Local artists are pivoting to digital, and NASH wants to help.
Local artists are pivoting to digital, and NASH wants to help. NASH

A new platform called Northwest Arts Streaming Hub (NASH) hopes to throw a life preserver to drowning Pacific Northwest artists and organizations by creating a central digital space where they can rebroadcast old work or stream live performances of new stuff for audiences.

Like a Netflix for local art, NASH plans to aggregate content from a bunch of PNW venues and performers through different channels on its website, which will "soft launch...as early as the end of next week," according to Lily Raabe of the arts consulting firm Scandiuzzi Krebs, who helped organize the artists.

NASH will host the content for free, and artists who submit work to the site can collect donations or set up paywalls for live video.

On a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Raabe said the group is working with "community liaisons" to spread the word and to help "center racial, gender, and social equity" on the platform.

Right now those liaisons include Simon Javan Okelo of One Vibe Africa, former Seattle Arts Commissioner Vivian Phillips, Alex Rose of the city's film and music department, James Miles of Arts Corps, and Northwest Film Forum, who will "curate film content and will likely be the fiscal sponsors of NASH as we create more structures and a legal entity."

The site is in its early stages yet, but a brief digital tour revealed channels for dance, music, theater, visual art, arts education, film and video, performance art, and comedy/cabaret/circus. There's spaces for featured artists, events, and organizations as well.

To ensure quality content, NASH plans to send artists "ring lights and slightly better speakers" to help with visuals. They'll also connect creators with technicians who can assist with other streaming issues.

Raabe said she was working on rolling out submission forms "hopefully" in a week. Organizers say they want to start with at least 100 hours of content, and would ideally launch with a big-star-studded live event. If you're a major star who wants to amplify this project, consider sending Raabe an email.

Artists interested in sending in their work should have their name, email, short bio, links to pre-hosted content on YouTube and/or Vimeo, and digital wallet handles at the ready for the submission form.

Since the middle of March, artists and organizations have been strategizing ways to pivot to video as a last-ditch effort for survival in an increasingly bleak cultural landscape.

According to a recent survey from ArtsFund, arts organizations in the region stand to lose nearly $44 million in revenue through the end of April and $74 million by the end of May. These declines are the result of massive losses in ticket sales, subscriptions, and donations during a normally lively spring season. The survey projects venues will layoff or furlough approximately 2,000 employees.

Large arts organizations have already canceled months of programming, and in some cases entire seasons. Staring at $3 million in April losses alone, the Pacific Northwest Ballet furloughed "many of its employees, including all of its dancers and musicians," according to the Seattle Times.

City, county, and private sources have collectively scrounged up about $6.2 million in grants for orgs and individual artists since March 20.