ARTS Launches newest Arts & Cultural District

On Saturday, August 18, before Cinema Under the Stars in Columbia Park, Deputy Mayor Ranganathan, Randy Engstrom and representatives from Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Uptown welcomed Seattle’s newest arts and cultural district, the Columbia Hillman Arts & Cultural District.

Kathy Fowells, director at SEEDArts spoke eloquently about becoming the newest arts and cultural district and we wanted to share her words with everyone.

I would like to acknowledge that we are on indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. I’d also like to thank all the artists, and people representing the arts and cultural spaces in Columbia and Hillman Cities for working together throughout the application process. We’ve been working towards this designation for 2 years. You all should know that there were nearly 100 people involved in this process — it was truly grassroots organizing at its finest.  

As you may know, the 98118-zip code has become one of the most diverse regions in the nation. People from 40 ethnic groups call our neighborhoods home and speak 59 different languages. We are lucky to be able to experience these diverse cultures through their arts, performances, and cuisines right in our own backyard.  

Columbia and Hillman Cities have one of the densest populations of artists and musicians in our state. Our Creative Economy is strong and thriving. 10 years ago, the Washington State Arts Commission and the Western States Arts Federation worked together to form a tool called the Creative Vitality Index which tracks the impact of the creative economy in the state. The study tracks 36 occupational categories – including artists and musicians, photographers and filmmakers, dancers and authors. It also tracks revenue for arts organizations, businesses, and other data related to arts participation. The national Creative Vitality Index score is 1. The score for Washington State is .98 — just below the national average. Can you guess what our score is? It’s a whopping 1.83 – that’s nearly double the state score! According to their report, nearly 3,000 residents in SE Seattle hold creative jobs. In 2014, our local creative industries put $134 million dollars into the economy, and our cultural nonprofits contributed another $45 million. And that’s just in SE Seattle. 

Last weekend, I went to the San Jose Jazz Festival to see my brother, who is a jazz drummer in NYC, perform. As I was looking at the festival schedule, I was excited to see a Seattle band, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, on the schedule. Their drummer is none other than our very own Dave McGraw, the owner of Columbia City Acupuncture. It was pretty cool to be in California moving to beats from SE Seattle. It struck me that the arts of our neighborhood are so strong that even our local acupuncturist is a performing artist, and he’s representing us on stages all over the world. 

So why did we seek to become an arts and cultural district and what do we hope to accomplish? 

Our neighborhoods have embodied the creative spirit since they were founded. We want to ensure that arts continue to be strong presence in our community, and that our artists and arts spaces are protected. We know that rapid development is coming to the south end, and that we have a golden window of opportunity to guide this growth so that it is inclusive and supportive of our rich and diverse creative community.  

Our mission for the district is to celebrate and enhance the authentic and culturally diverse soul of Columbia City and Hillman City. 

We envision an inclusive, expansive and thriving creative community. What will this look like?

We would like to see

  • A community where it’s possible for artists to make a living being an artist;
  • Affordable spaces for artists to live and work;
  • And affordable commercial spaces for them to do business.

 

 

We would like to see

  • Our existing cultural spaces preserved and protected; and
  • Dedicated space for arts and culture in all new development projects

And we would like to see

 

 

  • More arts programs for youth;
  • Arts programs and projects with racial and social equity as a primary driver;
  • And places for people from all of our diverse communities to enjoy their cultural traditions and share their stories through the arts. 

Each and every one of you has a role to play in supporting our Arts and Culture district. For many of you it means supporting the arts by attending events and exposing your kids to a wide range of arts experiences.  

This Arts and Culture district designation means that Columbia and Hillman Cities will continue to be a Creative Hub. A place where the creative economy can thrive, where artists are supported, and where neighbors have access to a variety of arts experiences. We understand that the arts are key to both community and economic development — and that a flourishing creative community makes our neighborhoods more livable, fun and beautiful. We are blessed with an incredibly rich diversity of peoples and cultures and art forms that make up the creative soul of the south end.

City Light Continues Utility Pole Upgrades for Advanced Metering

From late March and April 2017, Seattle City Light will continue supporting Advanced Metering services throughout the utility’s service territory by replacing existing utility poles with taller poles, which will host wireless utility data collection equipment.

The new poles will be 70 feet tall, which is about 20 feet taller than the existing poles. This project is part of the communications network to support Advanced Metering, which will automate meter reading and enable enhanced services.

Rendering of wireless utility data equipment on a utility pole.

From late March to April 2017, City Light crews will be replacing poles in the following areas:

  • Columbia City
  • View Ridge
  • Magnolia
  • Wallingford
  • Bitter Lake

View the March/April 2017 Utility Pole Maps for approximate construction work areas. Additional maps will be added on the Utility Pole Upgrade website as the project progresses into other areas within City Light’s service territory.

There are no maintenance power outages planned for this work. Some traffic and parking impacts are expected in the immediate work areas. Crews will be careful to maintain access to driveways.

Daily work hours are from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In most instances, the work to transfer existing equipment and install the data collection equipment can be completed in one day.

Customers can contact JoAnna Perley, Advanced Metering Deployment Manager at (206) 733-9648 or JoAnna.Perley@seattle.gov.

Visit the following websites for more information:

Seattle City Light’s “At Work in Your Neighborhood” website
www.seattle.gov/light/atwork

Seattle City Light’s Advanced Metering Program website
www.seattle.gov/light/meters

Join Us for FREE Ice Cream at CityScoop

Join the City of Seattle for CityScoop, a fun way to share your ideas with City staff while enjoying free ice cream. The City has important topics on which we need your input, so we invite you to relax in our tents, provide us your feedback, and enjoy a free treat courtesy of Full Tilt Ice Cream.

CityScoop will be open from 1 – 3pm on Saturday, August 13. You’ll find us on Rainier Avenue between Dawson and Brandon Streets just south of the Rainier Valley Heritage Festival and on the route of Summer Parkways 2016, the fun family biking event and party. Translators will be on hand to assist visitors as well.

A few of the topics shared under our big tent will include:

  • Discussion on the best ways for the city to engage with you
  • New and creative uses for neighborhood streets
  • Information on the city’s plan for walking safely in neighborhoods
  • Next steps in affordable housing
  • Sharing transportation investments happening around your neighborhood
  • Information on discounted bus passes and car sharing for low-income residents

After visiting CityScoop, make sure to stop by Big Day of Play at Rainier Community Center presented by Seattle Parks and Recreation.

CityScoop will also be at Summer Parkways 2016 in Ballard on August 27 and in West Seattle on September 25. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/cityscoop.

Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director

Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.


What does this mean?

  • We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
  • It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
  • It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.


What else does this mean?

  • It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
  • It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
  • It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
  • And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.

 

Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.

 

“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”

 
Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.

We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:

  • Send an email to NewDON@seattle.gov.
  • Share your comments below.
  • Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
  • Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:

Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood

This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.

Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Now Accepting Applications

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.

During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.

Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement/pace-application. The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.