Durkan honors Engstrom’s innovative leadership of ARTS
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the resignation of the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) Department’s Director Randy Engstrom, who will turn his attention to teaching, advocating for national cultural policies, and spending time with his family, after leading the department for eight years. Mayor Durkan announced the appointment of Interim Acting Director Calandra Childers until a successor has been appointed.
“Randy has always been such a dedicated and passionate advocate for arts in our city, and under his leadership, the City supported countless nonprofits, artists, and cultural organizations, created a new home at King Street Station and new cultural districts across the city, and supported relief for artists and nonprofits in this immensely challenging year. The Office of Arts & Culture is at the forefront of the creative economy, pushes to invest in our Black, Indigenous and People of color communities, and continues to lead one the nation’s most innovative public art programs. In the coming year, their work will be central as we commit ourselves to an equitable recovery from COVID-19 that centers our most vulnerable communities, including our workers and artists who have lost so much during COVID-19.”Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
“It has been the honor of my career to lead the Office of Arts & Culture for the past eight years. To every artist and cultural worker in Seattle and the vast, brilliant, and resilient cultural sector in our region; you are the center of all of the work we do. As our city entered the myriad of crises that defined 2020 – COVID, economic collapse, and racial justice reckoning, I am proud to be part of the Durkan administration which seeks to re-imagine the way we do our work as a government. I am humbled and hopeful that the city may co-create a more equitable, creative and sustainable city for future generations.”Randy Engstrom
In his eight years at ARTS Engstrom has overseen a number of initiatives including:
- Continuing to push established and emerging programs to reflect the City’s commitment to racial equity.
- Working to establish the Cultural Space Agency, the first cultural space affordability and anti-displacement program in the country.
- Facilitating a community informed roadmap for a more equitable creative economy, which will center Seattle’s creative and cultural community in its recovery and reimagination post COVID.
- Opening ARTS at King Street Station, a community-led exhibition space in King Street Station, opening with yəhaw’ an exhibition that featured more than 100 indigenous creatives.
- Launching and implementing The Creative Advantage, ARTS’ comprehensive partnership with Seattle Public Schools to restore arts education to every student in the District.
- Establishing ARTS as a national model on the strength of its staff, from a relentlessly innovative cultural investment team to an award-winning public art program.
Mayor Durkan announced that Calandra Childers will serve as Interim Acting Director, effective February 1, 2021. Childers, who joined ARTS in 2012, currently serves as the Deputy Director. Mayor Durkan will announce the next steps for a permanent leader of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture in 2021.
Alix Wilber says
Ah, Randy. I will always remember you sitting with your back to the puma in Vito’s Cougar Room, facing a bunch of ornery writers as we hashed out the future of Seattle, City of Literature…
Thanks for all you’ve done for Seattle and best of luck in the future!
Julia Levitt says
Randy, it’s been inspiring and fun to work with you at the City. Congratulations on all you have accomplished, and best of luck in your next endeavors. Hope to continue to see you out and about!
George Tuton says
Thank you for your tireless and professional services.
Lenore Bensinger says
Dear Randy Engstrom,
Though I haven’t seen you in too many years, I have the most profound respect for your great work at ARTS and in the city. You will surely be missed. I hope I’ll catch up with you in your new arts leadership roles.
Enjoy your family!
Cleopatra Cutler says
Congrats on your work! If you ever decide to post your lectures or other resources/updates in the future, where could one find them?
Hugh J Russell says
Thank you so much Randy for all your wonderful work and good luck in the future with your growing endeavors… Keep it to the arts!
Hugh J Russell
Phoebe Bosche says
Thank you for your leadership, caring and responsible engagement with the cultural community in Seattle. Blessings in your new endeavors–what a long year 2020 has been!
Eva M Foster says
Oh, I will miss seeing Randy Engstrom at many of Seattle’s cultural events. I especially enjoyed the out to lunch concert series that took place in the summers and introduced many local artists to me who I later saw over and over again in other venues. Thank you, Randy!
Michael Greer says
Congratulations Randy on a more than successful tenure in this office. Your leadership has been key to so much in our sector and all of us stand on the foundations of your work. Calandra speaks to depth of expertise in your office and I look forward to continuing our work with her and the rest of your amazing team. Best of luck in all your future endeavors and ArtsFund will continue to carry on your vision of an inclusive, equitable, and thriving arts and culture community in the region.
Line Sandsmark says
Thank you for your great leadership these past eight years! Our sector, and region, have benefited immensely from your influence and impact. As an SU Arts Leadership alum, I’m especially happy to see that future cohorts will benefit from your experience.
Karin Stevens says
Good luck! And great work. Sorry we never met while you have been in this role.
Juan Alonso-Rodríguez says
I wish you all the best and know you will be successful at whatever you take on next.
Michael Seiwerath says
Randy- What an impressive list of achievements. Thanks for your years of leadership! What a joy to work along side you at as Arts Commissioner, particularly on issues of cultural space and racial equity. I hope you enjoy some much earned downtime.
Tina Hoggatt says
Thank you for all you’ve done for the City and its cultural community, Randy. I’m excited for your next adventure. I know you will make a difference no matter what you do.
Randy! Thank you for elevating the work of the OAC to such high levels of excellence. Your team is a pleasure to work with. Best of luck in the future!
Dane C.Johnson says
Congratulations, Randy for taking your next step and thank you for your tireless work and relentless doggedness in the defence and support of the arts and culture community. You’ve come a long way baby in the last 20 years I lookforward to seeing what the next 20 bring.
Charlie Rathbun says
All the best to you and congratulations on a well earned respite. I hope we haven’t seen the last of you. You have left us quite a legacy.
Jerome Wright says
Many thanks for your excellent work for the City of Seattle and its arts community. I wish you every good success in your future endeavors!
Founder & Artistic Director Emeritus
Seattle Girls Choir
Mary Sherhart says
Thank you for your leadership at OAC these past 8 years. A demanding job in the best of times, your commitment and passion made a difference in these uncertain times. I wish you the best of luck as you continue to serve and grow.
Jaq Chartier says
Thank you Randy for all you’ve done for our art community & best wishes in your next chapter.
Saya Moriyasu says
Thank you for guiding that big ship in the right direction. Have a great time in your new pursuits. I hope to see you around the hood.
Jennifer Rice says
You have done amazing work. Thank you.
Blanca Santander says
Thank you dear Randy for making a positive difference. Our community is in a better place because of you. I wish you and your family the best and it would be an honor if we professionally cross paths in the future.
Keri Kellerman says
Thank you so much, Randy! I’m so grateful for your leadership and advocacy for Seattle’s amazing arts and culture community. Wishing you all the best in the next steps of your journey!
Ellen Sollod says
Randy, Best of luck in your next iteration! You get to join “former SAC-OAC director’s club.” (Anne Focke and I welcome you. Ha! Ha!). Seriously, thank you for all you have done for the City and the cultural community. Your leadership these past 8 (!) years has been terrific and I know that you will make a difference on into the future, Keep me posted on your future endeavors. All the best. Ellen
Robert Wetherington says
Thank you for all that you do to support the Arts Randy. Good luck with your future endeavors.
Elizabeth Ralston says
Randy, I am sorry we never had a chance to meet in person!! I wish you well on the next step in your journey and thank you for all the support from OAC for the Seattle Cultural Accessibility Consortium.
Connie Moffit says
Thanks for your service, Randy. You’ve always been completely wonderful to work with, and a leader to be proud of. Best of luck, and glad you’ll be staying connected.
Tatiana Garmendia says
Thank you so much for your many years of service and leadership, Randy! I remain ever grateful for all the time you dedicated to the A Life In Art documentary spot. Your voice and leadership will continue to provide guidance to future art students and BIPOC creatives who want to learn how the city supports artists and what funding/training opportunities are open to them. THANK you so much!!! I wish you the best of luck in your next adventure.
Jason Porter says
Randy, you’ve been such an important voice (of reason, inspiration, equity, and accountability) in your role at OAC. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and don’t be a stranger! All the best to you and your family and congrats on the new gig.
Laura Haddad says
Randy, Job very well done! It was a pleasure serving on the PAAC during your time, and working with you on Climate Pledge Arena. I know your “work here isn’t finished” and look forward to seeing where your next steps lead yourself, and others. Also enjoy the family time, you deserve it.
Mayumi Tsutakawa says
The trail after government arts is surprising and fun! Hope to see you along the way. mt
Susan Platt says
Wow Randy We will miss you. Your leadership has been outstanding.
Amy Snyder says
Randy, Thank you for all of your care, support, and hard work you have given to this city and Artists. We have been so lucky to have you advocating for us all. It has been wonderful to watch your rise from the Youngstown days into these last 8 years. May the future be big and bright, and hold wonder for you.
Susana (Susi) Musi says
Congratulations on your next adventure, Randy. Thank you for your leadership and passion for the arts in our community!
Claudia Bach says
Randy, much appreciation for all you’ve done during your tenure in this role. Looking forward to having you as a colleague in the Seattle University, and all the adventures ahead.
Deborah Horne says
Congratulations to you, Randy.
All the best wherever the road takes you!
Sam Trout says
Thank you Randy for all your years of helping the Seattle arts blossom and continue to grow all the while being an example to the rest of the nation!
Karen Caropepe says
Congratulations Randy. Thanks for all your hard work over the years!
Erin Shigaki says
Sending you best wishes and vibes for your future endeavors, Randy! Thanks for all you’ve done to build equity at ARTS and in our region. I am also deeply grateful for all of your support around the Bellevue white washing incidents. Be well!
Sylvia Wolf says
Randy, I have learned so much from you over the years about the big picture of the arts in our region, and you have given so much to us all. I am filled with admiration for your work and excited for this next chapter in your life’s work. With gratitude and CHEER!
Amaranta Sandys says
Muchas Gracias for all the work you did, you live by example, true to yourself and the many people, artists, educators that walked this path. Im sure we will see at events (in the future), with your beautiful familia.
Best wishes in your new chapter!
Mary Ann says
Certainly your legacy is well defined here and I add my admiration. And I can’t wait to see how your visions unfold on a national scale because if ever there was collaborative, national, groundbreaking approaches to upgrading the arts, this is it. You’ll be a memorable addition. And lucky Seattle U. Nothing but good can come from this life changing decision. to the future……..
Doreen Mitchum says
It will be odd to think of that office without you! Just let me say that I appreciate you and the many years you’ve put into building and sustaining our cultural ecosystem. I hope the coming years are rich and wonderful for you and your family.