All we can eat—Seattle has a seemingly insatiable appetite for arts space. We always say we want more, and every area of the city has called out the arts as a priority in its neighborhood plan. But how do we ensure homes remain for the organizations and artists that are so desirable? How do we preserve the built environment ingredients for a vibrant cultural scene—the theaters, studios, galleries, social halls, live-work lofts and old buildings?
Seattle has a cultural space ecology that can work if all the elements come together. But market forces bring relentless pressure, favoring uses that can have a higher financial return.
In order to create more art spaces, we need an active, coordinated response driven by a cultural-space connector, be it government or another entity, that can facilitate necessary partnerships. The resources and political will are needed to create a program to connect property owners to artists, funders to organizations and halls of worship to performance artists. Will 2012 be the year Seattle finally perfects its roll?