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Seattle Cultural Space Agency Applies for Official City Recognition

A biracial Black and Japanese woman stands in front of sticky butcher paper as others look on. Preservation and a lot of notes are written.
Members of Building Art Space Equitably (BASE)

For the first time in 38 years, the City is creating a new public development authority aimed at preserving our city’s cultural spaces, building community wealth, and investing in cultural communities of color.

The application for a charter for the Cultural Space Agency was filed with the City Clerk’s office and the public has until December 8 to provide comment and feedback on the proposed public development authority. The charter and comments can be found here. The proposed Cultural Space Agency has been developed through a years-long community engagement process and reflects input from multiple stakeholders. 

The purpose of the Cultural Space Agency is to develop cultural space real estate projects in a way that reflects the needs and desires of communities that have borne the burden of institutional racism; to build community wealth through investment opportunities in cultural real estate projects; and to partner with mission-driven commercial real estate developers and cultural community stakeholders and organizations to create real property projects that reflect the interests and priorities of both. 

The Cultural Space Agency is also integrated into a framework of civic recovery. For the past several months, we have been living through four crises simultaneously: the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn, a civil rights reckoning, and a climate crisis. All of these crises have exacerbated our region’s inequity and created opportunities to further consolidate wealth and property ownership for a few, leaving too many without options and access to economic prosperity. The Cultural Space Agency is designed to re-equalize these opportunities, leverage civic and philanthropic investments on behalf of equitable development strategies, and center our cultural richness as a primary strategy towards rebuilding civic health and wealth. 

A 30-day window of opportunity has opened for community feedback related to the establishment of the Cultural Space Agency. Please take a few moments to review the application, and to let the City Council know your thoughts.

  • Will this new structure be helpful to your community?
  • Is cultural space important to the development and the protection of your neighborhood?
  • What projects would you like to see supported?
  • How could your community, your neighborhood, your organization, connect to this new entity? 

Read more information about the Cultural Space Agency. To learn more about the Racial Equity Toolkit that led to the creation of the charter visit here. To learn more about the Office of Arts & Culture’s Cultural Space program that formed the basis of the Cultural Space Agency along with other arts and cultural space policies and interventions please visit here