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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Council approves Executive's historic proposal to invest $28 million in 100 regional cultural facilities

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed legislation to enact "Building for Culture," the largest one-time investment King County has made to build new cultural facilities, as well as expand, preserve, and improve existing ones. More than 100 arts and cultural organizations will share $28 million in capital improvement grant funds financed by bonds backed by a portion of the County's hotel/motel tax revenues.

Story

Building for Culture - King County

Degenerate Art Encemble at On The Boards. Photo by Bruce Clayton Tom.

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed his proposal, approved by the King County Council, to make an historic investment of $28.4 million in capital improvement grants to 100 cultural facilities and projects across the County.

"I proposed 'Building for Culture' to leverage lodging taxes paid by visitors, and reinvest them in the bricks and mortar of museums, theaters, and heritage sites so we can continue to attract more visitors and locals alike," said Executive Constantine. "What's special is the depth and breadth of these investments—youth and ethnic heritage centers; the historic theaters of downtown Seattle and new cultural destinations countywide; and landmarks and treasured historic buildings."

"A vibrant arts and cultural community is a hallmark of King County, something we are well known for nationally. The arts generate significant economic activity, provide a high quality of life for residents, inspire learning opportunities for youth, and attracts tourists," said Council Chair Larry Phillips. "Through support of our arts and heritage organizations, we recognize the important role that these cultural experiences have in strengthening communities and developing young minds."

Building for Culture is a one-time expansion of 4Culture's annual facilities grant program, and will go to build new cultural facilities as well as expand, preserve and improve existing ones, as well as protecting landmarks and historic places. The $28.4 million in grants are financed by bonds backed by a portion of the County's lodging tax paid by visitors.

During the last recession, major upgrades or replacement of the region's arts and heritage infrastructure were put on hold as organizations focused on meeting operating costs.

Building for Culture is unique in its depth and breadth of financial support:

4Culture Logo
  • Investing for Youth: $1,631,500
    Providing the resources needed to develop the audiences, performers and arts enthusiasts for future generations: Bellevue Youth Theatre, Coyote Central, Evergreen City Ballet, KidsQuest Children's Museum, Music Works Northwest, Pacific Northwest Ballet Bellevue School, and Seattle Children's Theatre.
  • Investing in New Cultural Destinations: $8,697,500
    Completion of longstanding building projects to provide performance and community spaces, as well as spaces for expanded education programming and new interpretive parks: Burke Museum, Center for Wooden Boats, Duvall Foundation for the Arts, Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle, Freehold Theatre Lab Studio, Holocaust Center for Humanity, Jimi Hendrix Park, KidsQuest Children's Museum, Friends of KEXP, Mini-Mart City Park, Museum of Flight Aviation Pavilion, Nordic Heritage Museum, Northwest Railway Museum Education Center, Performing Arts Center Eastside, Shoreline Historical Museum, Vashon Allied Arts Center for the Arts, and Washington State Jewish Historical Society.
  • Investing in South King County: $4,673,844
    Funding for new infrastructure in a region that has traditionally had less access to resources: Auburn Masonic Temple, Auburn Arts Center, Carco Theatre, Covenant Beach Lodge in Des Moines, Duwamish Hill in Tukwila, Enumclaw Expo and Event Center, Evergreen City Ballet, Highline Historical Society, Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center, Moshier Arts Center in Burien, Museum of Flight, Renton Historical Society, Sea Mar Museum of Latino History and Cultural Center, and White River Valley Museum.
  • Investing in Historic Theatres: $3,006,137
    Replacing failing heating and cooling systems, revamping elevators that no longer work, and restoring historic features of heavily-used community spaces: The Fifth Avenue Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), On the Boards, The Paramount Theater, Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theater, Town Hall Seattle, and Washington Hall.
  • Saving Landmarks: $2,000,000
    34 projects dedicated to the rehabilitation or acquisition of landmark properties. Highlights include seismic retrofits and repairs to unreinforced masonry buildings in Seattle's International District; rehab of suburban Community Halls that serve as gathering places in Shoreline, Kenmore, Skykomish, and Tukwila; and substantial safety repairs at the Georgetown Steam Plant, a nationally-significant industrial landmark.

"Building for Culture is a game changer. It will make possible the completion of new cultural destinations throughout the County, beginning or accelerating construction for projects that have been in the planning stages for many years," said Alka Badshah, President of the 4Culture Board of Directors.

All proposals were reviewed by peer panels that made funding recommendations based on the quality, feasibility, and impact of the project. Panel recommendations were approved by the 4Culture Board and the King County Council.


Quotes

I proposed Building for Culture to leverage lodging taxes paid by visitors, and reinvest them in the bricks and mortar of museums, theaters, and heritage sites so we can continue to attract more visitors and locals alike. What's special is the depth and breadth of these investments—youth and ethnic heritage centers; the historic theatres of downtown Seattle and new cultural destinations countywide; landmarks and treasured historic buildings.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

A vibrant arts and cultural community is a hallmark of King County, something we are well known for nationally. The arts generate significant economic activity, provide a high quality of life for residents, inspire learning opportunities for youth, and attracts tourists. Through support of our arts and heritage organizations, we recognize the important role that these cultural experiences have in strengthening communities and developing young minds.

Larry Phillips, King County Council Chair

Building for Culture is a game changer. It will make possible the completion of new cultural destinations throughout the County, beginning or accelerating construction for projects that have been in the planning stages for many years.

Alka Badshah, President, 4Culture Board of Directors

There are hundreds of diverse cultural communities in King County and each has an important story to tell. The Building for Culture program will allow organizations in all parts of the county and of all sizes to preserve, improve or build facilities, and better share their unique stories with the larger community.

Dave Upthegrove, King County Councilmember

Our commitment to sound financial policies has resulted in a surplus by paying off the Kingdome debt early. Countywide, and on the Eastside, this partnership with 4Culture is supporting significant investment in local arts, cultural and historic preservation projects such as the Bellevue Youth Theater, KidsQuest Museum, Kirkland Arts Center and Performance Arts Center Eastside, among others.

Jane Hague, King County Council Vice Chair

From Vashon to downtown Seattle and far beyond, this measure makes capital investments that will enrich arts and culture countywide. The projects selected represent the diverse artistic and cultural heritage in our region, and will help promote and preserve that heritage for generations to come.

Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember

We took action on a legislative opportunity to enhance and bring more cultural opportunities to the county using hotel-motel taxes. With these funds, each district will fund worthy organizations that will receive support. It will be fun to see these projects come to fruition and historical buildings be restored. I'm especially gratified by the resurrection of the Barn Again program from 2008. This program has done so much to preserve many of the iconic barns in rural King County. I'm very happy that it will now be able to do so much more to continue this preservation of an important part of our past and our culture.

Kathy Lambert, King County Councilmember

This investment will not only improve the quality of life for the residents of the region but it will also help to preserve and add to our county's rich heritage and culture.

Reagan Dunn, King County Councilmember

For more information

Frank Abe, Executive Office, 206-263-9609
Al Sanders, King County Council, 206-477-1016
Christina DePaolo, 4Culture, 206-263-1588


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography