Racial Equity

The Office of Arts & Culture believes that

  • Recommended solutions of the past, which have focused on diversity rather than racial equity, have not resulted in equitable access to opportunities and outcomes for artists and people of color nationally or locally.
  • Addressing historic injustices is a vital component of achieving equity for communities of color.

Therefore, the Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with the Office for Civil Rights, is committed to role modeling best practices in dismantling, and working to educate arts and cultural organizations on institutional and structural racism. We are committed to addressing and increasing community-wide awareness about existing  inequities so that we, along with our cultural and community partners, can most effectively work together toward a vision of racial equity.

Kathy Hsieh
Cultural Partnerships and Grants Manager
Commitment to Racial Equity

The Office of Arts & Culture affirms that

  • All people, their culture, and their art contribute to the meaning and understanding of our humanity, our society and our planet, and should be honored and celebrated.
  • Artists, their art, their process, and the organizations they create and support play a unique role in witnessing and providing inspiration and strategies to eliminate societal inequity and injustice.
  • Policies, practices and procedures, both intentional and inadvertent, have resulted in unequal access to education, housing, transportation, healthy food, cultural spaces, and countless other resources for African, Black, Latino(a), Asian, Pacific Islander, Arab, and Native American communities and artists. This systemic, unequal access to opportunity has resulted in generations of unjust and in equitable outcomes for communities of color. The result is an ongoing pattern of oppression and structural racism.
  • These social inequities continue to be reflected in the programs, policies and practices of most organizations, including those working in the in arts and cultural community. Therefore, in order to create a more equitable society, funders, arts organizations, and artists should take explicit actions to change our policies, practices, structures and norms.
Upcoming Opportunities
#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.

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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.


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.10/30/2015
Put the Arts in Parks grant
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.10/30/2015
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.