Spectrum Dance Theater
Spectrum Dance Theater

Racial Equity

Commitment to Racial Equity

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture commits to an anti-racist work practice that centers the creativity and leadership of people of color - those most impacted by structural racism - to move toward systems that benefit us all. We also acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.

We envision a city of people whose success, safety and health are not pre-determined by their race. 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. At the same time, we acknowledge that our actions - both conscious and unconscious, past and present - have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for communities of color. We work toward our vision by addressing and working to eliminate institutional racism in our programs, policies and practices.

In alignment with the City's Race and Social Justice Initiative, we seek new solutions that use arts as a strategy to drive not only our office, but the City as a whole toward racial equity and social justice. We will continue to break barriers and build arts-integrated tools that challenge the status quo, and push us toward the inclusive society we envision.  If you have any questions about our commitment, or would like to know more about the work we are doing, please call us at 206.684.7171 or email at Arts.Culture@Seattle.gov.

Diana Falchuk
Manager of Arts & Racial Equity 
Diana Falchuk
Kathy Hsieh
Cultural Partnerships and Grants Manager
Kathy Hsieh

Our programs centering racial equity and social justice began in 2004 when the City also adopted the first ever Race and Social Justice Initiative. In conjunction with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), ARTS has increased our resources and commitment to applying a racial equity lens to our work . From commissioning racial equity trainings (White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo and Centering People of Color in the Racial Equity Movement by Carmen Morgan), equitable access to arts education in public schools (The Creative Advantage), a shared staff position with OCR, focus groups specifically for artists of color (Artists Up), to a learning co-hort for arts organizations to expand their own understanding and commitment to racial equity (Turning Commitment into Action). We have consistently sought to increase our capacity and that of our community. Creating a racial equity statement is a result of this work and provides a path into our future; holding our office and our field accountable to our community.

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.

Upcoming Opportunities

Why We Lead with a Racial Equity Lens to Achieve Structural Transformation

Monday, May 8, 2017
1:30-4:30 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, West Room 104 17th Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98144

RSVP here

In this three-hour workshop participants will strengthen their understanding of how social advantages and disadvantages work to maintain oppression. We’ll examine how our own positions impact our lived experiences and roles as agents for change, and explore strategies to create equity and justice. We’ll learn why leading with racial equity is a strategy to transform systems for the benefit of all.

This foundational workshop is open to anyone who has not had racial equity training. Priority will be given to members of the arts and cultural community.

Open Office Chats

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is hosting informal open chat sessions designed to bring people in the arts and cultural community together around common questions related to funding and racial equity. They’re a great way to meet with a small group of people, explore questions, discover possible answers, and build connections.

Upcoming open chats are:

Focus/subject: Racial Equity
Tuesday, May 16, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
RVSP to: Sophie.Solomon@seattle.gov
Office of Arts & Culture
700 5th Ave, Suite 1766
Seattle, WA 98104

Storytelling Strategies for Dismantling Racism

April 20, 2017
9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
2100 Building, 2100 24th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144
Cost is $150 if you register before March 17, 2017

#TalkTheArts is the Office of Arts & Culture’s bimonthly Twitter party, centering on a curated topic with a panel of guests from Seattle’s diverse arts community.

Get email updates



Turning Commitment into Action
In conjunction with the Office for Civil Rights we are offering arts and cultural organizations the tools they need to turn their commitments to building racial equity – both within their organizations and through their work in and with community – into actions for tangible change.
Ethnic Artist Roster
The Ethnic Artist Roster is a diverse list of artists of color who were selected through a panel process for exhibition opportunities in city owned or affiliated galleries.
The Creative Advantage <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
The Creative Advantage is Seattle Public Schools commitment to arts education for all students. The initiative is ensuring that every student has arts integrated into their education, starting in kindergarten through high school.
ARTISTS UP <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-new-window"></span>
Supporting artists of color, including those from other countries or new to our region, with resources, services and programs.


Arts in Parks Program
Increasing arts and community events in parks throughout the city by investing in the vibrant cultural work being done in and by diverse communities throughout Seattle.
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.
Neighborhood & Community Arts grant
Supporting Seattle's neighborhood arts councils and community groups that produce events to promote arts and cultural participation and build community.
smART ventures grant
Encouraging innovation and widening cultural participation, particularly by individuals, organizations and communities that may not qualify for other grant programs. Accepting applications year-round, smART ventures is flexible, inclusive and simple.