12th Avenue Arts

Community Roots Housing Foundation

Funding Received: 2013
Seattle, WA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 13, 2014

By Amy Allsopp

This spring, Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) focused our annual community forum on launching a Capitol Hill Arts district. We brought in arts leaders from the community and Greg Esser from Roosevelt Row Artists District in Phoenix to discuss what’s needed from an arts district.

So much development in Capitol Hill is happening now, or in the next 12 months, that it’s too late to influence the design and program of those spaces. How do we ensure that the next wave of development considers arts uses in the buildings?

Recent Wins
The forum showed that the city and the neighborhood are firmly behind the idea of an arts district. Seattle City Council member Nick Licata stated his strong support for creating the arts district, and Matthew Richter from the city’s Office of Arts & Culture talked about community. More than 100 texts or emails were sent in from community members, and virtually all were supportive of the idea of the Capitol Hill Arts District.

While Phoenix has very different challenges from Seattle, the example of Roosevelt Row is relevant to CHH’s work. Like CHH, the Phoenix organization is a Community Development Corporation that works to preserve culture in the neighborhood. Roosevelt Row has been focused on this for 15 years. Their strategies include engaging small businesses in the arts conversation, considering tax incentives for artist-owner occupied structures, sales tax exemptions for one-of-a-kind artwork, and working with a business improvement district. This is all relevant experience as we build the Capitol Hill Arts District.