Ann Hamilton. the common S E N S E, 2014. Henry Art Gallery, Seatle. Photo Jonathan Vanderweit
Ann Hamilton. the common S E N S E, 2014. Henry Art Gallery, Seatle. Photo Jonathan Vanderweit

Cultural Space

Our cultural spaces define the social character of our neighborhoods. They are the bricks-and-mortar portals to the creative vibrancy our city has to offer. In alignment with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, we work to eliminate institutional racism in our programs, policies and practices.

Our office's Cultural Space program exists to preserve, create and activate cultural square footage in the city of Seattle; to work with artists and arts organizations to strengthen their role in charting the future of their creative spaces; and to work with developers and builders to incorporate arts and culture into new projects.

Cultural Space includes all spaces whose primary purpose is to present or support artists and their art.

  • Cultural Space includes all arts presentation spaces. These include but are not limited to museums and galleries, live theaters and cinemas, bookstores and record stores, live music venues, and multidisciplinary arts spaces. These spaces are typically open to the public.
  • Cultural Space includes all spaces dedicated to artists' creative process and the creation of artistic product. These include but are not limited to artists' studios, music and theater rehearsal rooms, film and video studios, music recording facilities, writers' centers, and industrial spaces dedicated to the creation of artistic product. These spaces may be shared between artists or individually dedicated.
  • Cultural Space includes all publicly accessible spaces that supply the means of creative production. These include but are not limited to art supply stores, musical instrument stores, and film and video equipment supply stores.
  • Cultural Space includes all arts training and arts education spaces. These include but are not limited to art schools, theater training facilities, literary arts centers, arts departments at large educational institutions, and any other classroom or other space dedicated to teaching the arts.
  • Cultural Space includes artists' live / work space-spaces that serve a dual function to both house the artist and their family, and to provide creative space in which to conduct their artistic practice. These include but are not limited to residential units with dedicated contiguous work space, and commercial or industrial work spaces with dedicated contiguous residential space.
  • Cultural Space includes work space for arts support organizations. These include but are not limited to spaces occupied primarily by arts funding organizations, arts sector support organizations, and arts advocacy organizations.
  • Cultural Space includes space primarily occupied or utilized by cultural heritage organizations. These include but are not limited to ethnic community meeting spaces, gathering spaces for immigrant communities, traditionally monocultural spaces dedicated to celebrating a unique heritage, and other spaces, either shared or dedicated, that support diverse communities.

Cultural Space is, to borrow terms from the United States Supreme Court, something that "is difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it." There will always be an element of subjectivity in the defining of cultural space, and the decision over whether a certain space "qualifies" or not. We embrace this subjectivity and the need for ongoing evaluation of definitions.

In short, Cultural Space is simply the space that surrounds art and culture. How do you create cultural space? Create art, support culture, show art and culture. The space above, below, in front of and behind that work becomes cultural space.

Matthew Richter
Cultural Space Liaison
Matthew Richter

Looking for a Space?

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
Built in 1915, the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute is an historic landmark and the perfect venue for your special event. Designed by B. Marcus Priteca, and formerly the Jewish Synagogue of Chevra Biku Cholim, the building became a community center and part of the City of Seattle’s facilities in 1972. It underwent extensive renovations in 2011 to preserve its architectural character and update the facilities.
Spacefinder Seattle <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
Looking for rehearsal space by the hour, or an old warehouse for your new theater? Looking for studio space by the month, or an empty retail space for a gallery? Check out Spacefinder Seattle.

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.

Nurturing and protecting our neighborhoods

Arts & Cultural Districts
A program dedicated to nurturing and protecting the presence of arts and culture in our neighborhoods.

How much cultural space is there in Seattle?

SpaceLab NW
From the largest to the smallest, we are counting every theater, gallery, arts office, rehearsal room, library, music club, museum, and cinema in town.

Our Grant Opportunities

Cultural Facilities Fund
Awarding grants to Seattle arts, heritage, cultural and arts service organizations with facility renovation like ADA access or new facility projects.
LHPAI Facility Grant
Aims to create community impact by broadening arts and culture participation at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, an historic landmark cultural facility in the heart of the Central Area neighborhood of Seattle.


Cultural Space Resources and Reports
A collection of commissioned reports and resources to navigate cultural space in the city.

Get email updates