The Wallace Foundation Awards $7.7 Million to Support Seattle's Arts Community

Article ID: 546579

Released: 19-Nov-2008 12:30 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Wallace Foundation

Newswise — The Wallace Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission and the Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs today announced an innovative, four-year arts funding partnership designed to foster growth in public arts attendance and to identify, develop and share useful lessons on how arts organizations can reach more people.

Nine Seattle arts organizations will receive $6.1 million in grants, and another $1.6 million will support audience building throughout the region. In recognition of their commitment to community and audience building activities, The Foundation is giving its prestigious Wallace Excellence Awards to Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, One Reel, On the Boards, Pacific Northwest Ballet Association, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Youth Symphony and SIFF (Cinema Seattle). Each of these organizations will receive four-year grants ranging from $500,000 to $750,000. The awards were announced today at the Seattle Art Museum by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, The Wallace Foundation President Christine DeVita and the Washington State Arts Commission Executive Director Kris Tucker.

"The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts part of their DNA," said Christine DeVita, president of the Foundation. "We created these awards to shine national attention on the importance of drawing more people into the arts, to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with constituencies, and to generate an assortment of useful, broadly applicable lessons and practices that will be helpful to the field."

"The arts make significant contributions to Seattle's economy and to our high quality of life," said Mayor Nickels. "We appreciate The Wallace Foundation's recognition and its support of Seattle's vibrant arts and cultural sector."

"This generous and visionary support by The Wallace Foundation is an investment in the future of arts organizations in the region," said Kris Tucker, executive director of the Washington State Arts Commission. "We are honored to be working with the foundation to maximize this opportunity to benefit arts organizations and communities in Seattle and throughout the region."

The Wallace Excellence Awards were created to support exemplary arts organizations to pioneer effective practices to engage more people in high-value arts activities. The awards are an important part of the foundation's efforts to develop and share effective ideas and practices for enhancing arts participation and bringing the benefits of the arts to all. In addition to the grant, each Excellence Awardee will also receive technical assistance to help better understand the attitudes, preferences and behaviors of the target groups the organization is trying to reach, to design more effective strategies for building participation and to gather reliable evidence on program effectiveness.

In addition to giving the Excellence Award grants to nine arts organizations, The Foundation is partnering with the Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) over the next four years (2009-2012) to create a learning network for all Puget Sound arts organizations and to foster arts engagement region-wide. The collaboration, funded by a grant of $1.6 million from The Foundation, will inform and support the participation-building work of many arts organizations.

This four-year initiative will strengthen local arts engagement by encouraging leading regional arts organizations to build arts participation among youth and young adults and diverse populations, reflecting the changing demographics of the Puget Sound region. The initiative will also strive to build the capacity of arts organizations to expand access to the arts through new technology. Work will begin with a convening of Seattle arts funding leaders including the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, ArtsFund, PONCHO, Paul Allen Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Grantmakers in the Arts and the Boeing Company, among others, to inform and advise the project. Twelve working papers/artistic responses will be commissioned over the four year period addressing topics such as changing demographics, new technology solutions and regional trends in arts participation.

The initiative will bolster the region's arts "eco-system" by adding knowledge-sharing resources and a small pool of project grant funds for local arts organizations to support technology upgrades and targeted outreach to diverse communities. The collaboration will promote the effective exchange of knowledge on and off-line" extending the benefits of this work to many other organizations beyond those that receive individual awards.

The Foundation takes a city-based approach to its arts funding to help improve arts engagement across whole communities. The Foundation chose Seattle as one of six sites for this effort because of the city's high concentration and variety of arts organizations and the arts community's robust collaboration. Minneapolis/St. Paul is the other site chosen for the Wallace Excellence Awards grants in 2008. Philadelphia and San Francisco were chosen in 2007, Chicago and Boston in 2006.

2008 Wallace Excellence Award recipients in Minneapolis Saint Paul are: MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Northern Clay Center Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

2007 Wallace Excellence Award recipients were:In Philadelphia: Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Arden Theatre Company, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Clay Studio, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial and the Wilma Theatre

In San Francisco: Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, the Center for Asian American Media, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ODC/San Francisco, San Francisco Girls Chorus, SF JAZZ, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Opera, World Arts West and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

2006 Wallace Excellence Award recipients were:In Boston: The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Lyric Opera, From the Top, The Huntington Theatre Company, The Institute of Contemporary Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

In Chicago: The Beverly Arts Center, The Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Sinfonietta, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, Hyde Park Art Center, Merit School of Music, Music of the Baroque, Steppenwolf Theatre and the Victory Gardens Theater.

The Wallace FoundationThe Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its three current objectives are: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; improving out-of-school learning opportunities; and building appreciation and demand for the arts. The Foundation maintains a Knowledge Center of free publications on what it has learned at

The Washington State Arts CommissionEstablished in 1961, the Washington State Arts Commission is a state agency that advances and supports arts and culture in Washington State through leadership, knowledge, funding and resources that build participation in, and access to, the arts. For more information visit

Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture The Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs promotes the value of arts and culture in and of communities throughout Seattle. By fostering and investing in the creative contributions of our artist citizens to every facet of the community, we engage the creativity in every resident and build a healthy and vibrant Seattle.


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