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Top 10 highlights from 2013

Wow! As we reflect back on the last year, it’s clear our Office has been busy. We’ve celebrated a number of milestones and launched quite a few new initiatives. We had to make some hard choices to get our list down to just 10 – let us know about your top arts and culture moments of 2013 in the comments.

On that note, here we go!


10. Launched The Creative Advantage, a partnership with the school district and The Seattle Foundation, to provide access to arts education for all Seattle students. Our first investments have been in the Central District this fall, where, for the first time in nearly 40 years, K-2nd graders are all singing in music classes.

9. The Pike-Pine Corridor was named one of America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces, communities that successfully combine the arts, artists, and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods.


8. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute presented the 10th annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival with a record 50+ films screened, and presented the world premiere of Hello Darlin’s: Mom’s got Something to Tell You! to critical acclaim.

7. Launched a free public art app called STQRY (pronounced “story”) to allow people to find new works of art near them and learn more about the artworks than plaques are often able to convey.

6. Produced the 11th annual Mayor’s Arts Awards with a record number of public nominations and record attendance. Six Mayor’s Arts Award recipients were selected: 826 Seattle, Barbara Earl Thomas, Frye Art Museum, Pongo Teen Writing Project, Preston Singletary, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Square Feet Summit November 2013-23

5. Presented the first of many forums on cultural districts called Square Feet 2013 which attracted 135 attendees, examining issues confronting the creation and support of cultural space in Seattle.

4. Launched a new two-part information series, called ARTISTS UP, for Latina/o artists featuring information, resources and contacts to help artists better access funding opportunities.

SODO_CutsandHides_Barcode-small-300x1783. Celebrated the 40th anniversary of the public art program (check out works from the collection that we highlighted here). This year also saw two public artworks (SODO by merge conceptual design, and Art Interruptions, a new temporary art program) named in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 Year in Review, the only national program recognizing projects of excellence in public art.

2. Increased Cultural Facilities grants by $100,000 from 2012, and launched the Work Readiness Arts Program in collaboration with the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative to provide programming that links arts learning and work experiences for Seattle youth ages 14 to 18.

Randy Engstrom

1. And our number one highlight of 2013: Our director, Randy Engstrom, was confirmed, which provided the means to accomplish all we did in 2013!

It’s been a great year, and we’re eagerly looking forward to 2014 and all the new adventures it will bring. Thanks for being part of our amazing arts and culture community in Seattle – we are continually inspired by the work you do.

Cheers, and happy New Year!

Calandra Childers, communications manager


Superintendent Jose Banda assists with an art lesson at John Muir Elementary School

Josephine Howell wowed audiences with her portrayal of the venerable ‘Moms’ Mabley

Attendees discuss Seattle’s cultural space landscape at ‘Square Feet 2013’

SODO by Santa Monica, Calif.-artist team merge conceptual design is a vast visual narrative that catalogues more than 200 years of SoDo’s history.

Randy Engstrom, leading the charge on #MakingArtWork (our new tagline, launched in 2013)