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.


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

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Racial Equity Resources

Capacity Building for Racial Equity in Public Art
Strategies and tools to provide opportunties for artists of color in Public Art

Racial Equity in the Panel Process

A selection of tools for different purposes, curated and developed by national experts

King County's Building Equity Infographic

Western States Center 
Free tools and other resources for achieving racial, gender and economic justice

Non-profit Anti-racism Coalition (NPARC) 
Seattle-based resource for technical assistance and collective learning

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity 
Research and recommendations on the intersection of race, geography and opportunity, including Areas of Opportunity Maps

Race Forward 
Formerly The Applied Research Center; research, tools and best practices

News & analysis, investigation & action; run by Race Forward

Strategy, Research & Vision for Racial Justice

Race the Power of an Illusion 
PBS/California News Reel video series and website on the history of the social construct of race and the pseudo-science that supported it. Streams free through Seattle Public Library (with valid Library card).

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity 
A film by Shakti Butler
Racial equity leaders talk about personal experiences with and social patterns for race, racism and racial equity.

Understanding White Privilege 

Robin DiAngelo Articles on What Does It Mean to Be White? 

World Trust 
Social impact through film and dialogue, this site offers resources and materials to help deepen the conversation on race.

Artistic Freedom

The Arts & Freedom of Expression Network

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations - Report
The right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity

Arts Freedom
International news and info about artistic freedom of expression

National Coalition Against Censorship

Non-Traditional Casting

Stats on API Casting