In communities large and small throughout King and Pierce counties, artistic endeavors play a crucial role in promoting a sense of vibrancy that cuts across demographics and geography.
From the box seats of Benaroya Hall to dance classes at the Des Moines Senior Center, arts are at the heart of the special culture which has helped attract thousands of new residents to build lives here. For 49 years, ArtsFund has nourished that growth by providing arts organizations with resources and guidance to carry out humanities projects that improve our region’s quality of life.
The nonprofit, which sends funds to more than 100 organizations, has helped provide more than 10,000 public performances, exhibitions and other events across the decades. In this year’s contribution drive, ArtsFund hopes to raise $2.8 million by the end of May to provide grants, organizational training and other assistance for cultural efforts. Organizers say they have raised about 80 percent of that goal. Individuals and companies can learn more at www.artsfund.org/donatenow.
Underscoring the idea that art provides meaningful benefits to neighborhoods and cities, ArtsFund’s Social Impact of the Arts Study chronicles how multiple genres backed by the organization have transformed communities in King County. The study explores impacts upon education, health and community-building, and provides a compelling illustration of our shared need to maintain strong cultural resources at every level.
Consider Path With Art, which works with hundreds of homeless and formerly homeless Seattle adults to help them overcome trauma and addiction through creating paintings and poetry. Urban Artworks, which provides arts training to Seattle teenagers on probation, reports that 83 percent of youth who participate don’t reoffend. In the Central District, Washington Hall has gone from a century-old teardown candidate to a neighborhood nexus for arts and cultural activities.
This is a particularly auspicious time to support ArtsFund and its mission. With eyes toward its imminent 50th anniversary, ArtsFund’s board is working to identify a new CEO who will be responsible for shaping the organization’s mission and goals as its second half-century begins.
Ideally, the growth and prosperity that have dramatically reshaped so much of our region over the past decade also will help expand ArtsFund’s coffers going forward. Arts are so valuable a part of our societal infrastructure that supporting institutions such as ArtsFund is essential to the health of the region’s future. This laudable institution deserves support so that it can better work to uplift us all.