Capitol Hill Arts District

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Join me and Mayor Murray this Saturday morning when we announce Seattle’s first arts district – Capitol Hill! The launch takes place at 11 a.m. November 15th, at Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.

Cap_Hill__Arts__District logoAlso speaking will be Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom and Seattle Arts Commission Chair and Capitol Hill Housing Foundation director Michael Seiwerath. Artist Amanda Manitach will unveil a group artwork. And arts and culture locations on Capitol Hill will host open houses in the early afternoon.

This has been a long time coming. It was 5 years ago that the Council and Mayor received recommendations to establish an arts district. And while the district being inaugurated Saturday will not have them, I intend to work with our arts office to institute mechanisms that can provide affordable artist housing and Cap Hill muralstudio/performance space.

Here is the press release from the Office of Arts & Culture:

Five years ago, a group of citizens was appointed by City Council to study the issue of cultural space. In June 2009, the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee presented their report to City Council, which was officially adopted with City Council Resolution 31155. One of the report’s top-level recommendations was the creation of an Arts & Cultural Districts program.

Following this resolution, and more current research and outreach, including a survey, forums and community event, Capitol Hill has been named Seattle’s first Arts District, as part of the City of Seattle’s new Arts & Cultural Districts program. Capitol Hill was selected because of its density of artists and arts organizations.

Hugo House building circa 1910

Hugo House building circa 1910

Capitol Hill, and future Cultural Districts, will have access to the new Creative Placemaking Toolkit, a suite of tools designed for increased walkability, stronger arts marketing, improved cultural wayfinding, and to preserve and expand arts and cultural spaces. This Toolkit was developed following the award of $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program. The City will pilot the Toolkit in Capitol Hill, and will continue to add Districts over the coming years as the program expands city-wide.

The Toolkit includes programs and resources for right-of-way identifiers, wayfinding, busking and plein air painting, art historic markers, pop-up activation, and parklets. As the program tests and develops these tools, they will evolve, change and grow. Ultimately the toolkit will support artists, art-spaces, and neighborhoods in maintaining and investing in their cultural assets.

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