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Office of Arts & Culture releases report to Create, Activate, and Preserve Cultural Space in Seattle

Report unveils ideas to strengthen Seattle’s cultural community


SEATTLE (June 8, 2017) — The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) in partnership with over 40 organizations, city departments and individuals created The CAP Report, 30 ideas and recommendations for the creation, activation, and preservation of cultural space. Advancing the city’s agenda of housing affordability and livability, The CAP Report seeks to define opportunities to increase cultural space, equitably support creative innovation, strengthen neighborhoods and preserve the culturally rich traditions of the city.

“The arts are a vital component of the “Livability” in HALA’s policy mandate,” says Mayor Murray. “Our mission to be an affordable, and therefore inclusive and equitable city, must emphasize the thriving arts culture that defines our community.”

Included in the report’s seven areas of exploration are certifying cultural space, potential code changes, recommendations for the permitting process, and interdepartmental collaboration for technical assistance. All seven areas of action explore ideas that the City, developers and organizations could utilize to create, activate, and preserve cultural space.

The CAP Report is an inspirational document and serves as a roadmap for the Office of Arts & Culture’s Cultural Space Program. The City is dedicated to exploring new ways to support the cultural vitality of the community including a number of ideas from the report. Several of the ideas generated in the report are a result of community outreach and will be explored by the City for feasibility.

Certify Cultural Space: In the same vein as LEED certified buildings, there could be an innovative program that certifies buildings and individual specialists who create or preserve cultural space. The program could increase cultural space in development projects, strengthen neighborhood ties to businesses and preserve the culture and heritage of the community.

Potential Code Changes: There are a number of opportunities to encourage the creation of cultural space in new and existing buildings with changes to the city’s building code. These changes could result in protecting arts and cultural venues who are vulnerable to development driven displacement and increase their viability.

Permitting Process recommendations: Streamline and possibly subsidize the permitting process for cultural space, removing barriers to small, locally owned businesses.

Technical assistance collaboration: ARTS is working on a series of technical tools to help developers interested in creating or incorporating cultural space. In addition ARTS is working with other city departments and community groups to provide resources to promote space making.

Image credit Joe Iano