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Seattle Office of Arts & Culture invests $400,000 in Street Art

Seven arts organizations awarded funding for Spatial Justice through Street Art  

This summer the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) launches the Spatial Justice through Street Art as its first project under Mayor Harrell’s exciting Many Hands Art Initiative. ARTS in partnership with the Seattle Office of Economic Development is awarding $400,000 to fund seven arts organizations to create street murals across the city that reflect our city-wide values of creativity, and belonging through arts. 

“Seattle has always been known for its world-class arts scene, and we are tapping into our artists and creative organizations to help us envision our city as a canvas where arts are present in every community, starting with our streetscapes. Our Many Hands Art Initiative recognizes that public art is a powerful tool for expression and can also be an effective deterrent for unwanted graffiti and tagging which harms our communities. This new investment in street art will channel creative energy into a positive outlet, building new opportunities for local artists and visionaries to make public art that reflects our city’s values while also adding vibrancy and character to our neighborhoods.”     

Mayor Harrell

Murals will be created across the city including Ballard/Interbay, Bitter Lake, Downtown Seattle, Rainier Beach, and SODO. Spatial Justice through Street Art seeks to create new public artworks, provide funding opportunities for creative workers and encourage youth voices in the program to explore and create street art. The selected organizations will create 2D works, foster community among street artists, and create equitable and collaborative spaces to nurture emerging voices. 

“Art is one of the most powerful ways to express human emotions and experience. It’s also an important sector in our economy, and foundational to upholding the vibrancy, creativity, and innovative spirit of Seattle. We are proud to make this investment to support local artists. I am also looking forward to seeing the fabulous murals across the City that will activate public space, spark ideas and conversation, and make our City more colorful.” 

Markham McIntyre, Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development

Under the Office of Arts & Culture direction, Spatial Justice through Street Art will engage with artists, businesses, volunteers, and others to activate spaces with art, mitigating and preventing graffiti. Approaching increased graffiti activity through a spatial justice lens means creating opportunities for these new voices – as street artists –to work with community and create new visuals – murals throughout the city upon agreed sites.  

Spatial Justice Street Art Awardees are: 

$60,000, 206 Universal: 206 Universal will partner with SCIDpda to install street art on their new affordable housing building. 206 Zulu’s Off the Wall program has held street art events over the last decade at this project site (on the now demolished building), following a legacy of urban art at this address since the 1970s.  

$60,000, Arte De Cruz: Arte De Cruz will create a Street Artist Development Program with artists. Workshops, events and art shows will be held at the Bemis Building in SODO with a main collaborative project of five indoor public murals themed with spatial and social justice issues and our human experience commonality. 

$50,000, By Any Means Productions: By Any Means Production will lead a workshop, learning the history of graffiti art and the role it has played through time as a platform of expression for marginalized communities. Murals will be created on wood panels.   

$60,000, Coyote Central: Coyote Central will partner with Future Arts, resulting in an anchored 2D mural with augmented reality elements. Youth will work side-by-side with mentors to design the 2D mural and program the animation behind each code. Mural will be created digitally and printed on vinyl. 

$50,000, Seattle Artist Coalition for Equitable Development: The Seattle Artist Coalition for Equitable Development will create a mural led by an artist apprentice who will work with creatives, volunteers and engage community partners.  

$60,000, Urban ArtWorks: Urban Artworks will produce three Mural Apprentice Program (MAP) sessions over the spring, summer, and fall of 2023, resulting in three new public artworks at multiple geographic locations. 

$60,000, VIVID MATTER COLLECTIVE (VMC): VMC Skill Shop will provide a series of workshop modules for youth participants, culminating in a showcase. Participants will explore and produce murals, as well as streetwear and customized sneakers. 

Spatial Justice through Street Art was created by the Office of Arts & Culture as an avenue for artists to play a critical role in the healing fabric of our city. Art in the public realm engages our imagination, inspires us, changes us, and builds on the work of recovery, resilience, and renewal. Designing and funding programs for artists that benefit our community is fundamental to sustaining the health and vitality of the city.