Arts & Social Change Symposium

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According to Grantmakers in the Arts, approximately 11% of annual foundation giving ($2.3 billion in 2009) goes to nonprofit arts and cultural institutions. While a majority goes to larger organizations (budgets over $5 million), only 10% of these funds explicitly benefit underserved communities, including lower-income populations, communities of color and other disadvantaged groups.

Photo: Robert Wade Photography

Those larger organizations comprise less than 2% of all arts and cultural nonprofits, receive more than half of the sector’s total revenue, focus primarily on Western European art forms and their programs serve audiences that are predominantly white and upper income.

Meanwhile, artists and cultural groups are increasingly employing the arts in diverse ways to engage and build communities, address persistent economic, educational and environmental societal problems as well as inequities in human and civil rights.

Addressing this and other social justice issues related to arts and culture is the Arts & Social Change Symposium: An Open Dialogue scheduled for October 12th & 13th at Seattle Center.

Geared toward arts administrators, artists, social service professionals, government representatives, and social justice leaders from around the Pacific Northwest, the gathering will address the role diverse arts play in creating awareness, inspiring understanding and developing policies that address cultural equity and social change.

The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, The Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Center, 4Culture, The Washington State Arts Commission and The Association of American Cultures have come together in hopes of engaging arts and social change communities from throughout the Pacific Northwest to learn how to become transformative change agents using the arts.

Symposium Goals

  • Inspiration – to inspire action and activism; to motivate for change;
  • Participation – have dialogue; make recommendations for systemic and social change;
  • Learning – to gain new awareness; to listen, participate, communicate, share, and engage;
  • Community Building – to meet, connect, and build relationships with other networks beyond the symposium.

Session Objectives

  • Offer insight in how to engage and work with diverse communities, promote “cultural listening;”
  • Provide an opportunity for local arts agencies from urban and suburban cities to share tools for working with new populations in cultural programming;
  • Provide a forum for arts organizations to meet with social justice leaders and for community groups to meet with arts leaders;
  • Develop policies for change as part of the national advocacy agenda for The Association of American Cultures.

The Symposium currently has an open call to artists for 2-D visual artwork to be exhibited during the symposium. The deadline for applying is this Friday, August 24, 2012, by 5 p.m. Art addressing social change is especially encouraged. Click here for information on how to apply.

The Arts & Social Change Symposium

Click here to register for the symposium. It costs $75 until 8/31; $100 before 10/5; and $125 at the door, if space allows.

Friday, October 12

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Evening Program 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, October 13 

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

At Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington, in the Northwest Rooms and the Playhouse/Intiman Theatre.

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