Arts

Central Area Neighbors Organize for Arts Environment for Black Culture

To Stimulate an Exciting Arts Environment for Black Culture; creating exciting new development opportunities.

Your chance to hear more about and talk about two exciting community-led projects is the January 9th quarterly meeting of your community council SPCC: Theresa Barreras of the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development will lead a conversation on the Central Area Collaborative. The Collaborative is described as an effort towards "promoting strong and resilient neighborhoods and supporting equitable and sustainable community development that will expand revitalization work.

Vivian Phillips, chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, will follow with a discussion of the new Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District. After a many-months effort by a group of committed neighbors with ideas for sustaining and building on the vitality of the Central Area, on December 17, Mayor Murray signed legislation creating the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District.

The Central Area is a center of Seattle's African-American heritage and history and is a neighborhood undergoing rapid change.

The Arts District designation recognizes the cultural legacy and seeks to preserve its character, while stimulating a growing arts environment for black culture in the Central Area.

The Central Area Arts and Cultural District will be the second arts district recognized by the City. Seattle's Arts & Cultural Districts program defines the program as dedicated to nurturing and protecting the presence of arts and culture in neighborhoods. These elements have been shown to increase walkability, vitality, regional focus and interest. The city's mission in creating these districts is to ensure that the organizations and individuals that give these unique neighborhoods their verve remain healthy and vibrant for future generations. It defines the Central area as a geographic area that was originally redlined, relegating African American residency to this part of the City. At various points in time, the neighborhood had also been home for Danish, Japanese and Jewish residents.

The Arts District is organized around three foundational pillars:

  • Preserving an African and African-American legacy in the Central Area
  • Sustaining and strengthening the physical identity and sense of place for cultural relevancy
  • Establishing continued support of artistic creation, economic vibrancy, livability, affordability, desirability, and artistic vitality

There will be a time for discussion following each presentation. Please also forward questions or comments in advance to jfoxcullen@gmail.com.

James Washington Fountain
James Washington Fountain, 23rd & Union

Primary Arts District Development Partners include:

In partnership with the following organizations:

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The People’s Wall- A Brief History

The People's Wall (1970, Dion Henderson, restored by Eddie Ray Walker, 2008)

The People’s Wall near  20th & Spruce marks the Black Panther Party Community Center in the 70s. The first  Food Bank program, legal aid clinic and Community Medical Clinic along with  many other programs and services to serve the community had their beginnings here.  It once covered both the north and east side of the corner.  Today only the east side along 20th remains.  The People’s Wall is a prime example of why the Central Area is the city’s second Arts District.

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