FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/29/2013
Councilmember Nick Licata
Randy Engstrom Confirmed as Director of City’s Arts Office
Brings Wealth of Community Organizing Skills to the Position
Seattle – Seattle City Council confirmed Randy Engstrom as permanent director of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture (Office of Arts) this afternoon. Engstrom had been serving as Interim Director since October 2012.
“It is a great honor to be confirmed as the Director of the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture,” Engstrom said. “Seattle is one of the most vibrant cities in the world – creativity is a natural resource here. I look forward to working with our partners to ensure art and culture continue to thrive in Seattle.”
Engstrom brings a strong background in community organizing for arts and culture. He was the Founding Director of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, which converted a vacant school building into a community center offering affordable access to the arts, technology and cultural resources; Co-Chaired the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee (CODAC), which provided recommendations on enhancing cultural development in Seattle; and served as Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, the volunteer advisory body for the Office of Arts.
“Every once in a while, a generational shift in leadership comes along that jumps the needle forward on the cultural dial” said Councilmember Nick Licata.” I believe Randy is that leader.”
Engstrom’s goals for the Office of Arts include facilitating increased access to affordable space for arts and culture in Seattle; partnering with agencies, funders and cultural organizations to develop a regional cultural plan; and advocating for more arts and culture to be integrated into civic development, neighborhood activation and economic development.
The Office of Arts has an approximate $7m annual budget and is involved in a number of ongoing initiatives, such as the Central Waterfront Redevelopment Project; supports local arts and cultural organizations through its Cultural Partnerships program; collaborates with the school district on implementing a K-12 arts education plan; and is responsible for implementing a transition plan for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to achieve long-term sustainability.
Mr. Engstrom currently serves as board President of the Washington Bus Education Fund. City Arts Magazine once named him “The Advocate.” He was named an Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader and was named one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 under 40” – people under the age of 40 working to drive the economy through dynamic leadership. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School and a BA in Public Administration from Evergreen State College.
Engstrom’s salary will be $105,000.