Communities

Improving Access to the Arts

Much of what makes the Pacific Northwest such a special place to live is the rich cultural environment we all share. But access to the arts is inequitable, particularly among young people. Seventy-five percent of Washington’s elementary students receive two hours or less of arts education each week and, in 2019, only 30% of our state’s eighth-grade students had access to an art course.
Harnessing the Power of Art
In order to make sure the 68,000 creative jobs here in our Puget Sound community continue to increase and expand, we’re helping improve students’ access to art education. We support programs that improve arts access for people from different socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds; we encourage self-expression, critical thinking, and creativity that shapes the trajectory of young lives by sparking inspiration.
 

Supporting Creative Experiences

Few young people in our region have access to creative experiences that encourage critical thinking and provide pathways to artistic opportunities. To help change this, we support programs such as the Student Arts Showcase, the Media Arts Skills Center, and The Residency. We also support public art projects across Seattle, and work to enrich the arts in the Pacific Northwest by producing the Seattle Art Fair and supporting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The Residency

The Residency is an intensive summer program for young people in underserved communities in King County. By creating and performing an original piece, youth participate in experiential learning about the hip-hop industry while building a support network of peers. The program has grown to include year-round mentoring and opportunities for collaboration.*

Partners
Museum of Pop Culture, Art Corps, Macklemore

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Student Art Showcase

Student Art Festivals will serve more than 1,500 students in underserved communities in Seattle Public Schools, allowing them to share and celebrate arts learning. Students who participate in the arts have higher grades and attendance, are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college, and are more likely engage in community activities such as voting and volunteering. Each festival brings together students across grades (K-12), schools, and arts disciplines.*

Partners
The Creative Advantage (Seattle Public Schools, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Foundation)

Media Skills Art Center

The Media Arts Skills Center gives Seattle-area high school students in underserved communities training in media-related skills via a hands-on learning environment. Participants learn animation, production, and graphic design so they can become more familiar with creative industries and be career-ready. The program is in its third year and has provided instruction to more than 120 students.

Partners
The Creative Advantage (Seattle Public Schools, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Foundation)

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SODO Track

SODO Track is a two-mile-long urban art gallery in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. The back walls of buildings— including 19 different properties that face the light rail tracks and a dedicated bus lane— were transformed by 40 local artists who created murals that are visible to more than 50,000 commuters each workday. Not only does this create a sense of community, it transforms what would be an otherwise dull expanse of concrete into a lively, artistic corridor.

Partners
4Culture Public Art, Urban Artworks, SODO Business Improvement Association, King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit

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Seattle International Film Festival

We have a long history of supporting the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), and through our films, television, and interactive programming, we are shining a spotlight on the power of creativity and leveraging the arts to spark social change.

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon offers more than 800 performances of Shakespeare, classics, musicals, and world premieres from late February through October each year. Our support of their programming helps expand access to the arts in the Pacific Northwest. In 2013, the open air Elizabethan Theater was renamed The Allen Elizabethan Theater.*

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Telling the Story of the Power of the Arts

We work to promote the arts and arts education through powerful storytelling. Vulcan Productions is a key part of the Vulcan and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation network. The company has produced several films that spotlight the power of the arts, including “STEP,” “Ballet Now,” “Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of an Orchestra,” “Lift,” and “Black Woodstock.”

"STEP"

“STEP” is a feature-length documentary that profiles the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women by following members of the school’s step dance team. These graduating seniors have survived nearly seven years of academic challenges as they await the results of their college applications – all while preparing for one of the most important step competitions of their lives.
 

Partners
Stick Figure Productions

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"Black Woodstock"

Upcoming feature documentary “Black Woodstock” tells the story of the 1969 Harlem Music Festival, an event that featured more than 100,000 attendees one year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, this film elevates the musical talent of the festival’s performers and remains as relevant today, more than 50 years later, as it was then.

Partners
Radical Media, Concordia Studios, Play/Action, Harlem 69

"Ballet Now"

“Ballet Now” is a feature-length documentary that provides an unfiltered glimpse into the world of ballet. The film spotlights Tiler Peck, a prima ballerina at the New York City Ballet. She’s the first woman ever to be asked to curate the famed BalletNOW program. Peck and her diverse cast of dancers from around the world make this movie come to life as it documents her efforts to execute her groundbreaking vision.
 

Partners
Stick Figure Productions

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“Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of an Orchestra”

This upcoming, 25-minute film will premiere with live orchestral accompaniment at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and others. By combining live-action and animation, it takes audiences directly inside the instruments of the orchestra to see how they work, raising awareness of the power of symphony music, and promoting arts and music education.                 
 

Partners
Mason BatesJim Capobianco, Gary Rydstrom

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