Colorful photo depicting multiple dancers in '80s-style dancewear posing within a colorful set.

CityArtist Grant Applications Open to Performance Artists Until April 27

by Amanda Ong


From now until April 27, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is accepting applications for the 2023 CityArtist Grant. This year grants are available for performance artists, a category that includes dance/choreography, music/composition, theater, and playwriting. 

Artists can apply for grants in the amount of $2,000, $5,000, or $8,000, and 25 artists will be chosen from the applicants. Once funded, they have two years to complete their project. As another grant stipulation, grantees also give free public presentations to share their work for the benefit of the community. 

“The CityArtist Grant is one of the only grants of the Office of Arts & Culture that grants individual artists in creating and exhibiting work on their own terms,” Ashraf Hasham, partnerships, education, and grants manager at the Office of Arts & Culture, told the South Seattle Emerald.

The CityArtist Grant was restructured after the Office of Arts & Culture conducted community outreach and research in the 2010s. Now the grant offers something different from traditional grants — rather than being dependent on a specific project proposal to fund, the grant is given to an artist based on their previous and current work, as well as future ideas. In previous years, the Office of Arts & Culture has awarded grants to artists in visual arts, literary, film, flash media, and multidisciplinary art forms. Grants are always open to traditional cultural or ethnic art forms that fit within the year’s category.

Dancer Mark Haim, a former CityArtist grantee, in “Parts To A Sum.” (Photo: Jim Coleman, courtesy of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture)

The grantees are chosen by a peer review panel of community artists, many of whom are past grantees of other grants from the Office of Arts & Culture. “They’re looking at the artistic trajectory of the artists, they’re looking at their creative process, the artist’s approach, influences, themes over time,” Hasham said. “Once the funding is approved, and if someone manages to be selected for a grant, they’re then asked to think about a future work or a future presentation of a project that these artists may be already working on, or already conceiving as part of their sort of process.” 

“[We see] everything from Black trans artists doing original spoken word performances to Pasifika artists who are working fashion and film, multigenerational essays about loss and grief, writings tracing family and ancestor work from Japanese occupation, to large-scale, wooden, unmanned metal sculptures,” Hasham said. “All the work of the Office of Arts & Culture attempts to highlight the cultural diversity of the City of Seattle.”

Hasham says the grant is specifically aimed at Seattle-based artists, as the grant is not open to those outside of the city, although the Office of Arts & Culture hopes for it to be in the future. Still, the grant is made to amplify the artists of Seattle. 

This year, applications will be submitted through a new platform, as the Office of Arts & Culture has streamlined all of its grant applications through one system called Fluxx. However, if applicants have any questions they can reach out to project manager Irene Gómez, who will also be hosting application draft review workshops. Applicants will hear back on their submissions in September or October 2022. For answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Office of Arts & Culture website.


Editors’ Note: This article was updated on 04/05/2022 to clarify application instructions and requirements for the CityArts grant as well to correct a misspelling of “Pasifika.”


Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: Cherdonna Shinatra (in center), a queer performance artist, dancer, entertainer, and former CityArtist grantee, with dancers in her 2019 art installation/performance “DITCH.” (Photo: Jenny Peterson, courtesy of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture)

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