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Happy New Year from ArtsFund President & CEO

January 8, 2024

Our work has grown so much since I took this position, and I am excited to say that this message is being distributed to more than 1,000 organizations across our entire state. ArtsFund’s history goes back to 1969 in the Greater Puget Sound, and I am proud to be representing our continued service to the arts and culture community 54 years later.

I wanted to reach out and recognize the importance of a healthy arts and culture community across our State. As many of you know, over the past three years, we have been able to distribute over $10 million outside of King County. This has been due to some incredible partnerships with the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and we are grateful for their recognition of the value of arts and culture across the State. While Seattle and King County are essential contributors to the overall health and well-being of this sector, the economic and social benefits of arts and culture extend far beyond our State’s urban core.

We have funded over 450 organizations outside of King County. There’s no doubt that there are many more doing great work in counties across the State. This is important because, as we showed in our Social Impact Study, the benefits of having arts and cultural activity in a community are significant. Better educational outcomes, stronger civic participation, and increased behavioral health markers can all be attributed to more robust access to the arts. These benefits are not reserved only for our most densely populated communities but are essential for a better quality of life in all geographies.

Economically, organizations outside of King County told us that in 2023 they expected operating expenses of over $137 million, of which $77 million was going directly to personnel. That is a significant amount of economic activity and jobs across our State. I know that many of you have also seen this statistic, but the arts and culture sector, according to Americans for the Arts, is responsible for 10.8% of the state’s GDP. The organizations that we know and love are not only providing essential outlet for creativity and personal growth, they are also strengthening the economic fabric of our communities alongside our small business partners.

We at ArtsFund are grateful to all of the arts organizations, artists, administrators, volunteers, and arts adjacent workers that are making our communities a better place to live for everyone. We will continue to recognize the symbiotic relationship between all our geographies, and how that relationship promotes a healthy, equitable, and creative Washington for all.

Thank you all and have a wonderful start to the New Year.


Michael Greer