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Information: Sarah Sidman | 206-788-3051 |
ArtsFund, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Communications

For Immediate Release
May 9, 2018

With keynote address by Jane Chu, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Seattle, WA – Nearly 1,000 supporters from all aspects of the Puget Sound region’s arts and cultural sector filled the Grand Ballroom of The Westin Seattle on May 8, 2018 for ArtsFund’s 30th Annual Celebration of the Arts Luncheon.   Event highlights included keynote address by Jane Chu (Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts) and recognition of Northwest author Jamie Ford, who received ArtsFund’s 2018 Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award.

The event raised over $400,000 towards ArtsFund’s annual campaign, which ends on 5.31.18.  A matching challenge from the ArtsFund Board of Trustees accounts for another $100,000.  Revenues from the 47th annual drive will support operating funds and other grants to approximately 70 King and Pierce county nonprofit arts groups, as well as additional programs and services reaching more than 120 arts and cultural organizations and communities throughout the Central Puget Sound region.

CEO Remarks:

ArtsFund President and CEO Mari Horita focused on how arts connect people through the creation of emotional bonds and social networks.  Citing sociologists, economists, urbanists, and social reformers, Horita framed her remarks by stating that social cohesion, which can be fostered by arts, is essential to inclusive and effective community. She commented, “the arts are one of the forces that can help transcend conventional differences and renew positive social behaviors and connections.”

Horita added, “We understand that the arts are not the only thing that makes our region the extraordinary place that it is, but our region would not be the extraordinary place that it is without the arts. We understand that arts alone are not going to eliminate harmful barriers and divides between us, but no one sector, can achieve this alone.  So as we at ArtsFund look ahead to the next 50 years of our organization, the arts sector, and the community, we commit to broadening and deepening our partnership with everyone committed to making us best people and the best community we can be.”

Keynote Address:

In her keynote address entitled “The Arts in Our Lives”, NEA Chairman Jane Chu stated, “The arts help us see what’s exceptional about who we are and where we live. They highlight the characteristics that make each of us unique, not cookie cutter, and they allow communities to figure out how to honor the history and traditions that best describe their place, and identify the new ideas that represent the contemporary community, at the same time. They give us the tools to discover and celebrate our assets, and to transform our challenges into advantages.”

Chu continued, “Seattle is a city where the arts are already integrated into all manner of community life, where they are activating the city, and providing residents and visitors with a richer, better, and brighter place to live in and visit. Where the arts give students new opportunities to thrive. Where they are revitalizing neighborhoods. Where they are stimulating the economy. Where they are contributing to a healthy, dynamic environment for all people. And where they are helping bridge the differences among residents, so that strangers feel more like neighbors.”

Chairman Chu’s keynote was introduced by Dow Constantine, King County Executive. Constantine localized his remarks by stating, “King County has long been a center for the arts.  Both our elected officials and business leaders know that a vibrant arts community is an enormous boon to our regional economy.”

Award Presentation:

ArtsFund’s award for Outstanding Contribution in the Arts award was presented to author Jamie Ford.   In accepting, Ford commented, “I don’t think of myself as much as a storyteller or a writer as someone who is in the compassion creation business. And there’s a deficit. And so, to write about diversity, and ethnicity, and history, I feel that allows readers to exercise their empathy muscles. And that makes not just the world a better place, but our community a better place.”

The award was presented by Louie Gong, Artist, Activist, and Founder, Eighth Generation.  In celebrating Ford, Gong highlighted, “While Jamie brings Seattle’s history to life in his novels, he also plays a living, breathing role in Seattle’s artistic and literary communities today.”

Program Notes:

Master of Ceremonies Emory Thomas, Publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal and ArtsFund Trustee, framed the luncheon by commenting, “Today’s event is themed around the role of arts in cities and communities. From my point of view, it’s never been clearer how direct and impactful that role is…In real, tangible, and data-supported ways, the arts drive not only creativity, imagination, and personal fulfillment – but also economic opportunity and community health.”

In further celebration of arts in community, the event showcased dynamic performances by the Seattle Men’s Chorus, Trio Guadalevín, and 16 year old violin soloist Shintaro Taneda, member of Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. Clarence Acox, educator, bandleader, and musician, also took to the stage to make the fundraising “ask”.

The luncheon was supported by Premier Sponsors Delta Dental of Washington, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo; by Event Sponsors Amazon, The Boeing Company, CenturyLink, Columbia Bank, and Perkins Coie; and by Supporting Sponsors Cairncross & Hemplemann, Fox Rothschild LLP, Hyatt Regency Seattle — a Hedreen Project, Mithun, Safeco Insurance, and Seattle Bank, and Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline of the 2018 Luncheon.

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ArtsFund’s Mission:  ArtsFund strengthens the community by supporting the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grant making.

ArtsFund’s Vision:  A community with a dynamic and world-class arts and cultural sector where the arts are accessible to all and valued as central and critical to a healthy society.

Download the full press release here.