ARTS welcomes two new commissioners

Jescelle Major and Sarah Wilke join the Seattle Arts Commission.

The City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture 15th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards reception at Chihuly Garden & Glass at Seattle Center on August 31, 2017.
Photo by Marcus R. Donner

Jescelle Major is a landscape and urban designer at multidisciplinary design firm Mithun. She holds a BS in Sustainability and the Built Environment from the University of Florida and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. Her thesis research and current professional design work have a heavy focus on urban scale change centered on environmental sensitivity, historic fabric and social justice. She has also worked alongside various teams within the City of Miami Beach Parks and Recreation and the planning department at Denver Zoo, before relocating to Seattle. After spending most of her life in the Southeast, she sees the Arts Commission as the perfect opportunity to engage in dialogue, critique and knowledge capture here, in the City of Seattle. Major is involved with the ULI, Arcade Magazine, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Center for Wooden Boats and a local rowing club.

Major served as a Get Engaged Seattle Design Commissioner for the 2016-2017 term and continues to serve as a member of the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee.

The City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture 15th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards reception at Chihuly Garden & Glass at Seattle Center on August 31, 2017.
Photo by Marcus R. Donner

Sarah Wilke is the Executive Director of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States. In addition to its 25-day festival which presents over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year, SIFF provides year-round film programming though SIFF Cinema’s five screens and SIFF Education youth and adult programming. Prior to joining SIFF, Wilke was the Managing Director of Seattle’s contemporary performing arts center On the Boards, where for 12 years she led day-to-day and long-term strategic management of the organization. During her time there, On the Boards received a 2015 Fractured Atlas Arts Innovation Award for OntheBoards.tv., a 2013 William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, a 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award, and a 2006 Stranger Genius Award for outstanding Arts Organization. Wilke worked as managing director of Consolidated Works in Seattle, as associate curator of education at the Tacoma Art Museum, and at the Freer & Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. in various education, programming, and curatorial positions. Wilke was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Artist Fellowships, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Artist Trust, and the National Performance Network.