Seattle is a dynamic arts and culture center. With 800 independent arts and culture venues in the city where Seattle can dance, listen, see, think, and absorb the rich creativity that courses through the arts community and energizes the city at large, we are now nationally recognized as an arts leader.
Our breathtaking growth in recent years is a sign of that success, making it clear what a magnetic cultural hub we’ve become. However, our exponential growth has created challenges, including a serious strain on affordability. Ironically, the rising rents that have accompanied our success and growth, threaten the very cutting edge arts spaces and institutions that have made Seattle a dynamic destination city in the first place.
To address our housing affordability crisis, my unprecedented Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) legislation requires developers to contribute to affordable housing whenever they build. By coupling growth and affordability with progressive public policy like HALA, we will grow as an inclusive and equitable city.
The arts are a vital component of the “Livability” in HALA’s policy mandate. Our mission to be an affordable, and therefore inclusive and equitable city, must emphasize the thriving arts culture that defines our community.
In 2014 I instructed various departments to work collaboratively with the Arts Office and to engage with the community to develop solutions to the root issues that confront us as a thriving cultural center. What you see here is the result of that work.
The ideas explored here to support Seattle’s invaluable arts community reflect a much broader commitment: Supporting Seattle’s arts is at its heart about supporting Seattle’s soul. And that means ensuring inclusion for the creative artists who make Seattle thrive.
We look forward to your support of this developing project, and to working with you to refine the ideas contained herein. Together we will build a more inclusive Seattle. We will build a more equitable Seattle. We will build a more resilient, more culturally rich, and more artistically vital Seattle. We will build the Seattle that Seattleites deserve.
Edward B. Murray