Arts Office Wins NEA Cultural Space $

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Another sign that Seattle’s support for artists is catching up with demand is the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (the Office) award of $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – an Our Town grant to support cultural space work in 2015 and 2016.

The grant will help develop the Office’s Cultural Space Toolkit, which will be available to neighborhoods throughout the city by end of this year.

nea_logoWhy empower neighborhoods with art-making tools? Because almost all neighborhood plans request arts projects to help them activate, sustain and improve their communities and not all those requests can be met.

The Toolkit will invite neighborhoods to request programs such as pop-up space activations, wayfinding, parklets, historic markers, pole banners and busking programs – all part of the Office’s “Cultural Space Agency” strategy for placemaking and neighborhood engagement. The intent of such programming is to improve walkability, marketing, right-of-way improvements, wayfinding, and preservation while fostering a higher concentration of arts projects in Seattle that can best support artists, art spaces and cultural vibrancy.

The Office’s Cultural Space Liaison, Matthew Richter, notes that the award confirms how the arts can drive economic development as well as neighborhood improvement.

The award is quite competitive. Out of 275 applications, the NEA awarded only 66 grants totaling $5.073 million in 38 states. The four-year old program’s awards have ranged from $25,000 to $200,000.

For a complete listing of projects awarded by Our Town, please visit

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