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.

Volunteers Needed for the Green Dot Middle School Seattle Departure Advisory Committee

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is seeking seven community members to serve on an advisory committee that will recommend whether to grant a zoning modification needed for development of a 40,000-square foot school in the Hillman City neighborhood.

The Washington Charter School Development, Inc. (WCSD) is requesting a modification (known as a “departure”) from a select City zoning regulation for the development of the Green Dot Middle School Seattle located at 6020 Rainier Ave S. The modification is to allow “Greater than allowed building height.”

The City of Seattle allows schools to be constructed or expanded in all areas of the city in lieu of a specific “school zone” land use designation.  However, schools are subject to the development standards (setback, height, lot coverage, etc.) of the underlying land use zone. In most cases when a school is being built, renovated, or expanded, it will likely not meet the existing land use requirements unless the school requests an exemption from the existing zoning provisions. The departure process allows for the community to gather information and provide feedback on potential impacts from school construction to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). The departure advisory committee ultimately makes a recommendation to SDCI on whether to grant, deny, or condition the departure request.

The committee will convene one to three public meeting(s) in South Seattle during a 90-day period beginning when the committee is appointed. At the meetings, the committee will receive briefings from the WCSD, and gather and evaluate public comment on the departure request. Following these meetings, the committee will forward a recommendation to SDCI to either grant or deny the requested modification. The committee may also recommend relevant conditions to be applied to granting this change to minimize its impacts on the surrounding neighborhood. SDCI will make the final decision.

Those who can apply to the committee are neighbors who live or own a business within 600’ of 6020 Rainier Avenue South, residents in the surrounding neighborhood, representatives of city-wide education issues, and parents of potential future Green Dot Middle School Seattle students. Other committee members will include a representative from WCSD and the City of Seattle.

To apply, please send a letter of interest to Maureen Sheehan at Maureen.sheehan@seattle.gov or mail to:

Maureen Sheehan
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

 Letters of interest should be received by January 13, 2017. For more information contact Maureen Sheehan at Maureen.sheehan@seattle.gov or 206-684-0302 or visit our website.

 

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in its boards and committees; women, young adults, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, persons of color, and immigrants are highly encouraged to apply.

The Major Institutions and Schools Program provides a way for neighbors of Seattle’s hospitals, universities, and colleges to be directly involved in the development plans for those institutions to ensure neighborhood concerns are considered when those plans are made. It is a program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The post Volunteers Needed for the Green Dot Middle School Seattle Departure Advisory Committee appeared first on Front Porch.

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.

City Light to Replace Aging Utility Poles in Parts of Seattle and Burien

Seattle City Light is planning to replace aging utility poles in parts of Seattle and Burien to help improve and upgrade the electrical reliability in parts of the service territory. The installation of new poles, wire and equipment relocation is an important investment in infrastructure.

Starting in early to mid-May, Seattle City Light’s contractor, Magnum Power LLC, will be installing new utility poles, relocating wires to the new pole and replacing aging equipment in various Seattle and Burien neighborhoods. Work hours are scheduled from Mondays to Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Maps of the construction work areas can be found here: 2016 Pole Replacement – South Location Maps

The new poles will be placed alongside pre-existing poles. They will meet standard heights and widths required for overhead power line construction. This may mean that poles in the area will be slightly taller and approximately two inches wider than existing poles.

Maintenance power outages are required for this work. Crews will place a door hanger or make personal contact within 48 to 72 hours of the outage date. The notification will specify the date, time and duration of the outage.

Once the electrical equipment is relocated, it may take several months before the other companies with utilities on the existing poles make their transfer(s). We will continue to monitor/coordinate these efforts as needed to facilitate the removal of old poles.

For more information, customers can contact:

Visit our construction website for the latest updates on this project: http://www.seattle.gov/light/atwork/release.asp?RN=356