On February 16, Mayor Ed Murray gave his State of the City address, which waaaaaaay down in the weeds made a little mention of something that is a big deal for the arts in Seattle. He said:
SDOT and our offices of Economic Development and Arts & Culture have worked together on a plan to make the currently-empty upper floors of King Street Station available as new public space for Seattle’s arts and culture community, and affordable space for our small businesses. Not only does this create more opportunities for our local artists, it gives thousands of commuters, neighbors and visitors access to Seattle’s arts scene and local businesses in completely new ways.
I asked Calandra Childers, the city's Office of Arts & Culture spokesperson, to tell me more. What we know now, she said, is that the mayor has instructed Arts & Culture "to move forward with turning that space that has served as temporary art space under Greg Lundgren's leadership into permanent cultural space.
Childers added "it's a long-term process." Lundgren's lease lasts until the end of 2016. But the Office of Arts & Culture will announce in April its "plan for community outreach and engagement."
"We want to make sure we're hearing from the community in what they want the space to be, so it actually meets community need," she said.
Start thinking of how this space can become truly relevant. I'll write more about my thoughts when the time comes.
Mayor Murray had even more good news for the arts yesterday. Civic Partners, the city's biennial investment program that supports arts and cultural organizations across the city, across disciplines, and includes all sizes of orgs, is awarding $1.8 million this biennium. It's the largest amount the program has ever awarded, about $100,000 more than 2014/2015.
Higher admissions taxes from amenities like the Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Great Wheel have helped bump up the budget, Childers said, adding that the mayor also moved to increase the arts allocation of admissions tax from 75 to 80 percent, and that money is now directed to cultural space work and the city's Creative Advantage arts education partnership.
The full list of grantees for 2016/2017 is here.