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Crossing Borders, Supporting Community with New Funding

What do batik dying, Chinese acrobatic dance, Native youth theatre, and Japanese-American storytelling have in common? They are all art forms supported by ArtsFund’s Multicultural Arts Project. In January 2017, ArtsFund awarded a total of $60,000 in grants to twelve arts and cultural organizations as part of an ongoing commitment to increasing arts access and bringing communities together through the arts. In this spirit, a pilot funding project was created to support ethnically and culturally diverse arts organizations and programs in our community. For some organizations, receiving ArtsFund’s Multicultural Arts grant effectively doubled their budget. Others, however, have already received national recognition for their work. For example, Tasveer, an organization focused on South Asian film, art, and stories, recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of their 12th Seattle South Asian Film Festival.

Large or small, each of the twelve organizations that received funds from the Multicultural Arts Project is doing tremendous work in our region, at once providing a space for individuals to connect with their cultures and enriching the broader community. Densho (a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation”) is an organization founded to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. Densho collects stories, produces video interviews, and offers teacher resources to achieve this end. A relatively young organization, for the past five years Seattle Asian American Film Festival has curated independent films by and about Asian Americans, showcasing the “diversity and richness of the city’s Asian American community.” Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas presents and produces Black cultural programs that encourage thought and debate for the greater Seattle area. CD Forum intentionally makes their events accessible to undeserved populations, and their events frequently serve not only to entertain by to spark action and promote change. Pratidhwani, a largely volunteer-run organization, presents shows featuring music, dance, and drama of South Asian cultures. Volunteers and family members of performers cater receptions with homemade food and drink, offering a space for celebration and connection. ArtsFund is proud to partner with these twelve organizations in support of their great work promoting cross-cultural understanding in our community, using art as a bridge across communities and generations.

ArtsFund awarded grants totaling $60,000 to twelve multicultural arts and cultural organizations.  The funds were distributed as matching incentive grants of $5,000 each, with the objective of empowering recipients to leverage these grants to raise greater support for their organizations. Thanks to Jerry Lee, Governor Gary Locke, and ArtsFund Associates Board Chair Judy Yu, who were instrumental in raising funds for this pilot, for their leadership and support.

Recipients of the 2017 Multicultural Arts grants include: Asia Pacific Cultural Center, American Asian Performing Arts Theatre, Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Chinese Arts and Music Association, Densho, Japan Arts Connection Lab, Pratidhwani, ReAct Theatre, Red Eagle Soaring, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Seattle Latino Film Festival, and Tasveer.

Consider checking out these upcoming offerings from our Multicultural Art recipients:

Feb 17, Densho presents “Never Again” event livestream

Feb 18-19, Tasveer presents the South Asian International Documentary Festival

Feb 23-26, 5th Annual Seattle Asian American Film Festival

Feb 25-26, Chinese Arts and Music Association, East Meets West Concert Weekend

March 17-19, Tasveer presents Aaina: South Asian Women’s Festival

March 25-26, Asia Pacific Cultural Center presents a Batik two day workshop

May 13, Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas presents Mama’z Muezz

All grant recipients join ArtsFund’s network of over 100+ cultural partners.  Click here for more information on ArtsFund cultural partners.

Click here to read the press release and learn more about ArtsFund’s Multicultural Arts Project.