Racial Equity

ARTS' programs are shaped by the belief that arts and culture are a vehicle for radical social change and an effective strategy to address the pressing issues of our time. We believe that we need to center the arts in our strategy, but also look beyond our field to affect change structurally–in partnership with the community, City departments, other institutions and jurisdictions–so we can help build racial equity in housing, criminal justice, education, jobs, the environment, and more.

ARTS' 2017 investments reflect this. In partnership with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), ARTS continued to create space for Seattle arts and cultural communities to learn about and organize around social inequities, by offering a series of free trainings and workshops. Guided by our Commitment to Racial Equity, we continue to explore ways of building equity principles into all our programs and operations.

Racial Equity
Voices of a People's History, Image by Jenny Crooks

Statement of Our Commitment

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture commits to an anti-racist work practice that centers the creativity and leadership of people of color - those most impacted by structural racism - to move toward systems that benefit us all. We also acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.

We envision a city of people whose success, safety and health are not pre-determined by their race. A city where all artists, performers, writers and creative workers have the freedom, agency and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences. At the same time, we acknowledge that our actions - both conscious and unconscious, past and present - have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for communities of color. We work toward our vision by addressing and working to eliminate institutional racism in our programs, policies and practices.

In alignment with the City's Race and Social Justice Initiative, we seek new solutions that use arts as a strategy to drive not only our office, but the City as a whole toward racial equity and social justice. We will continue to break barriers and build arts-integrated tools that challenge the status quo, and push us toward the inclusive society we envision.

Racial Equity
Real Talk - Artists of Color, Photo by Jenny Crooks
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