Seattle, King County to distribute $500,000 in stimulus funds for arts jobs

The city of Seattle and 4Culture, King County's cultural services agency, announced today that they will receive $500,000 in federal stimulus funding to preserve nonprofit arts jobs in jeopardy or recently cut due the economic downturn.

In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) made public direct allocations totaling $450,000 in federal stimulus funds to support jobs at 12 Seattle nonprofit arts organizations, including $50,000 each to Intiman Theatre and Seattle Arts & Lectures, and $25,000 to Youth in Focus, a youth photography program. A complete list of funded local arts organizations is on the NEA's Web site: http://www.arts.gov/grants/recent/09grants/states2/arra.php?STATE=WA.

"We are focused on creating and saving jobs in all areas of our local economy. The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our city," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "I want to thank Congress and the Obama Administration for helping nonprofit arts organizations preserve jobs and keep our economy moving."

Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture each applied for and received the maximum award of $250,000 from the NEA to support arts jobs ranging from performers to backstage technical staff to business managers. The NEA had $50 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to distribute nationwide.

"Make no mistake about it, regionally, arts nonprofits employ thousands of citizens and stimulate spending in various sectors of the economy, from restaurants and hotels to construction and retail," said King County Executive Kurt Triplett. "The NEA funding will help 4Culture preserve local arts jobs, which will have a positive impact on the recovery of other industries. Throughout the county, from our largest cities to our rural areas, access to the arts creates excitement, nourishes a sense of pride and drives economic traffic for all communities."

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture will each distribute the federal job preservation dollars through a competitive application process to eligible arts organizations in Seattle and King County.

An estimated 215 organizations currently funded through the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs' or 4Culture's organizational support programs are eligible to apply. The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture each expect to make between 18 and 25 grants.

Organizations may apply for up to $15,000 to preserve, restore or extend salaried positions or contract jobs that are in jeopardy or have already been eliminated or cut back due to the current economic climate. Proposals will be evaluated on the significance of the position(s) to the mission and core services of the organization, the potential of the position(s) to have an immediate impact, and the organization's ability to manage the funds.

The deadline to apply to the city and county is Monday, Aug. 10. Applications and guidelines for the stimulus grants from the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs are available at www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/arts_jobs.asp. 4Culture's application and guidelines are available at www.4culture.org/arts/saveartjobs.

Stimulus funds have also been made available through the Washington State Arts Commission, which has $273,000 available for about 25 stimulus grants around the state. Organizations may be eligible for support from more than one agency, but can receive only one stimulus grant. Arts organizations that applied directly to the NEA and received stimulus funding are not eligible to apply for the city or county funds.

Seattle/King County's creative edge attracts good companies, skilled workers and visitors. Seattle ranks first nationally in the number of arts-related businesses per capita. Seattle's nonprofit arts organizations pump $330 million into the economy each year, according to Americans for the Arts, a national nonprofit arts advocacy organization.

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