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Mayor Murray Announces new cultural district in Uptown

Uptown becomes City’s newest Arts & Cultural District


SEATTLE (July 12, 2017) — Mayor Murray announced the Uptown Arts and Cultural District as the third neighborhood to be named a designated Arts & Cultural District. Uptown is one of Seattle’s most important cultural destinations with over 30 arts, cultural and educational organizations on the 74-acre Seattle Center campus and surrounding neighborhood cultural institutions, restaurants and retail. The Arts District designation recognizes the culturally rich neighborhood and seeks to enhance its character.

“Arts and cultural institutions define Uptown, from The Vera Project, and Seattle Opera, to On the Boards and Uptown Cinema, it is one of our City’s premier destinations,” said Mayor Murray. “This designation honors Uptown’s vibrancy, and seeks to keep the art and artists who make this neighborhood at the forefront of our work.”

“We are thrilled to be recognized as an official Arts & Cultural District,” says Cyrus Despres, co-chair and president of the Uptown Arts & Culture Coalition. “Uptown is experiencing the same growing pains as the rest of Seattle, and we are committed to enhancing our cultural experiences and evolving our identity as a welcoming home for the arts in Seattle.”

The Uptown Arts and Cultural District advocates for Uptown and is dedicated to the neighborhood’s continuing evolution as a vibrant and inclusive cultural center. The group has committed itself to:

  • integration across the geography of Uptown from Seattle Center to the Heart of Uptown and beyond;
  • a commitment to racial and social equity;
  • activation of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration;
  • development and measurement of our creative economy.

The arts district designation includes access to the Creative Placemaking Toolkit, a suite of tools designed to preserve, strengthen, and expand arts and cultural spaces. The district will have access to $50,000 to be used towards the toolkit’s programs and resources for right-of-way identifiers, wayfinding, busking and plein air painting, art historic markers, pop-up activations, and parklets. The toolkit was designed to support artists, art-spaces, and neighborhoods in maintaining and investing in their cultural assets.

Since the 1962 World’s Fair, Uptown has been a hub of Seattle arts and culture, drawing audiences and performers locally, national and internationally. Uptown offers the largest concentration of diverse arts and cultural organizations that range from independent artists, to internationally renowned classical arts, to innovative theater and visual arts, to ethnic festivals from around the world, to major music concerts. Uptown is a stage to celebrate the international diversity that is represented throughout Puget Sound. People come to the neighborhood to share the richness of music, dance, art and food found around the world.


Arts & Cultural Districts
The creation of Arts & Cultural District program stems from the recommendations of the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee’s June 2009 report, which was accepted and endorsed by Seattle City Council with Resolution 31155 in August 2009. City Council found that a district plan benefits the city because arts and cultural activities serve as a major economic engine for Seattle, and provide an invaluable quality of life that other activities cannot duplicate. The program launched in November of 2014 with the adoption of City Council Resolution 31555 and the creation of the Capitol Hill Arts District.