Seattle Arts Commission members. Phoro by Marcus Donner
Seattle Arts Commission members. Phoro by Marcus Donner
About Us

The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency. 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.


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.

Meet the Commissioners

Vivian Phillips


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Vivian Phillips currently serves as the director of marketing and communications for Seattle Theatre Group, where she oversees the marketing, communications and social media engagement for three historic theatres in Seattle. She is also an adjunct professor at Seattle University teaching persuasive communications in the MFA Arts Leadership program and chairs the Seattle University College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council. Vivian has executive produced for the stage and led marketing and outreach campaigns for large touring Broadway productions and served as director of communications for Mayor Paul Schell. She currently serves on the boards of Arts Corps, Washington State Building for the Arts Advisory Council, the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, and the King County Civic Television Citizen Advisory Committee, and is an award-winning producer and host of arts focused television programs.

Juan Alonso-Rodriguez

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Juan Alonso-Rodriguez arrived in the United States from his native Cuba in 1966. He is a self-taught artist whose transition from music to visual arts coincided with his move to Seattle in 1982. His work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada and Latin America and is included in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Microsoft, Swedish & Harborview Hospitals and General Mills and he has created public works for Century Link Field, Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, King County Housing Authority, Epiphany School, Sound Transit's Light Rail system and Chief Sealth High School. His awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor's Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant and a residency at the Centrum Foundation. In 2015, he completed artist residencies for the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture and Town Hall Seattle.

Dawn Chirwa

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Dawn Chirwa focuses on a wide range of strategic advisory work for The Giving Practice at Philanthropy Northwest. Prior to joining Philanthropy Northwest, Chirwa was chief of staff in the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she helped develop education strategies and led critical implementation initiatives. She also served as chief of staff to Goldman Sachs' president and COO and helped build a Goldman Sachs capital markets public policy group. Chirwa received her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin.

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.

Jonathan Cunningham

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Jonathan Cunningham works on staff at the Seattle Foundation as a program officer managing charitable giving projects, reviewing grant proposals and assisting with the foundation's external communication.

He was previously the Manager of Youth Programs and Community Outreach at Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). There he was tasked with growing MoPOP's numerous youth initiatives and creating more opportunities for community members to not only have access but find ownership in the museum. Jonathan is a transplanted Detroiter with deep connections in Seattle's music and arts community. He helps steer policy for many of the city's youth initiatives as a member of the Seattle Arts Commission with deep knowledge navigating public, private and municipal partnerships. In a former career he was (and still is) an award winning music journalist and editor with content published in major outlets such as FADER, VIBE, Spin, Village Voice Media, and City Arts Magazine.

Priya Frank

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Priya Frank is the Associate Director for Community Programs at Seattle Art Museum where her focus is on partnerships, community building, and equity related initiatives. Previous work at LUCID Lounge, UW Bothell, UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and the UW World Series have influenced her passion and heart for this work. Priya is a member of the Seattle Arts Commission, a board member of On the Boards and Tasveer, and is a member of Leadership Tomorrow's class of 2015. She holds a B.A. in Communications and American Ethnic Studies from University of Washington Seattle and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from University of Washington Bothell.

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.

Terri Hiroshima

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Terri Hiroshima recently joined the University of Washington as a Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, and was formerly Vice President of Communications at Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She has served and worked in Seattle's non-profit sector for more than 20 years, holding executive and marketing leadership positions at Crosscut Public Media, Seattle Theatre Group, Empty Space Theatre, and One Reel. She is currently vice chair of the Seattle Arts Commission and serves on the Langston board and the Pratt Fine Arts Center board; in the past she has served on the boards of Shunpike and Degenerate Art Ensemble. Terri earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Boston University, and completed Seattle's Leadership Tomorrow program in 2009.

Jescelle Major

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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. 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. 

Jescelle 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.

Dr. Quinton Morris

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Dr. Quinton Morris is a concert violinist, educator, entrepreneur, filmmaker and founder of The Young Eight String Octet, comprised of distinguished African American string players from the nation's most prestigious music schools. Morris earned a Master of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory and a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently he is the Director of Chamber and Instrumental Music and Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Seattle University. A native of Renton, WA, he is also the founder of The Key to Change, a nonprofit whose mission is to ignite positive change in the world through music education. Key to Change has a violin studio in South King County, which serves middle and high school students of color and lower economic backgrounds in Renton, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley, and Federal Way.

Dr. Morris is a board member of Artist Trust and has received the Bronze Award at the Global Music Awards and Diamond Award at the European Independent Film Awards in 2016, and a Seattle Mayor's Arts Award in 2011.

Tracy Rector

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Tracy Rector is a Choctaw/Seminole filmmaker, curator, community organizer, and Executive Director and Co-founder of Longhouse Media. She earned her Masters in Education from Antioch University's First Peoples Program, and specializes in Native American Studies, traditional plant medicine, and documentary film. 

Rector has made 360 short films, and is currently in production of her third feature documentary. As co-producer of the award-winning film Teachings of the Tree People, producer of March Point, and co-director of Clearwater; Rector has developed an awareness and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative, National Geographic's All Roads Film Project, Toronto International Film Festival, and in the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian.

S. Surface

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S. Surface is a Seattle-based designer, photographer, curator, community organizer, writer, critic, researcher and lecturer. Surface's practice centers the creation and preservation of livable, equitable places and demonstrates how design can support civic participation. As Program Director of Design in Public, Surface organizes the annual city-wide Seattle Design Festival and curates exhibitions at the Center for Architecture & Design. Surface is a curator with The Alice, a project/exhibition space and writers' residency, and is a visiting critic at the University of Washington Department Of Architecture. Surface received their M. Arch. from the Yale School of Architecture and their B.F.A. in Integrated Design from Parsons School of Design, New York, NY.

Sarah Wilke

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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. 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.

Sharon Nyree Williams

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Sharon Nyree Williams is the Managing Director for the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. A Seattle resident for past thirteen years, previously Williams was the manager of budget and operations for Seattle University's College of Nursing. Over the past ten years she has served as stage manager, research assistant, production assistant and producer for several performing arts organizations in the Seattle area. In 2006, she founded the collaborative arts organization The Mahogany Project. Sharon is also a playwright, filmmaker, solo performer, and producer.

Mónica Mendoza-Castrejón

Get Engaged Commissioner

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Mónica Mendoza-Castrejón was born and raised in South King County (Renton and Kent) to Mexican immigrant, farm working parents, and later by her single mother under poverty. Mendoza-Castrejón graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Law, Societies and Justice and Comparative History of Ideas. She began community organizing work within various social movements and became an Executive Assistant with the Commission on Hispanic Affairs; an organizer for several Progressive candidates in the Seattle area; a Summer Intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in DC; and a Regional Field Director for the Washington State Democrats in Eastern Washington. She is now working as a Community Organizer and Tenant Counselor at the Tenants Union of Washington, where she fights against slumlords and works with disadvantaged communities to help them realize their own strength and reclaim power.


King Street Station

King Street Station

ARTS at King Street Station
Seattle is transforming King Street Station into a hub for arts and culture. In a unique collaboration between the Office of Arts & Culture, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Office of Economic Development, the City will create a dynamic space for arts and culture in the heart of the city.
Work with Us
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Outreach & Communications Intern <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
Seeking an undergraduate student to intern with the Communications and Outreach team. The Communications and Outreach Team is responsible for office communications (including printed materials, website, blog and social media), outreach efforts and events (internal and external), as well as working with the press and partnering with other organizations to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture..2/7/2017
Our Staff

Staff & Commission

Meet the staff of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Seattle Arts Commission
The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

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