12th Avenue Arts

Community Roots Housing Foundation

Funding Received: 2013
Seattle, WA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
November 21, 2013

Greg Carter of Black Box Operations talks about their vision of managing the theater space at 12th Avenue Arts

Could 12th Avenue Arts be a model for other cities?

In October there was a presentation about the project at the Social Theory, Politics and the Arts conference at Seattle University. At this international conference, there was a desire to explore successful local arts projects. Attendees from other cities expressed interest in 12th Avenue Arts as a model for collaboration between community developers and smaller arts organizations.

A thread of the conference was exploring the idea of neighborhood cultural districts. Distinct from mast planned arts campuses (Lincoln Center in NYC, Seattle Center locally) these are organically grown clusters of arts organizations, galleries and artists work spaces.  Similar to what’s happened on and around 12th Avenue. Some of the best thinking is coming out of Philadelphia. Building on the research of the Social Impact of the Arts Project, the city has launched Culture Blocks, a free mapping tool for making decisions about place and creativity.

Recent Wins
We did it! After two and a half years, the $4.6 Million Capital Campaign goal for 12th Avenue Arts has been reached.

The campaign achieved unprecedented support from arts organizations, small businesses and individuals. Attracted by the multi-user model, key arts funders including ArtPlace America, Washington Building for the Arts, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, 4Culture, Boeing and the City of Seattle provided more than a million dollars in contributions.

This institutional support was complemented by the score of local businesses and hundreds of individuals who invested in a community-based arts facility that will be around for decades to come.

In order to build the best possible facility, we’re continuing to raise funds beyond this formal goal.

Seattle is facing different challenges from many other American cities. A strong market, both property values and population are continuing to rise. The arts groups are in danger of getting pushed out of central Seattle.

In comparison, Philadelphia lost nearly a quarter of its population between 1960 and 1990. But now the population is once again climbing.

It will take more developments like 12th Avenue Arts to keep a place for lower income people on Capitol Hill.