National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant of $100,000 awarded to Seattle Public Schools for The Creative Advantage

Grant to support The Creative Advantage, a citywide initiative to establish equitable access to arts education 

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the National Endowment for the ARTS (NEA) second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $100,000 to Seattle Public Schools to support implementation of The Creative Advantage.

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

The Creative Advantage is a citywide initiative to establish equitable access to arts education for every student Seattle Public Schools. It is a collective partnership between Seattle Public Schools, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Seattle Foundation, Seattle Art Museum, Arts Corps, ArtsEd Washington, and up to 100 community-based arts organizations.

Since 2008, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and SPS have collaborated to increase high-quality arts learning in high-need schools. The Seattle K-12 Arts Plan was created to address inequities in access to art education and provide a comprehensive, sequential and predictable arts education for all students. To realize the plan, The Creative Advantage was born. It solidifies the collective impact partnership between SPS and ARTS as the “backbone” management structure with The Seattle Foundation as the fiscal agent and high leverage partners to support essential goals of the arts plan.

The Creative Advantage has completed research, planning and mission alignment to develop the Seattle K-12 Arts Plan, which includes regional and school-based planning, increased certified arts staff, 21st century arts learning that is culturally responsive, arts partnerships, professional development for arts and non-arts teachers and arts partners and a comprehensive evaluation.

The Creative Advantage has restored arts access to the Central Arts Pathway (CAP), which includes 13 schools with 6,475 students; the South-southwest Arts Pathway (SWAP), which includes 10 schools with 4,552 students; and launched in the entire Southeast Arts Region (SEAR), which includes 21 schools with 10,208 students.

Summer Arts Partnership Institute Recap

On August 17, 2017, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) hosted the fourth Creative Advantage Summer Arts Partnership Institute for classroom teachers, teaching artists, administrators, youth development workers, and community members.

Dancers from Northwest Tap Connection opened the day with a rousing performance garnering multiple standing ovations, that showcased the skill, passion, and creativity of three incredible youth performers.

Leaders from the Office of Arts & Culture, SAM, and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) contextualized the day through a lens of racial equity and social justice, which serves a foundation for The Creative Advantage, our citywide initiative that is reinvesting in equitable access to arts education for all SPS students.

Author, professor, and activist, Dr. Shawn Ginwright provided a timely and relevant keynote entitled, “Radically Healing Schools and Communities: The Power of Policy from the Heart.” Dr. Ginwright and teacher activist and organizer, Farima Pour-Khorshid, offered sessions on his Radical Healing Framework, which is based in the premise that, “Radical healing involves addressing both (1) collective healing, and also (2) transforming the institutions, policies, and systems that are causing harm in the first place.”

Local teaching artists Lauren Atkinson (visual arts) and Roberto Ascalon (poetry, creative writing) engaged participants in creative reflection workshops to unpack what it means for practitioners and administrators to be authentic, take risks, and work in community.

Thank you to those who were able to attend, and benefit from this powerful day of learning and building.  For more information on professional development opportunities, please visit the Office of Arts & Culture

Join us for the fourth annual Creative Advantage Summer Institute

Thursday, August 17, 2017; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Seattle Art Museum 1300 First Ave Seattle, WA 98101
Register This free, one-day workshop will include inspiring presentations by national thought leaders, hands-on art-making activities and opportunities to network and collaborate with peers. This year we welcome Dr. Shawn Ginwright, a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flourish Agenda in San Francisco and an Associate Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University, as this year’s keynote speaker.  Dr. Ginwright is a leading national expert on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development.

Advanced registration required, includes lunch and eight (8) Washington State Clock Hours.

About Dr. Shawn Ginwright Dr. Ginwright is an Associate Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University. In addition, he is also a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flourish Agenda, whose mission is to design strategies that unlock the power of healing and engage youth of color and adults in transforming their schools and communities. Flourish Agenda does this through its Radical Healing model, which builds social emotional well-being and leadership development through transformative experiences and new technology tools.

In 2011, Dr. Ginwright was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Senior Specialist award from the State Department for his outstanding research and work with urban youth. He is the author of “Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Activists and Teachers are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart,” “Black in School- Afrocentric Reform, Black Youth and the Promise of Hip-Hop Culture,” and co-editor of “Beyond Resistance!: Youth Resistance and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America’s Youth.” In 2010, he published “Black Youth Rising, Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America”.

Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture announce grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture announce grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for the creation of new Media Arts course at the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center


SEATTLE, March 21, 2017 – The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Seattle Public Schools (SPS), in partnership with the City of Seattle, will open up new career and college pathways for city youth to graduate from high school “Seattle Ready,” by establishing new media arts courses in the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. Skills Center courses, taught by industry professionals, will enable students to be competitive in the local workforce and provide the opportunity to live and work in Seattle.

SPS has received a grant of $395,000 from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to fund the creation of new Media Arts courses offered through the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. The grant will be supplemented by an additional $175,000 from the City of Seattle. Providing an initial investment, this external financial support will lead to a sustainable program. The new Media Arts courses will begin in July and students can apply today.

“We believe youth access to media arts education is essential to nurturing and encouraging creativity, self-expression and critical thinking,” said Dave Ferrero, senior program officer of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Our hope is that our support of the Skills Center and the Media Arts program will help close opportunity gaps in arts education for Seattle students.”

The Skills Center provides SPS students ages 16-20 access to a variety of career and technical education (CTE) courses taught by industry professionals that lead to industry careers and college. Skills Center offerings include aerospace, auto technology, nursing, construction, culinary sciences and now, media arts. In many cases, students can earn college credit or industry certification. Free transportation to courses is provided as needed.

Arts and culture are big business in the Puget Sound region, so a media arts education can help students become participants in a vibrant sector of the local economy. Nonprofit cultural organizations alone account for approximately 35,000 jobs, $1 billion in labor income and $100 million in taxes collected, according to ArtsFund’s 2014 Economic Impact Study. Additionally, revenue for these nonprofits was over $500 million while their patrons spent nearly $700 million on tickets, dining out, lodging, transportation, child care services, and other expenditures. The impacts of these expenditures ripple throughout the economy of the entire state.

The grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will bolster the district and city partnership to close opportunity gaps in arts education. The Creative Advantage, is a partnership which includes Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Seattle Foundation and local community arts organizations. The city is directing its financial support for the new Media Arts courses through The Creative Advantage.

“We are excited to announce the public-private partnership with SPS and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, who share the city’s vision to address education issues,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Providing real world experience in today’s creative economy ensures our students have the advantage they need to succeed.”

Another benefit of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant is preparing SPS for the eventual adoption of education standards for media arts by the state of Washington. After the release of media arts standards by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards in 2014, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction convened a cadre of educators who have been guiding the adoption of those standards for Washington. Opening Skills Center Media Arts courses will help position the district to meet those standards which are scheduled to be adopted later this month.

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has also provided a $70,000 grant for the startup costs of a Regional Student Arts Showcase, which in its first year, will highlight visual and performing arts programs at Creative Advantage schools.

“These resources will open up new pathways for students as they prepare for college, career, and life,” said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland. “We’re incredibly grateful for the support of our city partners and private organizations like the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.”

The Creative Advantage can be found online at, at and on twitter @SeattleArtsEd.

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The Creative Advantage 2017 Winter/Spring Learning Series

Join us for the 2017 Winter/Spring series of free Creative Advantage Art Partner trainings. Open to any interested teaching artist, community organizations, arts advocate, teacher, or arts specialist. Workshops offered at no cost to participants. Online registration required and includes three Washington State Clock hours for teachers.

Workshops in this year’s series include:

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m. Northwest African American Museum 21st Century Training

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m. Southside Commons Advocating for Arts and Social Justice

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m. Youngstown Cultural Art Center Teaching and Learning with LBGTQ Youth

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Arts and ELL

The Creative Advantage invests in artists and educators thru ongoing professional learning opportunities that deepen qualities of practice and foster community. This includes an annual Learning Series and Summer Arts Partner Institute.  Emerging to established teaching artists, teachers, administrators, and youth development workers are invited to participate in these trainings presented in partnership with Seattle Art Museum.


Photo: Robert Wade