We’ve just announced 20 recipients of the Arts Mean Business program created this year to fund jobs crucial to the implementation of sustainable revenue strategies for Seattle arts, cultural and heritage organizations. The program will provide more than $260,000 in one-time funds for positions that can generate extra revenue to carry out the missions of the organizations. Organizations were eligible for varying levels of funding based on their annual budget. All 20 positions are funded at their full requested amounts.
“We are hopeful that by funding these projects in the short term, organizations will be able to develop long-term revenue solutions,” said Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs interim director Randy Engstrom. “I’m encouraged by the diversity in the funded partners – from established organizations to up-and-coming groups – there’s a real range that showcases Seattle’s cultural vibrancy.”
“This is a life-changer for me. This means that I get to be our first paid employee and actually make a living at this organization instead of volunteering my time 30 to 40 hours per week,” said Betty Jean Williamson, who will become the new director for ROCKiT Community Arts, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities to create and experience art and music in the Beacon Hill area.
Funded positions range in focus and strategic level. Arts Corp will receive $10,000 to create a position for a program and social justice training coordinator to institute a development series focused on the arts and social justice, while Gage Academy of Art will receive $24,950 to develop art curricula for students of all ages and a summer educator workshop program through a new education specialist position. Sanctuary Art Center (a first-time funded partner) will receive $10,000 to manage their print shop and retail space through a new print manager position, and Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra will develop and implement a new jazz composition contest with their grant of $4,600.
Realizing that their current programs are not at capacity, a number of organizations are funding outreach and marketing positions to promote existing programs to greater audiences. These groups include Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Theatre Off Jackson, Ripple Productions, and Center on Contemporary Art.
Organizations were selected based on their application’s mission-based impact, organizational soundness and feasibility, innovation and entrepreneurship. Five of the 20 grant recipients are first-time funded partners. The organizations are dispersed across the city.