How do we rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic?
Do we try to reestablish the status quo of January 2020, or should we take this enforced pause — triggered by the twin forces of coronavirus and economy-jamming lockdowns — as an opportunity to rethink how we structure our world?
Thinkers in a huge variety of fields (labor, tech, economics, health care, homelessness, many more) have been asking the questions, which we report on in this story.
One of those thinkers is artist, small-business owner and impresario Greg Lundgren, who has proposed a bold, 25-year, $1.25 billion plan called “One Half of A Football Team.” (In 2019, the Seahawks were valued at $2.8 billion.) Lundgren argues his 12-part prescription could ignite a cultural renaissance, which would ignite an economic renaissance, making Seattle a giant for arts and innovation, attracting still more financial and human capital. An investment in culture, he says, is an investment in the economy and quality of life in the city as a whole.
It would demand significant private funding — so far, none has been forthcoming, but Lundgren remains optimistic.
“We have a Mount Everest-sized concentration of private wealth in this region and a potentially decimated culture,” he said. “These people could activate a golden era in our darkest hour.”
Below is a bare-bones version of Lundgren’s 12-point plan.
One Half of a Football Team
1. Art Residencies: Subsidies for 250 artists in King County with a $250,000 signing bonus and $100,000 per year, plus health care, for 10 years. Cost: $300 million. Endurance: 10 years.
2. Art Center: $50 million to purchase and renovate a downtown building. A $250 million trust funds operations and programming. Cost: $300 million. Endurance: 25 years.
3. Annual Art Grants: For individuals, 24 grants of $100,000, 365 grants of $10,000, 365 grants of $500. For institutions, 12 grants of $200,000. Cost: $250 million. Endurance: 25 years.
4. Arts Education: $4 million per year for salaries, space, and supplies in King County public schools. Cost: $100 million. Endurance: 25 years.
5. Seattle Biennial: A three-month arts festival partnering with local arts institutions, businesses, and the Seattle Parks Department. Modeled after the Venice Biennale. Cost: $75 million. Endurance: 25 years.
6. Documentary Film: Follow the transformation of the city over a decade in monthly, streamed episodes, plus a feature-length documentary. Cost: $50 million. Endurance: 10 years.
7. Hotel Hendrix: Purchase and renovate a downtown hotel with an emphasis on arts and culture, including subsidized rates for visiting members of creative industries. Cost: $50 million. Endurance: 25 years.
8. Arts and Culture Journalism: Funds allocated to publications featuring local arts and culture criticism. Cost: $25 million. Endurance: 25 years.
9. K-12 Contemporary Gallery: Contemporary downtown art gallery for exhibiting and selling the works of students enrolled in Seattle public schools. Sales distributed between student, classroom, and district. Cost: $25 million. Endurance: 25 years.
10. Advertising Agency: While programs are autonomous, an advertising agency would be contracted for craft promotion of the movement as a whole. Cost: $25 million. Endurance: 10 years.
11. Lawyers and Accountants: Required for a project of this magnitude. Total: $25 million. Endurance: 25 years.
12. Emergency Coronavirus Fund: Swift relief for pandemic-related losses among Seattle arts and culture organizations. Total $25 million. Endurance: 1-2 years.
Total cost: $1.25 billion.