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Friends of Waterfront Seattle and Seattle’s Office of The Waterfront & Civic Projects Announces Artist in Residency Program Selection and Summer Launch of $100,000 Call for Artists

Friends of Waterfront Seattle (Friends) and the City of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects (OWCP) have selected their Future Forward: Artist-In-Residency: Takiyah Ward. Born and raised in Seattle, Ward is artistically known as T-DUB Customs.

Photo of Takiyah Ward by M.T. Perkins

Launched as a rapid response plan to provide immediate virtual opportunities for local artists, creatives, and makers, the artist residency supports the long-term health of the future waterfront park and will develop virtual art opportunities to activate the waterfront with temporary art installations.

Working with partners, Ward will lead a process that incorporates elements of the Seattle Waterfront Art Plan as inspiration to develop a program to award $100,000 in funding to local artists. This funding was made available by Friends and OWCP projects in support of the Seattle Together initiative, a partnership among the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Arts & Culture, Office of Economic Development, Seattle Public Library, and the Mayor’s Innovation and Performance Team coming together to build a city-wide COVID-19 community response plan.

BLM Mural, photo by Kyle Kotajarvi.

Takiyah Ward said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to bring a variety of art to the waterfront that speaks to the essence of the city, and the most vibrant parts of Seattle’s culture. To highlight the beauty of our shared story and the truth of our perseverance.” Most recently, Ward organized Vivid Matter Collective’s Black Lives Matter mural on Pine Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

This Artist-in-Residence pilot is created to be scalable over time and continue throughout the life of the park to allow artist-led projects to be a cornerstone of Friends’ waterfront park programming and ensure participation of a range of artists, especially those representing communities of color.

With Arts Consultant Vivian Phillips serving as facilitator of the Future Forward: Artist-In-Residency, the selection panel was comprised of a diverse group of working artists, arts administrators, and entrepreneurs, including Friends Board Member and Phila Engaged Giving Founder/Principal Stephanie Ellis-Smith, Seattle Art Museum Associate Director for Community Programs and Equity Team Founding Chair and Seattle Arts Commission Co-Chair Priya Frank, artist, educator, and Eighth Generation Founder Louie Gong, Seattle Center Managing Artistic Director of Cultural Programs and Hidmo/Cypher Community Volunteer Heidi Jackson, and visual artist and Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery owner Jake Prendez.

Friends of Waterfront Seattle Board Member, Stephanie Ellis-Smith said, “The selection of Takiyah Ward for the artist-in-residence program is significant in achieving our goal of creating a ‘Waterfront for All.’ Her voice and creativity illustrate our commitment to incorporating BIPOC artists and creatives at all levels and establishing their influence to make the waterfront an inclusive and welcoming place.”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friends and the City recognize the importance of participating in economic recovery for the arts community while leading strategies supporting the long-term health of Seattle’s future Waterfront Park. The residency program will embrace a process for employing a creative waterfront arts program that is artist-driven and audience-minded, inclusive and welcoming of a diversity of thought and approaches, and responsive and adaptable to changing public gathering norms. The program brings to life the significance that the arts play in our daily lives as well as in our ability to be “in community.”

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Friends of Waterfront Seattle (“Friends”) is the nonprofit partner to the City of Seattle responsible for helping to fund, build, steward, and program the park – today and into the future. In addition to raising $110M by 2024 to fund park construction, Friends will manage the programming and operations of the future Waterfront Park through a joint-delivery partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation. Friends is responsible for funding and carrying out park programming for the future park. Park construction has begun following the Viaduct’s removal and the first piece of the park — Pier 62 — is planned to open later in 2020.

The Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects is pleased to support this project that aligns with the City’s Seattle Together program, a series of initiatives responding to communities impacted during these unusual and challenging times. Future Forward: Artist In Residency will provide opportunities quickly to artists and arts groups for activation of the waterfront for the benefit of everyone. Seattle Together is a partnership of city departments that includes the city’s Office of Arts & Culture, which in turn collaborates with the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects to bring arts and culture to the waterfront.