News / Press Releases

“Artists Up” Pilot Outreach Program Findings and Plans

For Immediate Release:

Artist Trust, 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture are happy to announce the findings of the first ARTISTS UP program. ARTISTS UP is a collaborative initiative to better serve all artists throughout Seattle, King County and Washington State. In 2013, ARTISTS UP launched a pilot program for Latina/o artists consisting of a two-part information series and a community focus group. The information sessions were designed to demystify funding programs and processes, share best-practices through peer learning and build connections between artists and funders. The focus group gathered more in-depth information about how the organizations’ funding programs could better serve Latina/o artists as well as other communities in the future.

Although Latinos make up 12% of Washington State’s population, 9% of King County’s population, and 7% of the City of Seattle’s, significantly fewer Latino artists apply for grants from the ARTISTS UP agencies.

The ARTISTS UP information series on July 8 and July 15, 2013 reached close to 40 Latina/o artists who are potential new applicants, for most this was a first-time face-to-face meeting with a funder. Among the finding of the focus group was a need for networking and mentorship opportunities and a “hub” that can serve to connect Latina/o artists. Personal connections with other artists, such as being invited or encouraged by a friend to apply for a grant or attend a career training event, especially for newcomers to the area, is crucial for participation. The funders have begun to respond to the report findings by making incremental improvements and removing barriers to access to their individual programs. For example, the Office of Arts and Culture has started to provide childcare at workshops, 4Culture has revised their upcoming artists projects criteria to be more in line with how artists work, and all three organizations are planning a mixer event to follow up with the Latino/a community.

An executive summary and complete report is available here.

Next Steps for ARTISTS UP

ARTISTS UP will hold a networking event on February 20, 2014 from 6-8 pm for the Latino/a community to celebrate the success of the workshop series. In partnership with La Sala and Dia de Muertos Committee, the event will be held at the Seattle studio of local artist, Fulgencio Lazo.

The ARTISTS UP initiative will continue in 2014 with two informal sessions for the Asian/Asian American and African/African American artist communities. These events will be led by peer artist-ambassadors to provide networking and mentoring support. The gatherings will continue to reach artists with little to no history with the funding organizations. The goal of these sessions will be to provide artists with the information, tools and encouragement to apply for funding and to build relationships with the funders as well as establish stronger connections to fellow artists.

ARTISTS UP is a unique collaboration between two government agencies and a non-profit organization that share an interest in establishing a multi-year work plan to make their funding programs accessible to more artists in order to better serve the communities of Seattle, King County and Washington State.

4Culture is a unique integration of the arts, heritage, preservation and public art; committed to advancing community through culture. Public exhibitions and performances, public art, preservation of significant sites and interpretation of local history deepen our connections to the places in which we live and work. 4Culture stimulates cultural activity and enhances the assets that distinguish a community as vibrant, unique and authentic. Find out more at

The Office of Arts & Culture envisions a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. The Office is supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council. Find out more at

About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at