Civic Partner grant

The Civic Partner program awards three consecutive years of funding to Seattle arts and culture, heritage and arts services organizations in all disciplines with a minimum three-year history of providing accessible programming for Seattle residents and visitors. Civic Partners include the entire spectrum of organizations from small grassroots groups, established organizations serving a specific cultural community, and major institutions.

Arts and culture organizations are a vital part of our City's ecosystem. Our investments are a tangible way to partner with the cultural community to achieve our aim of becoming a more inclusive City. The art, stories, and work shared reflect the heart and conscience of our society, allowing us to dig deeper into what is meaningful and relevant, creating opportunities to connect, to experience joy, and to see where we've been, who we are, and what is possible.   

The Civic Partner Program aims to leverage the collective community action of Seattle's arts and cultural sector through strategic investments, training and partnership to create a City where all artists, performers, writers and creative workers have the freedom, agency and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences, regardless of race, class, gender, age, ability, education, country of birth, citizenship, religion and sexual orientation.

Grant Information Sessions

Tuesday, May 21, 5 - 6:30 pm
King Street Station - Top Floor
303 Jackson Street, Seattle WA 98104

Thursday, May 23, 10 - 11:30 am
King Street Station - Top Floor
303 Jackson Street, Seattle WA 98104

Tuesday, June 11, 1 - 2:30 pm
12th Avenue Arts - Pike/Pine Room
1620 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

Wednesday, June 19, 12:30 - 2 pm
King Street Station - Top Floor
303 Jackson Street, Seattle WA 98104


To apply for Civic Partner support, an organization must have its primary location in Seattle and have:

  • a mission and program/s centered on arts and culture or be a culturally specific organization with a significant arts and cultural program; 
  • a minimum three-year history of continuous operation and cultural accomplishment serving Seattle residents;
  • a not-for-profit business structure with a Federal Tax ID number (though not required to have 501(c)(3) status);
  • at least one ongoing cultural program open to the public in Seattle; and
  • no concurrent funding through the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture's Neighborhood & Community Arts or smART ventures funding programs.

Evaluation Criteria

The Civic Partner program invests in the broad cultural community, helping organizations make a rich variety of arts, heritage and culture opportunities accessible to Seattle residents and visitors. Through this and all our programs, we are committed to removing barriers to participation and involving diverse cultures and underserved audiences and artists.

The core evaluation criteria for this program are:

1.      Accessibility and Community Involvement

2.      Merit and Impact of Program in Relation to a Stated Cultural Mission

3.      Inclusive and Anti-Racist Core Values

4.      Organizational Resiliency and Evolvement

Funds may be used for

Civic Partners funds may be used to support annual operating and program costs (staff, artist and other professional fees, facilities, outreach, etc.) relating to an organization's cultural services which are accessible to and provide public benefit to Seattle residents and visitors. Civic Partner awards may NOT be used for

  • events not accessible to the public;
  • capital improvements or purchase of equipment;
  • school, college and university departments or programs which are part of regular or extra-curricular school programs;
  • religious services, or events or presentations in which fundraising is the primary purpose.

Funding Timeline 

July 2019
Staff provides the community review panel a racial equity and implicit bias training. 

July - October 2019
Staff will process and the community panel reviews applications.

November 2019
The panel meets and determines scores for each application.

Late December 2019
Applicants will receive notification of their award status.

February 2020
Civic Partners 2020 funding award amounts determined. Recipients notified.

February/March 2020 
Civic Partner Overview Sessions will be available for funded organizations to learn about the program and paperwork needed to receive funding.


Manage your award

The City is investing in a new online Citywide grants platform that will produce a better experience for applicants and aligns with race and social justice values by providing more equity in opportunities for artists and communities of color. Originally scheduled for completion in 2018, this major undertaking by the City of Seattle, has been delayed into 2019. 

If you are trying to access your online account, please note that ARTS' previous grant platform, CultureGrants Online (CGO) is no longer available due to a realignment of business focus by WESTAF, its developer. Information was sent to everyone who had an online account. If you have questions, please contact this program's project manager for guidance. Please check back here for future updates

Getting the word out

Want to get the word out about your arts or cultural event or exhibit? Here are some tips on sending out information to the public and local media.

Step 1. Gather all the details: who, what, where, when and why.

Step 2. Gather graphics for publicity. Gather photos, create a logo if necessary, work with a designer on the look and any printed materials.

Step 3. Write a press release and/or prepare a press kit and send to the media.

The Press Release

Press releases inform the media about your event and can inspire the media to publish a calendar listing or even cover the event. Click here for a description and example of the anatomy of a press release.

  • Try to let the media know what makes your event unique or relevant.
  • Be genuine. Exaggeration or inaccuracy will only hurt your chances of being a reliable media source. The more a press release reads like an actual news article, the better. Many smaller publications love releases they can print verbatim.
  • Press releases should look professional and be easy to read. Type double-spaced.
  • Make sure the organization's name, address, website and contact information is visible.
  • Include the media contact's name, direct phone line and e-mail address near the top of the first page.
  • Include a "pull date" (the last date of the event) near the top of the first page.
  • Include a headline that summarizes the event and invites people to read the details.
  • All the most pertinent information should be included in the first paragraph - the five W's. Who is presenting what, where and when? Why should people attend? Include information on how people can attend or buy tickets, locations of ticket venues or website, e-mail and/or box office phone-line information.
  • Additional paragraphs can provide more descriptive information about the event, artists involved and quotes.
  • Use your mission statement or general description of the organization at the end of the press release.
  • If the press release is longer than one page, write "-More-" at the bottom of each page. At the end of the last page, include "# # #" to indicate the end of the release.

The Press Kit

Press kits provide useful background information for members of the press writing previews or reviews of your arts or cultural event. A press kit should be organized in a folder and generally includes:

1) Organization Information (front to back on the left side of the folder)

  • Mission statement
  • Brief organizational history
  • Organizational brochure
  • Feature articles on the organization or lead staff
  • Board list
  • Business card for media contact

2) Specific Event Information (front to back on the right side of the folder)

  • Press release for the event
  • Photos or artwork related to the event
  • Event postcard or flyer
  • Event program
  • Artists' bios, if not in the program
  • Preview articles about the event

Note: Do not include reviews of the event or previous events in the press packet. Most reviewers do not want to be influenced by the opinions of others.

Online calendars

There are numerous websites with online events calendars to use to publicize your event. Here are few:

Daily and weekly papers

Send your press releases to local newspapers. Here are some of the dailies and weekly papers to begin with.

Neighborhood newspapers

  • International Examiner - Contact
  • Northwest Asian Weekly - Contact
  • Pacific Publishing's papers serve the University District, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, Wedgewood, Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Greenwood, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Madison Park, Broadmoor, Washington Park, Madrona, Madison Valley, Leschi, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, South Hill, International District and Kirkland. Contact
  • Robinson News publishes Ballard News Tribune, West Seattle Herald, White Center News, The Highline Times


Most radio stations accept a written public service announcement (PSA). Some will take a pre-recorded PSA. Check the website of the radio station you think best matches your audience. Many stations belong to the Puget Sound Broadcasters Association or Washington State Association of Broadcasters. Both organizations list links to their members.


Seattle Channel, the city's municipal television channel, is committed to covering local arts and culture. Art Zone with Nancy Guppy on Seattle channel specifically covers the local art scene.

Local television stations are:

Funded Partners

In 2017, the Civic Partners program awarded $1.79 million, with a commitment for 3 additional years of funding to 158 Seattle-based arts, heritage and cultural organizations including seven arts service organizations designated as Community Partners. These funded programs engaged more than 19,000 volunteer and paid artists serving an audience of almost 2 million people, including 271,878 students and youth, and provided 323,360 free admissions. Nearly 30 percent of the funded projects either involved artists of color or served communities of color at some level.

2016 - 2019 Community Partners

Seven of the 158 funded organizations are designated community partners, which are defined as arts service organizations that serve and enhance the capacity of artists and arts groups.

Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences


2016 - 2019 Civic Partners

Philharmonia Northwest
Simple Measures
Theater Schmeater

2014 - 2015 Community Partners

Nine of the 168 funded organizations are designated community partners, which are defined as arts service organizations that serve and enhance the capacity of artists and arts groups.

Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences


2014 - 2015 Civic Partners

Balagan Theatre
Philharmonia Northwest
Simple Measures
Theater Schmeater
* Funded in 2014 only

2012 - 2013 Community Partners

Nine of the 137 funded organizations are designated community partners, which are defined as arts service organizations that serve and enhance the capacity of artists and arts groups.

Artist Trust
Artist Trust provides individual artists of all creative disciplines the necessary support to launch and sustain successful careers, through financial grants, career training and professional resources.
Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences
AVIA (Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences) provides audio-description of live arts performances, and other services to create access for those who are visually impaired.
ArtsEd Washington
ArtsEd Washington works to advance arts education for all Washington students by creating systemic change in how arts education is perceived, funded, and taught in the schools.
Shunpike's Storefronts Seattle promotes neighborhood vitality by bringing temporary art and creative enterprise to available retail storefront spaces and the Arts Business Clinic offers affordable consultation, training workshops and information resources for artists and arts groups in navigating business issues, management tactics and strategic priorities.
Springboard (501 Commons)
Springboard vaults a cohort of small to mid-sized arts and cultural organizations towards greater sustainability by guiding them through an in-depth assessment and planning process.
Teaching Artist Training Lab (ArtsWA)
The Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab is an eight-month professional development program for teaching artists working in all artistic disciplines. The Lab supports artists' ability to partner effectively with K-12 schools and teachers, to develop strong arts learning plans, to create safe and inclusive learning environments, and to develop creative and collaborative arts learning experiences for their students.
TeenTix (Seattle Center Foundation)
TeenTix facilitates arts encounters for teenagers aged 13-19, while empowering them to design and initiate those experiences. TeenTix makes Seattle's cultural life affordable and accessible to teens while developing an engaged community of young patrons for the arts.
Theatre Puget Sound (Arts Crush)
Theatre Puget Sound's Arts Crush is a multi-disciplinary annual festival encouraging active participation in the arts by unifying the regional arts community around four overarching goals: Engaging Community, Creating Access, Inspiring Creativity and Building Arts Participation.
Washington State Cultural Congress (WA State Arts Alliance Foundation)
Cultural Congress is a collaborative conference bringing together a diverse group of cultural leaders to increase their knowledge of the field, strengthen skills and cultivate partnerships through intensive workshops, peer dialogue, and dynamic speakers.


2012 - 2013 Civic Partners

Against the Grain / Men in Dance
Icicle Creek Theatre Festival
Seattle Dance Project
Simple Measures
Theater Schmeater
* Funds for these contracts may differ from 2012 to 2013
** Funded only in 2012

2011 Civic Partners

Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences
Blue Earth Alliance
Giant Magnet
Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival
Simple Measures
Theater Schmeater

2009 - 2010 Civic Partners

Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences
Blue Earth Alliance
d9 Dance Collective
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
Prabha Rustagi Memorial Trust
Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival
Simple Measures
Theater Schmeater

2007 - 2008 Civic Partners

Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences
Crispin Spaeth Dance Group
d9 Dance Collective
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
Next Stage Dance Theatre
Prabha Rustagi Memorial Trust
Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival
Theater Schmeater
VSA Arts of Washington