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.

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