Find Posts By Topic


Multi-Year Initiative Shares the Inspiration of Music to Spark Joy,
Alleviate Trauma and Connect Individuals with their Creativity

The Office of Arts & Culture is proud to recognize and support the Seattle Symphony’s multi-year initiative, Simple Gifts, that will share the inspiration of music to spark joy, alleviate trauma and connect individuals with their creativity through artistic projects, residencies and access to performances. “Simple Gifts” refers to the simple dignity, joy and hope that music and the creative process can bring to others, and the inspiration the Seattle Symphony hopes to bring to all members of its community.1516_Misc_SimpleGiftsLuncheon_Holt-080

The program is an expansion of the Symphony’s current partnerships serving those experiencing homelessness and is a response to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine’s declaration of a State of Emergency for Seattle and King County’s homelessness crisis last November. The Seattle Symphony began working with those experiencing homelessness in 2013.

“Our city is experiencing a homelessness crisis which is profound in its complexity. This is a problem that impacts 10,000 people in King County on any given day*. We have a unique opportunity to build on the work we already do in the community to create a sense of belonging, provide respite, give hope and share the healing power of music with those in need,” said Simon Woods, the Seattle Symphony President & CEO, Leslie Jackson Chihuly Chair. “We hear from our partners that what we do makes an enormous difference to their clients. We believe, as they do, that engaging in creative work makes the ‘invisible’ visible, it builds confidence, influences self-perceptions and connects people to their own creativity.”

1516_Misc_SimpleGiftsLuncheon_Holt-091How an orchestra can address homelessness:

  • Music is a universal force for inspiration and wellbeing
  • Creative thinking around a work of art leads to creative problem-solving in other areas
  • Having a safe environment can create a sense of stability, when so many other aspects of life feel overwhelming
  • Shared experiences bridge gaps between people from different backgrounds and build deeper, authentic connections

Simple Gifts encompasses four areas of work: Artistic Partnerships, Residency Programs, Ticketing Programs and Community Service Projects.

Artistic partnerships deeply engage participants in self-expression and the creation of art.• Creativity Connects Project: Holiday Symphony (Winter 2017 with performance in February)

  • Lullaby Project (annual project with Mary’s Place culminating with performance in May)
  • Path with Art Community Composition (Fall/Winter 2016–2017 with performance in March)

Strategic residencies are a regular and consistent presence where Teaching Artists support specific partner goals.

  • Mary’s Place Musical Storytime (Monthly since 2013)
  • Plymouth Housing Group Composition Project (6-week summer residency, new in summer 2016)
  • Prospect Enrichment Preschool Musical Storytime (Monthly since 2014)

Since the Community Connections program began in 2010, over 6,000 tickets have been given free to community members who would not otherwise be able to experience symphonic music.

Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall musicians, board, staff and volunteers are in the planning stages for a series of collective service projects serving those experiencing homelessness in our community during the 2016–2017 season.

For more information visit the Seattle Symphony Simple Gifts site.

(* source: All Home King County:

Images courtesy Seattle Symphony