ARTS staff at 2016 Mayor's Arts Awards.
ARTS staff at 2016 Mayor's Arts Awards.

Staff

Randy Engstrom

Randy Engstrom

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Director
randy.engstrom@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7173

Randy has been a passionate advocate and organizer for cultural and community development for more than 10 years. Before coming to our office in October 2012, he ran Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community-based consulting services business. He served as chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving two years as vice-chair and was chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. Previously, he was the deputy director of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, interim director of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, founding director of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, founding CEO of Static Factory Media and the program coordinator of the Fremont Unconventional Center, a non-profit event space. He is a founding member of the artist live/work project Stronghold Arts Collective. In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia and received his masters in public administration at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs.

Calandra Childers

Calandra Childers

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Deputy Director 
Calandra.Childers@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7306

As Deputy Director, Calandra participates in strategic planning, budgeting, policy and support for the Office of Arts & Culture's programs, operations and culture. She oversees the Community Development and Outreach team and its work in connecting artists and cultural organizations to opportunities and creating connection and change through events and workshops. Calandra has more than a decade of public relations and communications experience working with non-profit and government agencies including the Seattle Art Museum, the Renton Chamber of Commerce and the City of Renton. Calandra holds a BA in English from Whitman College and enjoys experiencing Seattle's cultural activities when she's not playing in the sun with her dog.

Cultural Partnerships Program
Kathy Hsieh

Kathy Hsieh

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Cultural Partnerships and Grants Manager
kathy.hsieh@seattle.gov
(206) 733-9926

Kathy is the Cultural Partnerships and Grants Manager, overseeing the community-building, funding, and racial equity programs of the Office. A change agent in transforming the City's arts funding program through a racial equity lens, she helped the agency earn the Seattle Management Association's first Race & Social Justice Management Award. A leader with the City's nationally recognized Race & Social Justice Initiative, she has presented on numerous national panels, and is an adjunct professor on Asian American Theatre for the University of Washington. Kathy is also a theatre artist and award-winning actor, playwright, director and producer with a special focus on work that creates visibility and opportunities for, and highlights the talent and contributions of, artists of color. She has been honored by the National Association of Asian American Professionals in Seattle as their Artist of the Year and as an actor by ArtsFund in 2003, featured in The Dramatist Magazine as "50 to Watch" in 2007, received A Special Award of Recognition by The Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Awards for Excellence in Playwriting and Verizon's Asian Pacific American Bash's Innovator Award in 2012, and is the 2015 International Examiner Community Voice Awardee in the Arts.

Jenny Crooks

Jenny Crooks

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Project Manager
jenny.crooks@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7084

Jenny manages the Neighborhood & Community Arts and smART Ventures programs. She grew up in Maryland, just outside of D.C., and was involved in the arts from an early age. She graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., with a BA in international environmental studies. After returning to D.C. she worked as volunteer coordinator at The Studio Theatre and then as a grants specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts. Jenny is also a local theatre artist and enjoys photography and the outdoors.

Jennifer Frohwerk

Jennifer Frohwerk

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Contracts Coordinator
jennifer.frohwerk@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7312

Jennifer Frohwerk joins the Office of Arts & Culture as the Contracts Coordinator. She will provide contract support for the Cultural Partnerships team and will lead the transition to a new online granting system. Previously she was Creative Director and Project Coordinator for Clearpath, where she collaborated with executive teams to develop strategies, improve processes, and design meaningful customer experiences for clients in municipal, educational, healthcare, and for-profit and non-profit organizations. Frohwerk received her Fine Arts - Studio Arts degree from Indiana University. In 2011, she graduated from Artist Trust's EDGE Professional Development Program for Visual Artists. A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, her illustrations have been published in two children's picture books. She loves to paint and draw.

Irene Gómez

Irene Gómez

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Project Manager
irene.gomez@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7310

Irene administers Youth Arts and CityArtists Projects funding programs in addition to related technical support. She's an active member of the city's Race & Social Justice Initiative Change Team and volunteers on several boards and committees of a community foundation, artist collectives and heritage organizations. Film, travel, friends and being parent of an emerging media artist balance interests outside of work.

Kristi Woo

Kristi Woo

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Youth Funding Project Manager
kristi.woo@seattle.gov
(206) 727-8671

Kristi serves as ARTS' Youth Funding Project Manager and has a passion for cultural preservation, youth empowerment and community advocacy. Kristi is a former Arts Education Manager of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and Education Manager for the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Her innovation in bridge-building amongst schools, families and artists along with advocacy in underserved communities around arts education is well respected. She has worked and volunteered with pluralistic communities in Seattle's Rainier Valley, Chinatown International District and Central Area neighborhoods for more than 20 years.

Public Art Program
Ruri Yampolsky

Ruri Yampolsky

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Public Art Director
ruri.yampolsky@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7309

Ruri oversees the Public Art program, working to integrate the ideas and work of artists into the public realm. With more than 20 years in the field, she endeavors to bring diverse arts experiences to Seattle's residents and visitors and to expand the definition of public art. She has managed of a range of projects and has developed policies, procedures and best practices for public art administration. She has been a member of several interdepartmental teams addressing city-wide planning issues such as the Central Waterfront. She is a member of the Public Art Network Council of Americans for the Arts. A registered architect, in a past life she practiced architecture in New York. She has a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University, and earned her bachelor's in architecture with a minor in Latin from Barnard College.

Sandy Esene

Sandy Esene

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Registrar
sandy.esene@seattle.gov
(206) 233-3930

Sandy is passionate about care of collections and is excited to be a steward for the City of Seattle's Permanently Sited and Portable Works collections. As the Public Art Registrar Sandy maintains the artwork database and collection authority files, maintaining legal documents, histories of use, and physical histories of collection objects. She provides data, information, and expertise for inquiries regarding City artwork collection. Sandy is a self-confessed ancient cultures geek and writes contemporary fantasy novels that incorporate adventure, ancient myth and history.

Blake Haygood

Blake Haygood

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Acting Curator and Collections Manager
blake.haygood@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7132

Blake helps rotate and maintain the Portable Works Collection, with more than 2,800 works; assists in curating city exhibitions; and provides handyman services in the office when needed. He is a practicing artist and his work can be viewed at www.blakehaygood.com.

Tiffany Hedrick

Tiffany Hedrick

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Artwork Conservation
tiffany.hedrick@seattle.gov
(206) 615-0175

For over seven years Tiffany has facilitated and performed conservation for the city of Seattle's public art collection, comprised of more than 2,800 portable and 450 permanent works of art. Tiffany also works with Seattle Parks and Recreation to assess, restore and maintain artworks in their collection. Tiffany received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Washington and her Master of Arts degree in Conservation from Northumbria University. When not scaling totem poles, Tiffany loves to go camping and hiking, spend time in the garden, build furniture and train her Border collie and Australian shepherd on their agility skills.

Jason Huff

Jason Huff

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Project Manager Lead
jason.huff@Seattle.gov
(206) 684-7278

As a public art project manager with our office since 2007, Jason has worked with local and national artists to design and install artworks for the city's 1% for Art collection. From 2000 to 2007, Jason was the artistic director at the Kirkland Arts Center. Born and raised in White Plains, New York, he received his BFA in art from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and his MFA in ceramics from the University of Washington. Jason continues to work in ceramics and has exhibited his work regionally at Gallery IMA, SOIL, Bellevue Art Museum, Gallery IMA, and nationally at the Contemporary Crafts Gallery in Portland, Ore.; San Angelo Museum of Fine Art in San Angelo, Tex.; Contemporary Arts Collective and Donna Beam Fine Arts Gallery in Las Vegas, Nev.; and the Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery in Reno, Nev.

Marcia Iwasaki

Marcia Iwasaki

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Project Manager
marcia.iwasaki@seattle.gov
(206) 233-3946

Marcia enjoys helping artists and communities realize their artistic vision and projects. She is the only staff member who has worked on both Public Art and Cultural Partnerships teams, working with artists in public art as well as music, dance, theater, film and literary arts. Her projects range from modest, ephemeral events to hefty-scaled, permanent public art, like the Joint Fire Fighter and Seattle Public Utility training campus.Marcia's enthusiasm for the arts is infectious, with more than 20 years with the office, preceded by teaching art at a small Native American school in Montana, working at the Boston Children's Museum, and co-founding the Boston Dragon Boat Festival (now in its 34th year!). She was raised on a family farm in Oregon and enjoys travel, gardening and new recipes.

Elisheba Johnson

Elisheba Johnson

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Project Manager
elisheba.johnson@seattle.gov
(206) 684-0182

Elisheba Johnson is a life-long participant in the arts. Most recently she owned Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that had art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. Being a visual artist, Elisheba brought the community together to create multidisciplinary arts projects at Faire. Elisheba has also volunteered at various arts organizations to help broaden the impact the arts has in the Seattle area. She is now writing for "Curating a Life" her parenting blog, creating mixed media art pieces, and finishing up work on a children's book she co-authored with her father, Charles Johnson. When she is not enjoying an art exhibit with her son, she is volunteering with the parenting support group "Rooting for Mama".

Maija McKnight

Maija McKnight

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Project Manager
maija.mcknight@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7311

The Public Art Program welcomes Maija McKnight as its newest project manager. Maija has worked in the arts field for more than 15 years including serving as the Arts Coordinator for the City of Auburn, Washington and within the education departments of Tacoma Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Seattle Asian Art Museum. With an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Western Washington University and a masters degree in Museum Studies from the University of Washington, this former Montanan enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and making things out of metal in her studio.

Kristen Ramirez

Kristen Ramirez

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Seattle Department of Transportation Art & Enhancements Project Manager
kristen.ramirez@seattle.gov
(206) 615-1095

As Art & Enhancements Project Manager, Kristen Ramirez works between the Office of Arts and Culture and SDOT (Department of Transportation) managing public art projects and working to activate our streets with art. Prior to joining the Office, Kristen worked for ten years as faculty and staff at Cornish College of the Arts. A long-time teacher, Kristen has also taught at the University of Washington, Tacoma Museum of Glass, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Edmonds Community College, and Path with Art, a non-profit that serves adults in recovery. Kristen is also a busy studio and public artist, whose work conjures an affection for place by appropriating signs and symbols of commerce. Kristen earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz, a MA in Education from San Francisco State University, and a MFA in Printmaking from the University of Washington. When not engaged in the arts, Kristen loves paddling her canoe on the Duwamish River, cooking, outdoor adventures of many stripes, and being a mom to her son.

Project Team
Sandra Boas-DuPree

Sandra Boas-DuPree

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Operations & Development
sandra.boas-dupree@seattle.gov
(206) 386-4608

Sandra is a native to Seattle and majored in finance and marketing at the University of Washington. After working as a contract specialist with Sedgewick Payne brokerage, where she managed multi-million dollar international accounts, she came aboard LHPAI in 2003. Her artistic lineage starts with her father, the noted jazz pianist Kenny Boas, one of Seattle's celebrated jazz-era musicians. She continues as a founding member of The Mahogany Project, a performing arts group that provides African-American's a means to be the makers and owners of their art. Her play Journey from Spruce Street premiered in the 2007 Mahogany Project's theater festival. In 2015, her play Jazz Prayer about the 1940's jazz era in Seattle premiered at Theater Off Jackson with Freehold Theater's Emboldenedplay about Buddy Bolden. Sandra's plays, including Sister Fusion and Black Label, challenge simple-minded stereotypical beliefs about African Americans and reveal her family's vanguard confrontation of racist barriers in Seattle. A social activist, her careers have always included involvement in race and social justice initiatives in both public and private sectors.

Lara Davis

Lara Davis

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Arts Education Manager
lara.davis@seattle.gov
(206) 615-1879

Lara Davis has been active in youth development and community arts education for more than a decade. She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, an award winning Seattle-based youth arts organization. As arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Lara is the City's representative for the Creative Advantage, a public/private partnership to ensure equitable access to high quality arts learning for all Seattle students. Lara serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, and facilitates equity and racial justice trainings for teaching artists, educators and organizations, presenting locally and at national conferences. As a person of color, Lara understands the value of cross-cultural, multi-sector efforts to dismantle racism and other oppressions, and to promote justice. As an artist and arts administrator, she knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, foster engagement, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

Diana Falchuk

Diana Falchuk

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Manager of Arts & Racial Equity  
diana.falchuk@seattle.gov
(206) 615-1800

Diana is an artist, parent, organizer, educator and policymaker with 15 years' experience developing programming, training and policies that advance social justice. A former Seattle Arts Commissioner, Diana leads ARTS' partnership with the Office for Civil Rights, through which she designs and facilitates arts-based learning and strategies to increase action for racial equity across the region. Since 2003, Diana has also developed arts-based alternatives to incarceration for youth, including King County's new Creative Justice. Diana has a Master's in Social Work from the University of Washington where she completed a certificate in Intergroup Dialogue facilitation. Outside of her time at the City, Diana organizes with European Dissent Seattle and Radical Shabbat.

Amber Rose Jimenez

Amber Rose Jimenez

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Racial Equity & Commission Coordinator
amberrose.jimenez@seattle.gov
(206) 233-7177

Amber Rose Jimenez serves as the Racial Equity and Arts Commission Coordinator for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Previously, she worked at Seattle Foundation, where she oversaw the strategy and project management of Community Programs initiatives and grantmaking. Throughout her career, Amber Rose has worked to activate investments in youth-driven democracy, mobilize voters for progressive political campaigns, and catalyze grassroots nonprofit development efforts. She is the current Chair of the KEXP Community Advisory Board and participates in a collective impact fund, Present Purpose Network. She is a former Seattle Arts Commissioner, Board Member at Capitol Hill Housing Foundation, and Chair of The Vera Project Board of Directors. She studied Political Science and Philosophy at Seattle Pacific University.

Matthew Richter

Matthew Richter

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Cultural Space Liaison 
matthew.richter@seattle.gov
(206) 733-9955

Matthew joined the office in 2013 as the Cultural Space Liaison, a new position aimed at stabilizing and increasing the number of cultural square feet in Seattle. Matthew is an arts entrepreneur, and was the founding director of both the Consolidated Works contemporary arts center and the Rm 608 gallery for visual and performing arts. He comes to the office from Shunpike, where he spent two years building the Storefronts Seattle program. He has served as the Performance Editor of The Stranger, and is a nationally published writer. He has created a series of Dinner Theater productions at On the Boards and elsewhere, is an accomplished furniture designer and builder, and has lectured internationally on the state of the arts.

Community Development and Outreach
Erika Lindsay

Erika Lindsay

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Communications Manager
erika.lindsay@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4337

Prior to joining the communications team, Erika worked as a media and community relations professional at arts groups for more than 12 years including the Smithsonian, Seattle Art Museum and the Frye Art Museum. Originally hailing from the sultry suburbs of Washington, D.C. Erika graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland with a B.A. in English. She is happiest in the Pacific Northwest working in the arts and enjoying the liquid sunshine with her family.

Otts Bolisay

Otts Bolisay

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Digital Media Specialist
otts.bolisay@seattle.gov
(206) 733-9591

Fourteen years of social justice work has attuned Otts to the rhythms of stories and how they can move us to action. Blogs were the newest form of social media back then, and Otts trained the Seattle contingent of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride to document and share their cross-country journey with the family and supporters they left behind.

Technology planning and strategic communications led to electronic advocacy and movement building, where Otts learned that all the shiny promise of emerging online platforms meant nothing without mobilizing grassroots participation. Along with video production, he began exploring other visual communications like graphic design, comics and most recently, animation.

Otts has seen first-hand the critical role art plays in social change and is excited to learn, experience and share stories from Seattle's vibrant arts community.

Jenny Ku

Jenny Ku

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Events Coordinator
jenny.ku@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4186

Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, she moved to Seattle in June of 2002 and has been an active member of our vibrant arts community ever since. Prior to joining the Community Development and Outreach team, Jenny served as the Director of Arts and Culture and Programming Coordinator for BurlyCon.

She is also the cabaret curator and coordinator for The Wing Luke Asian Museum and artistic director for numerous theatrical productions. Additionally, Jenny is a practicing visual and performance artist herself, and is thrilled to support the arts in this new capacity.

Lizzy Melton

Lizzy Melton

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Panel Coordinator
lizzy.melton@seattle.gov
(206) 727-8668

As Panel Coordinator, Lizzy Melton provides support for the art selection panels for both the Public Art and Cultural Partnership programs. She works with the online application tools CaFÉ and CGO in all stages of the call process, compiles and readies the submitted application materials, and makes arrangements for selection panel technology requirements. Melton is a former professional dancer and later earned a BA in Art History from the American University of Paris. When not attending dance performances or enjoying museum and gallery exhibitions, she can be found indulging in her love of films, books, and French pastries.        

Mytoan Nguyen-Akbar

Mytoan Nguyen-Akbar

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Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow
Mytoan.Nguyen-Akbar@seattle.gov
(206) 684-7305

Mytoan Nguyen-Akbar joined the Office of Arts & Culture as a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Impact and Assessment Manager. She has most recently developed curriculum for the Seattle Community Colleges, taught sociology courses on race, immigration, inequality, and belonging at Seattle University and the University of Puget Sound, and published in scholarly journals including Sociological Perspectives, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and the Journal of Vietnam Studies. Mytoan earned her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia, and a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at UC Berkeley. In Seattle, Mytoan has been a volunteer with the Rainier Valley Corps and the Vietnamese Friendship Association. She and her spouse Arash have a 5-month infant and a 5-year old. A fun fact about the Akbars: they celebrate three New Years holidays at different times of the year.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

Lovell Davis

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Maintenance Laborer
lovell.daivs@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4758

Amanda Licorish

Amanda Licorish

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Events Booking Coordinator
amanda.licorish@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4758

Amanda Licorish comes to ARTS with a background in building and program management and a Recreation Administration Degree from the University of Idaho. She has a great appreciation for the arts and has served on many committees and boards providing enriching programs to the Seattle community. She is a passionate advocate for teens, especially surrounding issues of access and equity. Licorish is volunteers on her Sorority's youth committee and enjoys being a mentor for others in her field. She is happiest when she has had an adventure, is surprised with treats or anytime she is playing with her son Lawford.

Dominique Thomas

Dominique Thomas

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Stage Tech Lead
dominique.thomas@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4776

Dominique Thomas has been an entertainment professional for the past 15 years working in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Colorado. He has taught stagecraft at Bellevue College and Western Washington University as well as run three production companies aimed at creating a more positive future for artists in the information era. He is a member of I.A.T.S.E. and has worked on stage as well as behind the camera. After seven years of freelance work he now rests at Seattle's Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute where he intends on using his knowledge accrued in the industry to enable a new community of budding artists to grow.

Office Operations
Kelly Davidson

Kelly Davidson

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Finance Manager
kelly.davidson@seattle.gov
(206) 684-8362

Kelly has been working with the City of Seattle for 18 years and started as an intern with the Office of Arts & Culture. She has a degree in Fine Art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she spent a lot of her time working with the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery and as an intern working on the grand opening of the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery. Since working for the City of Seattle she has worked in four different departments; Office of Arts & Culture, Department of Neighborhoods, Parks and Recreation and most recently Seattle City Light. In her free time Kelly enjoys biking, skiing and gardening.

Steven Eng

Steven Eng

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Accounting Services
steven.eng@seattle.gov
(206) 615-1825

Steven oversees the accounting operations for the office including creating general ledger journal entries, general ledger maintenance and reconciliation, accounts receivable, asset management, approving vouchers, and preparing various financial reports. He also assists in the loading of the yearly budget into the city of Seattle's financial accounting system. Prior to joining the office in 2010, Steven worked for more than 20 years in various financial institutions in Seattle as an accountant and data warehouse analyst. In his spare time, Steven enjoys watching sports, especially basketball, soccer, football and baseball. He plays basketball every week.      

Sheila Moss

Sheila Moss

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Accounting Services
sheila.moss@seattle.gov
(206) 233-7016

Sheila has been with the office since 2009 and performs accounting and administrative duties within the city's financial system including accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash receipts and payroll, as well as some human resources duties. Sheila is also a talented vocalist and lyricist and has written, arranged and recorded music for many years.

Amanda Standley

Amanda Standley

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Policy Coordinator 
amanda.standley@seattle.gov
(206) 684-4185

Amanda Standley (previously Stoddard) joins the Office of Arts & Culture as the new Operations Coordinator. In addition to working with contracts, Amanda also serves the Cultural Partnerships Team, providing administrative and community support. Amanda is an activist, organizer, and collaborative theater artist. She is the Board Chair of the Satori Group, an ensemble of theatre makers generating new work with an eye toward audience experience. Previously, she worked for the Mayor's Office in the Office of Policy and Innovation, working as liaison to the Office of Arts and Culture and the Office of Film+Music. Amanda loves old movies, thinks that protests are an act of love, and has not met a cheese she doesn't like.

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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.
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Seeking an undergraduate student to intern with the Communications and Outreach team. The Communications and Outreach Team is responsible for office communications (including printed materials, website, blog and social media), outreach efforts and events (internal and external), as well as working with the press and partnering with other organizations to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture..2/7/2017
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Meet the staff of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
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The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.