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County Council approves method to assist small art and culture organizations


Unanimous support for Equity Grants Implementation Plan


The Metropolitan King County Council has received the blueprint for providing underserved communities with the opportunity to receive funding from King County for arts and cultural programs and preservation.

“I initiated this motion because there are underserved communities throughout King County that now will have an opportunity to be part of the rich arts and cultural mix that makes Martin Luther King County special,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the motion. “This plan will give both individuals and organizations that might have been missed in the past because of their size a chance to compete for grants. To really integrate equity and social justice into all our decision making, we must revise how we do business in all phases so everyone will truly benefit from efforts they also contributed to.”

In July 2015, the Council gave its unanimous support to the adoption of the Building for Culture program, which uses bonds backed by the hotel-motel tax to build, maintain, expand, preserve, and improve new and existing cultural facilities. Building for Culture is a partnership between King County and 4Culture (King County’s cultural services agency).

Last November, when the Council approved legislation identifying the recipients of the Building for Culture funds, it also adopted a motion calling on the County and 4Culture to collaborate in the development of and arts, preservation and cultural equity program to “promote ‘one county’ and equity and social justice goals,” and called on 4Culture to hold $1million in Building for Culture funds in reserve for implementing the program.

The motion adopted by the Council acknowledges receiving the plan developed by 4Culture, which is designed to be a competitive grant program, with awards of up to $25,000 to groups and $10,000 to individuals. To qualify for the grants, groups or individuals must show:

• Strong demonstration of arts and cultural contributions to the community, with work rooted in communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, English language learners, people with low incomes, and those who are differently-abled;
• Clear understanding that this support will provide an opportunity for organizational growth or make a lasting impact on the organizations ability to serve the community;
• Priority given to groups serving communities outside the City of Seattle or in Seattle neighborhoods traditionally under-represented in 4Culture funding.
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