Seattle Arts Commission

About Us

The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the ARTS office. Commission members include artists, arts professionals and other citizens with diverse backgrounds and strong links to Seattle's arts community. The mayor appoints seven of the commissioners; the City Council appoints seven, and a 15th member is selected by those 14. An additional commissioner is selected through the YMCA's "Get Engaged" program.

Mission

The Seattle Arts Commission supports the City by advocating for arts policy, creating access for equitable participation in the arts, and fostering enriching arts engagement for all residents.

Commitment to Racial Equity

The Seattle Arts Commission emphatically shares the Office of Arts & Culture's Commitment to Racial Equity. As an advisory body grounded in our common pledge to fostering racial and social justice, we leverage our collective strength and breadth of knowledge to advocate for racial equity in arts policy, programming and funding. We do this work by centering communities of color in our united effort with the City to help build a just and liberated society for all.

Meetings

The Seattle Arts Commission remotely meets on the second Tuesdays of every month at 4pm, unless otherwise noted. Please refer to the City of Seattle Boards & Commissions Calendar for further information.

Vivian Hua

Vivian Hua

Co-Chair

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Vivian Hua 華婷婷 (she/they) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They regularly share human-centered stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN' WITH VEE! In 2021, they will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits. They are passionate about cultural space preservation and creation, as well as seeking ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. Learn more about their work at vivianhua.com.

James Miles

James Miles

Co-Chair

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James Miles is the Executive Director of Arts Corps. Prior to joining Arts Corps in 2017, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City, and a multidisciplinary teaching artist for 20 years. James came to education after working as an accountant, actor, model, and garbage man. As an educator, he found students disinterested and disengaged with the material. Yet, when he connected the curriculum to the language of youth culture, the students discovered a passion for learning. Today he uses his culturally responsive approach to leading and learning, to build more inclusive and creative environments. James is also on the Advisory Board for SXSW EDU, and is a mayoral appointee to the Seattle Arts Commission. He can be frequently found on social media, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

Rick Araluce

Rick Araluce

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Born in 1960, Rick Araluce has been a life long artist. At an early age Mr. Araluce began creating drawings, paintings, hand-fashioned objects, miniature scenarios, plastic models-creations depicting whatever piqued his interest at the time. He put his efforts into being a painter originally, though began to create and evolve his artwork towards a more sculptural realm, and in the 1990s began making detailed miniatures a primary focus of his work. This he continues to this day. Along the way, Araluce began to work in a larger form, ultimately creating complex immersive installations which incorporated multiple media, including lighting, sound, motion, and computer automation. These have been some of Mr. Araluce's most noteworthy endeavors. He has among other artistic pursuits created book and album illustration, art-directed and created work for a number of animated music videos, and has had his artwork featured in a handful of commercial films. For 20 years, Araluce was a Lead Scenic Artist with Seattle Opera, until the Opera's closure of its scene shop, though he continues this work as a Master Scenic Artist employed by Arts Tech Group, a scenery and event fabrication company where he oversees and runs multiple facets of the artistic side of production. He is essentially self-taught, having chosen to forgo university and art school. Nonetheless, Mr. Araluce has secured some significant achievements, including a Pollock/Krasner in 2009, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Award in 2010 and a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. As an individual coming from a low-resource background, Mr. Araluce has acquired a degree of understanding and empathy for the challenges of those coming from less privileged and non-traditional backgrounds who have chosen the artist's path. 

Ebony Arunga

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Ebony Arunga is an arts manager, advocate and entrepreneur. She was born in Kisumu, Kenya and raised in the historically Black Central District of Seattle, Washington as part of a multi-faceted artistic family. In 2008 she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis on Stage Management and has since managed artists, projects and events both nationally and internationally. Her work spans across arts genres including theatre, film, music, dance, and literature. 

Ebony's presence in the Seattle arts scene grew prevalent through her work as an event producer at the legendary Faire Gallery Cafe. Carrying on the legacy of her mother, Marcia Tate Arunga, Ebony and her sister Nia re-launched Seaweed International in 2017, a Black owned business specializing in jewelry imported from Kenya with the mission to provoke a new consciousness in social justice and beauty. In 2020, she teamed up with Ijeoma Oluo, Gabriel Teodros and LANGSTON to manage the Seattle Artist Relief Fund (SARF), the largest COVID-19 relief effort geared towards directly supporting artists in Washington State. Ebony serves on the board of LANGSTON and was a 2020 Office of Arts and Culture BASE (Building Art's Spaces Equitably) cohort member. She resides in Seattle, Washington with her husband and three children.

Cassie Chinn

Cassie Chinn

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Cassie Chinn, Deputy Executive Director at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, oversees planning and implementation of exhibition, collection, public programming and education initiatives in collaboration with community members. In her 20 plus years with the museum, she has worked with numerous community advisory committees and community members to create exhibitions, gather oral histories and produce other museum projects, including The Wing's recent multi-year exhibition on Bruce Lee. During the museum's capital project, she led community-based program planning and served on the design team. She is the author of The Wing's Community-based Exhibition handbook. She currently serves on the 4Culture Heritage Advisory Board. Chinn holds a BA and MA in art history as well as a Master in Teaching.

Kayla DeMonte

Kayla DeMonte

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Kayla DeMonte is the Managing Director at Citizen University, a Seattle-based non-profit working to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the US. Prior to this role, she was Director of Programs & Partnerships at the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce and began her career at One Reel, where she managed festival sponsorships, partnerships, and special projects for Bumbershoot and the Family 4th. In addition to her years on staff at One Reel, Kayla has done work with a variety of major festivals and events such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Northwest Folklife, and has been an event consultant for Seattle's Mayor’s Arts Awards for the past several years. Kayla has served in volunteer leadership roles with ArtsFund, The Vera Project, and Leadership Tomorrow and is a proud graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Steve Galatro

Steve Galatro

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Steve Galatro, Pratt Fine Arts Center's Executive Director since 2012, has extensive experience in nonprofit arts administration and higher education, elevated by an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. Previous management experience comes from various positions at Empty Space Theatre and the Seattle University Fine Arts Department, where he continues to serve as an adjunct professor. In 2014, Galatro was honored for his rejuvenation of Pratt as one of the top 40 Under 40 business leaders in the region by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Holly Jacobson

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"The arts reflect, provoke, question, and connect human beings and the human experience. For a just society to exist, we must ensure access to the arts are available, representative, and part of the thread that binds the fabric of our society together".  With a background in non-profit management, strategic planning and communications, Holly's professional background spans both for-and non-profit institutions. She has created strategic marketing and product solutions for Microsoft, The City of Seattle, The Seattle International Film Festival, and other entertainment and education institutions.  A passionate advocate for social justice, in 2003, Holly co-founded Voter Action, a national non-profit organization with the aim to secure accurate election systems, especially for underserved communities.  Voter Action led a national effort to develop reliable and fair voting practices which helped improve access and standards across the country. Having studied film at San Francisco State University, she has worked in film and is a strong believer in the power of story telling to elevate often unheard voices.  Since 2013, Holly has been the Executive Director of Path with Art, an organization on the forefront of connecting the arts to low income adults living in or recovering from trauma. She has been engaged with the steering committee of With One Voice, an organization supporting International Arts and Homelessness organizations and practitioners across the globe. 

Yeggy Michael

Yeggy Michael

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Yeggy is a Seattle visual artist whose public art murals and mosaics adorn parks, banks, residences, restaurants, and museums. His work has been widely exhibited throughout Africa, Europe and the United States. Yeggy's vision is to provoke questions about natural cycles, provide a sense of place and to reflect on the movement of time. Currently, Yeggy is the Art Program Director at DNDA, a nonprofit community organization. He is active in the communities organizing art programs and activities for Seattle youth.

Chieko Phillips

Chieko Phillips

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Chieko Phillips is the Heritage Lead at 4Culture, where she manages the program that supports organizations and practitioners who preserve and share the history and material culture of King County, Washington. Previously the Director of BlackPast, an online resource for global African and African American history, she has also held positions at the Northwest African American Museum, the United Negro College Fund, and Photographic Center Northwest. Chieko currently serves on the boards of the Washington Museums Association and Association of King County Historical Organizations, both organizations that serve the cultural sectors in Washington and King County. A graduate of Davidson College, Chieko holds an BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Washington.

Vanessa Villalobos

Vanessa Villalobos

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Vanessa Villalobos is a performing artist, choreographer, producer and non-profit consultant from Lima, Peru with Indigenous, African and Spanish ancestry. She presented hundreds of original works and danced with companies in New York, Seattle, and more. She has degrees in Theatre and Dance from the University of Washington and earned her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University.  She co-founded creative company VANICH Multimedia (NY) and is the founder of BALORICO.dance (WA). She is a seasoned Teaching Artist having worked in many public and private schools in Seattle and New York. Trained in contemporary, ballet, jazz and Ballroom Theatre Arts, she is a certified American Ballroom Rhythm & Smooth instructor. Film credits include MadHot Ballroom and Walt Disney's Enchanted where she was a principal dancer. Her dedication to racial equity is expressed through her community work with 501Commons, the Covid-19 Response Alliance, La Sala, the Dance Educators Association of Washington and Seattle University's Center for the Study of Justice in Society. Vanessa's cross-industry expertise has brought forth opportunities to help influence funding decisions on behalf of the Washington State Arts Commission, 4 Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

Mikhael May

Mikhael Mei Williams

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As a Seattle native, Mikhael Mei Williams credits the city’s vibrant arts and cultural landscape as the impetus for her nearly 20-year career promoting arts and entertainment organizations across the private, nonprofit, higher education and public sectors. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development where she studied abroad in Berlin, Germany exploring the impact arts and cultural events have on the economic revitalization and social vibrancy of cities. Currently, Ms. Williams is the Regional Director of Marketing & Events for Entercom, a multi-media entertainment organization. In this role, she oversees marketing for 12 commercial radio stations in both Seattle and Portland along with the development of strategic business partnerships. Additionally, she produces events and festivals, ranging from 500 to 40,000 attendees, across the region. She has previously worked for Vulcan, Seattle Office of Film + Music, AEG Presents, and One Reel, focused on promoting and supporting local artists, musicians, events and festivals.