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It’s our 40th birthday!

On this date, June 1, in 1971 city leaders signed legislation to form the Seattle Arts Commission – now known as the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. It was the middle of another dismal recession, but that didn’t dampen the City Council and then Mayor Wes Uhlman’s belief that the arts would boost people’s spirits, enrich urban life and propel Seattle to the leading-edge creative city it is today.

In honor of our agency’s 40th anniversary Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle City Council issued a joint proclamation at yesterday’s Council meeting proclaiming June 2011 Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and Seattle Arts Commission month and recognizing this milestone as “a celebration of the extraordinary creative community that has been shaping Seattle for many years.”

Watch the presentation here.

We’ve come a long way since 1971 when the agency started with a $22,500 budget, one paid staff position and office space at Seattle Center. Check out our website for a chronology of milestones and highlights spanning the last 40 years. Here’s to another 40!

Image: Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Seattle Arts Commission Chair Randy Engstrom, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs Director Vincent Kitch and City Councilmember Nick Licata (Council sponsor of the proclamation) at the May 31 Seattle City Council meeting where the proclamation was presented.