Mayor announces $1.6 million investment in Seattle arts organizations
Mayor Mike McGinn today announced more than $1.6 million in investments to Seattle-based arts, heritage and cultural organizations through the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ Civic Partners program. The program will provide funding to 137 organizations in 2012.
“The strong relationship between art and the strength of our local economy is a part of why Seattle is an attractive place to live. The City’s investment provides vital working capital to help groups produce and present a variety of arts and cultural opportunities,” said McGinn. “By supporting creative work throughout the city, we improve our economy and help keep the arts affordable and accessible to thousands of residents and visitors.”
Representatives from funded organizations and City Councilmember Nick Licata joined in the announcement at The 5th Avenue Theatre, where Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – featuring a collaboration with choreographer Donald Byrd and his acclaimed Spectrum Dance Theater – is playing. Spectrum and The 5th Avenue Theatre each will receive funding in 2012.
“These funds from the City are invaluable to The 5th and to arts organizations around Seattle. They enable The 5th to provide jobs for 800 people a year, reach 60,000 adults and students through our education programs, and bring tens of millions of dollars in cultural tourism to our local community by attracting 300,00 people a year to downtown,” said David Armstrong, artistic director and executive producer at The 5th Avenue Theatre. “There are three great theater towns in the U.S.: New York City, Chicago and Seattle. The support from the City is essential in allowing us to carry on this great theater tradition in our community.”
The Civic Partners program awards funding to a full spectrum of Seattle arts, heritage and cultural groups – ranging from established organizations to small and emerging groups – with a minimum three-year history of serving Seattle residents and visitors. Funding supports organizations’ core programs and operations, aids in planning and attracting other supporters, and helps underwrite public access to a wide variety of quality arts and cultural opportunities.
“This moment is a truly exciting time for dance and all the arts in Seattle,” said Byrd. “Everyone who lives here can be proud and feel a part of what our arts community achieves because our City government, through its direct support of the arts, helps create a climate of creativity. The City of Seattle understands the value of helping the arts to thrive.”
Funded groups in 2012 represent a wide range of organization sizes, missions, disciplines and audiences served. They include heritage organizations such as the Northwest African American Museum, Historic Seattle, and Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project; youth-oriented groups such as The Talented Youth, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, and School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts; and diverse arts and cultural groups such as The Ethnic Heritage Council, Raven Chronicles and Chinese Arts & Music Association.
“With this funding, Densho engages in classroom discussions about making Seattle a more accepting place to live,” said Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, which later this month will mark the 70th anniversary of the incarceration of 6,500 innocent Japanese Americans from Seattle. “We share the personal stories of Japanese Americans from Seattle who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II so that students today can identify and help prevent similar mistakes from happening again.”
Nine of the 137 funded organizations are designated community partners, which are defined as arts service organizations that serve and enhance the capacity of artists and arts groups. Community partners include Artist Trust, ArtsEd Washington and Teen Tix.
For a complete list of funded organizations, visit the website: http://www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/org_partners.asp.
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs contracts with each Civic Partner organization to support a specific part of its annual public programming. In 2011, these city-sponsored programs offered almost 6,000 performances, events and exhibit days, engaged more than 20,700 volunteer and paid artists and served an audience of more than 1.4 million people, including almost 300,000 students and youth and nearly 500,000 free admissions.
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs promotes the value of arts and culture in communities throughout Seattle. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.