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Building Racial Justice Through the Arts

Today ArtsFund and our partners are excited to announce $200,000 in grants to 14 King County organizations using arts and cultural strategies to build racial justice.

The new Creative Equity Fund, a collaborative initiative administered by Seattle Foundation, provides either project-based or general operating support to nonprofits with a wide array of approaches to addressing structural racism through their programming. This includes nonprofits working in the areas of housing and homelessness, criminal justice, arts education, reproductive health, public policy and food security. All are using arts and culture strategies to create empathy, transcend divisions, model policy and process innovations, and engage the community in collective change.

A cross sector group of community members, all people of color from the Greater Seattle region with arts and culture experience, co-designed the Creative Equity Fund and all of its facets. Funders worked to build racial equity through direct investments and by taking direction from those who are most impacted by structural racism. The grantees were selected from 75 applicants, and were decided by an intergenerational panel of community members of color with professional experience in the arts and culture field. In an effort to lessen the power imbalances that often exist in philanthropy, funders did not have a vote.

The 2018 Creative Equity Fund grantees are:

21 Progress
Arts Corps
Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas
Chief Seattle Club
Creative Justice
Hip Hop is Green
Indigenous Showcase
International Capoeira Angola Foundation (ICAF Seattle)
Northwest African American Museum
Northwest Tap Connection
Surge Reproductive Justice
Studio Lazo
Totem Star
Wing Luke Memorial Foundation

These organizations have big plans for building community and promoting social change with their grants.

Totem Star will help fund its music recording program, which empowers youth of color through music production and performance that in turn teaches life skills, leadership and civic engagement. The program provides critical arts access and entrepreneurship to youth from under-served communities.

Hip Hop is Green, which connects hip hop to the environment, will use its grant to increase connections for youth and families of color to healthy food, fitness, gardening and nature. The group produces cultural and educational events and programming that increases health and wellness in communities with less access to healthy food.

Surge Reproductive Justice will use the funds to support their open-mic nights, which lift up the experiences of black and brown women who are addressing the systemic barriers communities of color often face related to reproductive health care. Through this storytelling, Surge will strengthen its policy change initiatives aimed to improve reproductive health within communities of color.

The Creative Equity Fund is administered by Seattle Foundation and was developed initially through a collaboration with ArtsFund and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, with support from Macklemore.  Additional leadership and financial support comes from The Boeing Company, Microsoft and the Nesholm Family Foundation.

ArtsFund looks forward to the continued growth of this partnership moving forward. In October we raised over $10,000 to support the second year of the through HEART BEAT, a public fundraiser at Fremont Foundry. The event was hosted by the ArtsFund Visionaries young professionals donor network,  and featured a pop-up art installation by Amplifier, music, dancing, food trucks, and drinks.

To learn more about the Creative Equity fund, visit the Seattle Foundation’s website or read the press release.

Photo: Arts Corps, Hula Class 2017, photo by Amy Pinon.