12th Avenue Arts

Community Roots Housing Foundation

Funding Received: 2013
Seattle, WA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 11, 2013

 Anne Gadwa Nicodemus speaks on national examples of cultural districts; photo by Jennifer Crooks

Recently, more people have been calling for the creation of a cultural district on Capitol Hill. The nightlife community has never been stronger, but we want to ensure that Pike/Pine remains known as an arts destination.

The vision is fairly straightforward: Provide neighborhoods with a set of tools to create and preserve arts uses in a dense, concentrated commercial district. Common tools could be banners and signs to mark the district, developer’s tools for space creation and preservation, and pop-up space activation.

Recent Wins
November’s Square Feet Summit proved to be an excellent forum to push the cultural district idea forward. Taking place at three local arts venues, this was a full day of conversations about arts space in Seattle. A highlight was the keynote talk by creative placemaking expert Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, who gave an overview of how cultural districts are used nationally. Surprisingly many districts are authorized by state governments and are happening throughout the nation.

In Seattle the conversation has focused on city-level changes. It was very helpful to have Nicodemus’ perspective on what we are working to accomplish in Seattle.

Insight / Provocation
One of Capitol Hill’s arts groups is considering leaving the neighborhood because of the challenges created by a denser, more active district. How do we balance arts and nightlife uses with the need for daytime uses, affordable rents and parking options?