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.
Continue reading CityArtist Grant Applications Open to Performance Artists Until April 27
by Alexa Peters
Over the last 10 days, tensions between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council, Seattle Arts Commission (Commission), the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS), and local Black arts community members have mounted following the mayor’s early September appointment of Royal Alley-Barnes as interim director of ARTS. The mayor made the appointment with a little more than 100 days left in her term and without having consulted with local arts community stakeholders about her decision.
Following the resignation of permanent ARTS Director Randy Engstrom in December 2020, the mayor agreed to a plan in which then Deputy Director of ARTS Calandra Childers would step in as interim director and oversee a committee of staff members and arts community members, called the Seattle Arts Director Advisory Committee, with the objective of centering community voices in the process of selecting a new permanent ARTS director.
“The Office of Arts and Culture [asked] me to co-chair the Seattle Arts Director Search Advisory Committee in early 2021, in hopes of ensuring there would be community input in the process [of finding] the new director of the Office of Arts and Culture,” said Sharon Nyree Williams, a storyteller and executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. “So that process began and … the mayor, at that time, had said that she would not be searching for a new director during her term.”
Continue reading Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease
by Chamidae Ford
September 3 marks the beginning of the first annual Verbal Oasis Spoken Word Festival. The four-day event represents a multigenerational depiction of art — from poetry and dancing to music and visual art. The festival allows attendees space to go beyond observing by providing workshops for them to engage.
The free event, located at the Rainier Beach Community Center’s outdoor pavilion, is being hosted by Monique Franklin (Verbal Oasis). The festival is supported by the Seattle Park District and Created Commons, a program of the Office of Arts & Culture Seattle.
“I’ve been performing in Seattle for over 15 years now, but in the process of being a performance artist, I’ve also been producing shows for that length of time. And I produce shows from children all the way up through adults with a specific focus on bringing together a multi-gender generational community of Black artists,” Franklin said. “So in some ways, you could say that this festival is about 15 years in the making.”
Continue reading Verbal Oasis Spoken Word Festival Offers Creativity and Celebration for All Ages
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Estelita’s Library, Beacon Hill’s beloved justice-focused bookstore, library, and community hub, is moving into a brand new building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in the Central District. The move is made possible through a pilot project by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture called Tiny Cultural Spaces. The project seeks to transfer unused plots of city-owned land to arts and culture organizations. The move marks a new chapter for Estelita’s, a beacon for activism, learning, and joy in the South End.
Continue reading Estelita’s Library Moves Into a New Central District Location
by Andrew Engelson
After three and a half years of collaboration between community organizations and the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), Mayor Jenny Durkan today signed legislation creating the Cultural Space Agency Public Development Authority (PDA). This one-of-a-kind organization will be tasked with purchasing land and real estate to provide affordable spaces for the city’s creative, artistic, and cultural communities — especially in communities of color.
Continue reading Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture Launches Cultural PDA to Preserve Cultural Space and Strengthen Communities of Color
by Beverly Aarons
After overseeing some of the most aggressive and innovative arts initiatives in Seattle’s history, Randy Engstrom is stepping down as Director of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS). The Emerald spoke with Engstrom in a telephone interview about his work in the department for the past eight years, his reasons for leaving, and his plans for the future.
Continue reading Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Director, Randy Engstrom, Steps Aside