Giddens School, Leschi Elementary, Lake Washington Girls’ School and Seattle Girls School to share their vision and interactive presentations and what MLK Day means to them and their community in the 21st century.

Eighty youth participated in the production of “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.”

Eighty youth, ages six through 19, immersed themselves in dance, music, theater, tech and costume design for the production of "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry." Students attended daily studio sessions with adult experts to learn about various disciplines. Youth engaged with the program through auditions, Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, Seattle Youth Employment Program, and tuition enrollment. The response was inspiring to a wide community as social justice values met youth and artistic voices.

Bearing Witness provides a place for young and emerging LGBTQ youth artists of color

LHPAI’s Quare program provides a place for young and emerging LGBTQ youth artists of color, allies and friends to meet with adult artistic mentors in dance, theater, music and writing. The year-end showcase "Bearing Witness" provides a space for LGBTQ youth of color, with their friends and allies, to express the realities of their experiences with authenticity and to name, explore, and celebrate who they are. This year’s program welcomed over 100 people with 22 youth performers. Produced in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Freshest Roots provides a place for youth to connect to music and arts through open mic nights.

Freshest Roots is an organization established to connect youth to their roots through music and art, while spreading awareness of culture and social issues, spurring creativity and positive energy and celebrating diversity. In partnership with the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Freshest Roots presents Expresso Open Mic on the first Friday of the month, with poets, vocalists, rappers, dancers and comedians. Expresso Open Mics are responsive to current events and social justice issues. With #FreshestrootsTalksFegurson, the open mic attracted more than 225 people to hear young emerging and established artists speak to their fear, shame and hope.

Main image: Over 300 young partners from Giddens School, Leschi Elementary, Lake Washington Girls’ School and Seattle Girls School attended the annual MLK Day celebration at LHPAI.

Royal Alley-Barnes

Royal Alley-Barnes

Sandra Boas-DuPree

Sandra Boas-DuPree

Payton Bordley

Payton Bordley

Calandra Childers

Calandra Childers

Jenny Crooks

Jenny Crooks

Lara Davis

Lara Davis

Lovell Davis

Lovell Davis

Steven Eng

Steven Eng

Randy Engstrom

Randy Engstrom

Sandy Esene

Sandy Esene

Eric Fredericksen

Eric Fredericksen

Irene Gómez

Irene Gómez

Blake Haygood

Blake Haygood

Tiffany Hedrick

Tiffany Hedrick

Annie Holden

Annie Holden

Kathy Hsieh

Kathy Hsieh

Jason Huff

Jason Huff

Marcia Iwasaki

Marcia Iwasaki

Elisheba Johnson

Elisheba Johnson

Jenny Ku

Jenny Ku

Erika Lindsay

Erika Lindsay

Kristi Matsuda

Kristi Matsuda

Jane Morris

Jane Morris

Jacqueline Moscou

Jacqueline Moscou

Sheila Moss

Sheila Moss

Deborah Paine

Deborah Paine

Kelly Pajek

Kelly Pajek

Joan Peterson

Joan Peterson

Jeff Pierce

Jeff Pierce

Matthew Richter

Matthew Richter

Amanda Standley

Amanda Standley

Dominique Thomas

Dominique Thomas

Ruri Yampolsky

Ruri Yampolsky




Vivian Phillips, Chair Seattle Theatre Group

Michael Seiwerath, Vice Chair Capitol Hill Housing Foundation

Jeff Benesi Mithun

Jonathan Cunningham** EMP Museum

Priya Frank*** University of Washington Bothell

Jerry Garcia Olson Kundig Architects

Terri Hiroshima Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Perri Howard VMG: Velocity Made Good

Sandra Jackson-Dumont* Seattle Art Museum

Amber-Rose Jimenez* The Seattle Foundation

Fidelma McGinn The Seattle Foundation

Billy O’Neill Self-employed

Amy Piñon** Arts Corps

Tracy Rector Longhouse Media

Kelly Rodriguez*** ARCADE

Jon Rosen* The Rosen Law Firm

David Sabee* Seattle Music INC

Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi ACT - A Contemporary Theatre

Huong Vu The Boeing Company

Sharon Williams Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas

*Term ending in 2014

**Term beginning in 2014

***Term beginning in 2015


Terri Hiroshima, Chair

Cassie Chin

Sam Farrazaino

Andy Fife

Vivian Phillips

Jane Richlovsky

Michael Seiwerath

Community Development
and Outreach Committee

Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, Chair

Kayla DeMonte

Christina DePaolo

Priya Frank

Mark Garth

Tracy Rector

Sarah Sidman

Huong Vu

Sharon Williams

Youth & Community Committee

Adrian Burton

Jonathan Cunningham

Wyking Garrett

Holly Hinton

Megan Jaspar

Scott Macklin

Tom Mara

Billy O'Neill

Amy Piñon

Tracy Rector

John Roderick

Patti Isacson Sabee

Nicole Jon Sievers

Jon Stone

Hollis Wong-Wear


Perri Howard, Chair

Bernie Alonzo

Jeff Benesi

Jay Deguchi

Jerry Garcia

Kurt Kiefer

Ellen Sollod


Laura Becker

Karen Chen

Zoe Funai

Jacob Galfano

Amy Herndon

Tim Lennon

Alfred Love

Athea Merredyth

Jeremy Morton