Wanted: Arts Permitting Specialist

One of the CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation, and Preservation of Cultural Space recommendations from earlier this year was the creation of a liaison role, embedded in the Department of Construction and Inspections, that would work with arts and cultural projects as a point of connection between the culturally rich world of the arts and the complex world of various building and use codes. The City is acting on that recommendation, and is today launching the search for a culturally savvy code expert.

Are you someone who sees what is and imagines what could be? Someone who is curious about alternatives? Someone who understands the intricacies and specifics of building code, and can also see the broader forest through the trees? If so, the Office and Arts & Culture and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, working together, are looking for you.

You will get to work with colleagues in both departments to develop policy recommendations and code changes to make Seattle a more supportive partner to cultural spaces. Dive deep into code and develop alternative paths to compliance for complicated and atypical cultural projects. Be a part of a citywide effort, unique in the country, to support cultural spaces in a city where affordability and displacement are daily concerns.

Be a part of the solution, apply today.

ARTS releases the King Street Station Community Feedback Report

Community feedback is being used to inform the programming at King Street Station

 

SEATTLE – The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) announced the release of the King Street Station Community Feedback Report. The report represents over 500 individuals and encompasses their thoughts, dreams and ideas on how to program a new arts and cultural hub at King Street Station with the goal of realizing tangible impacts in race and social justice. ARTS is using the information gathered from the community to create an innovative programming model for King Street Station. The goal of King Street Station is to increase opportunities for communities of color to present their work.

King Street Station will be a dedicated cultural space and provide public access to presentation and creative spaces, ARTS staff and resources, space for city convenings, and professional development, meeting space and other services that were requested through the outreach process. ARTS is planning to open King Street Station in fall 2018.

In 2016, ARTS engaged in an inclusive, city-wide outreach effort to hear from the community about their needs. Throughout the year ARTS conducted three public listening sessions and hosted 16 focus groups focusing on voices of people of color including Latinx – Hispanic, Asian, Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander, African, African American and Black, and Native artists.

The report is divided into four themes, racial equity and inclusion, art that reflects the city, strengthening Seattle’s creative economy by supporting artists, and community ownership that promotes accessibility. Each section outlines community feedback and opportunities to address these issues.

The feedback report will directly inform the programming model and while not all of the ideas in the report are within ARTS scope it provides the city with an incredible opportunity to create a nimble and flexible model that can address the needs of the community. The information gathered in this report will not only inform the programming model for King Street Station, it will also help inform how racial equity and social justice is manifest throughout ARTS’ work.

Image: August 10, 2016 King Street Station public meeting photo by Sunita Martini

ARTS releases the King Street Station Community Feedback Report

Community feedback is being used to inform the programming at King Street Station

 

SEATTLE – The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) announced the release of the King Street Station Community Feedback Report. The report represents over 500 individuals and encompasses their thoughts, dreams and ideas on how to program a new arts and cultural hub at King Street Station with the goal of realizing tangible impacts in race and social justice. ARTS is using the information gathered from the community to create an innovative programming model for King Street Station. The goal of King Street Station is to increase opportunities for communities of color to present their work.

King Street Station will be a dedicated cultural space and provide public access to presentation and creative spaces, ARTS staff and resources, space for city convenings, and professional development, meeting space and other services that were requested through the outreach process. ARTS is planning to open King Street Station in fall 2018.

In 2016, ARTS engaged in an inclusive, city-wide outreach effort to hear from the community about their needs. Throughout the year ARTS conducted three public listening sessions and hosted 16 focus groups focusing on voices of people of color including Latinx – Hispanic, Asian, Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander, African, African American and Black, and Native artists.

The report is divided into four themes, racial equity and inclusion, art that reflects the city, strengthening Seattle’s creative economy by supporting artists, and community ownership that promotes accessibility. Each section outlines community feedback and opportunities to address these issues.

The feedback report will directly inform the programming model and while not all of the ideas in the report are within ARTS scope it provides the city with an incredible opportunity to create a nimble and flexible model that can address the needs of the community. The information gathered in this report will not only inform the programming model for King Street Station, it will also help inform how racial equity and social justice is manifest throughout ARTS’ work.

Image: August 10, 2016 King Street Station public meeting photo by Sunita Martini

FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LANGSTON HIRED

Tim Lennon to lead Seattle non-profit for African American arts

Central Area, Seattle, WA– LANGSTON, the new non-profit arts organization recently established after an extensive community process to guide programming intended to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture, announces the selection of Tim Lennon as Executive Director. Lennon will begin his tenure on January 3, 2018.

Inye Wokoma, president of the board of LANGSTON stated, “Tim’s combined experience working at the City of Seattle, with local festivals, and with artists, makers and non-profit organizations makes him the ideal person to carry out the mission of this new arts organization and launch it to success. We are so excited that such a dynamic local arts leader and community collaborator will be LANGSTON’s first executive director.”

Lennon has held leadership and programming positions in Seattle at several non-profit organizations and public sector offices, including: The Vera Project, Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Center Foundation, and One Reel. His current board service includes The Washington Bus and the Seattle Music Commission for which he chairs the advocacy and economic development committee. He is an alumnus of the Leadership Tomorrow program and currently serves on its curriculum committee, and was selected in 2017 for Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program.

 

Additionally, Lennon played a key role in supporting the transition process for LANGSTON, which centered on creating a community-led organization that resides within the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Lennon has also been an advocate for and planning advisor to the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District.

“I’m inspired by Seattle’s artists, collaborators and community partners who are passionate about the legacy of LANGSTON, and I look forward to continuing work of establishing a thriving arts and cultural institution in this historic space named for one of America’s most prolific artists of African descent. In partnership with the local and broader community, we will build upon the existing legacy and further cultivate Black brilliance through robust arts and cultural programs,” says Lennon.

Photo: Tim Lennon by Michael B. Maine

ABOUT LANGSTON

LANGSTON is the new non-profit arts organization created in response to both the community and the City’s desire to support the historic mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

LANGSTON’s mission is to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture.

After 40 years of programs and a three-year review and engagement process, LANGSTON was conceived and designed by the community with the vision of transforming Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute into an independent and thriving arts organization and a hub for African American arts and culture.

LANGSTON is housed at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute building, which is owned by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and operated by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

CAP Report: Implementation Update

This summer the Office of Arts & Culture published its long-anticipated CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation, and Preservation of Cultural Space. The report sourced its ideas from the cultural community, the development community, from electeds, from departmental staff, and from consultants.

In the short four months since its publication, the Arts Office, City Council, and the Mayor’s Office have already acted on four of its 30 recommendations, and continue to explore the remaining 26.

The first of the 30 to see the light of day is Idea #3: Brand Cultural Space. Piloted in Capitol Hill, Seattle’s first of three Arts & Cultural Districts, this Cultural Space Brand is a medallion that officially recognizes cultural spaces in these arts-rich neighborhoods. The Brand is conceived as part of a wayfinding system, and designed to highlight the presence of cultural space, to aim people towards the arts, and to center cultural issues in neighborhood planning. The medallions themselves were designed by Kristen Ramirez, artists and Art & Enhancements Project Manager at Seattle Department of Transportation following a year of public community input, and created by a small local company.

 

The second of the 30 ideas to be operationalized is Idea #23: Increase City Capital Funding for Cultural Spaces. For the past five years, the City has awarded small capital grants to cultural space projects through the Cultural Facilities Fund. While the total amount has varied year to year, the largest that fund has been in any year was $250,000. In 2018, we are proud to debut a newly reconceived and greatly expanded Cultural Facilities Fund with $1 million total assets to award. ARTS is in the process of running a Racial Equity Toolkit on the fund expansion, to ensure that the added resources equitably benefit communities of color, in recognition of the fact that these communities have been largely underinvested in the history of this country. That new fund will debut in early 2018.

 

We are also proud to have worked closely with the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) to activate Idea #4: Create an FAR (floor-to-area-ratio) Exemption and Bonus for Cultural Space. Piloted in the newly designated Uptown Arts & Cultural District, this mechanism will create an incentive for developers (without increasing heights) to embed cultural uses into their new projects. For every cultural square foot created, developers will be able to build additional market-rate square feet, helping subsidize the cultural uses in the building. Floor-to-Area Ratio incentives have long been used to encourage uses such as affordable housing, and are being leveraged here to meet another civic priority.

Finally, to implement Idea #9, we partnered with the Code Review team at the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to update Seattle’s Building Code. Art galleries in Seattle are designated as Assembly uses in the code, but their operations are far better aligned with other retail uses, officially called Mercantile uses. The difference, while technical and specialized, is that it is impossible to put an Assembly use into an older building without triggering a prohibitively complicated set of reviews for the whole structure. This change will make it possible to open an art gallery in an older building without, for example, re-wiring every space in the building, or re-insulating every wall (whether in the gallery or not). Most exciting about this particular change is Seattle’s opportunity, at the next biennial meeting, to pitch this to the International Building Code review panel, and potentially share this change internationally.

 

ARTS continues to work on implementing the remaining recommendations from the CAP Report. Have you got a favorite idea? Reach out to us at arts.culture@seattle.gov and let us know what you think we should be working on.