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Seattle Youth Artspace Summit recap

On Friday, January 17, the Office of Arts & Culture hosted our first Seattle Youth Artspace Summit, bringing over 20 youth arts organizations to the table to discuss the idea of a shared flagship facility, large enough to house multiple groups and central enough to draw from all of the city.

Youth Space Summit January 2014-5The Office hosted the event and brought experts to the table to discuss various aspects of the project. Three presentations started the Summit off: A representative from the Ostara Group, a local  fundraising consultancy, walked the group through Capital Campaigns 101; the president of Ewing & Clark (a commercial real estate firm founded by Charles Denny in 1880) presented a half-dozen potential sites and discussed various development options; and information was shared about structuring organizational relationships from a real estate deals attorney at Mcullough Hill, the region’s largest land use law firm. They also looked into the national context for such a center (there’s really only one clear model, the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, which is why they get the URL).

Following almost an hour of these short presentations, the real work of the meeting began as the groups at the table started talking to each other. “As soon as we stopped talking at them and they started talking to one another, I swear, it sounded like music, it was inspiring,” says the summit’s convener, Cultural Space Liaison Matthew Richter. The conversation ranged from concerns about gentrification and displacement to potential inter-organizational collaboration and opportunities for social interaction between the groups’ constituents. Casual break-out conversations continued for almost an hour after the meeting’s official end.

The Office looks forward to continuing to shepherd this discussion, exploring development options, and bringing more groups to the table. If you’re a youth-oriented arts organization interested in being a part of the conversation, please email Matthew Richter at

Photo by Jenny Crooks