“Public Policy and the Arts” Project: Seattle Arts Voter Guide - Updated August 2

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
August 2, 2019

Update as of August: 22 Seattle City Council candidates and three Seattle School Board candidates have added their arts platforms to the Seattle Arts Voter Guide. Read them here.

The Washington State Indivisible Podcast talked with Professor Jasmine Mahmoud and MFA candidate Erin Naomi Burrows earlier this week. Listen to the conversation (starts at 19:18.)

Graphic for Seattle Arts Voter GuideSeattle University MFA in Arts Leadership students enrolled in the 2019 summer course “Public Policy and the Arts” are creating the Seattle Arts Voter Guide, a nonpartisan guide collecting statements by City Council Candidates on how they envision arts as part of Seattle.

The online guide is available at

The project focuses on encouraging four critical actions that Seattle residents can take

  • CONNECT with the critical issues that intersect with the arts in Seattle, including access, affordability, creativity, displacement, equity, housing, homelessness, preservation, and social justice. Discover the 50+ Candidates running for the 2019 City Council Primary.
  • DIALOGUE by asking questions of City Council Candidates about critical issues in the arts and Seattle.
  • ENGAGE candidate statements as they come in.
  • VOTE! The primary election is August 6, 2019. Register and know how to vote.

In teams organized by district, students contacted each candidate requesting their statement on the arts. The candidates are encouraged to engage with questions like:

  • Describe a meaningful arts experience that has stayed with you over time.
  • How do the arts reflect the voices and perspectives in your own neighborhood?
  • How do you envision the arts as part of the Seattle, especially as part of education, equity, housing, transportation, culture, the economy, and/or community?

A decade ago, Seattle had the most arts organizations per capita of any U.S. city, and the city continues to top lists for cities with the most Arts Vibrancy, the Most Creative Cities, and the highest proportion of working artistsCritical issues of access, creativity, displacement, homelessness and housing, income inequality, journalism, preservation, and racial equity interact with the arts in Seattle.

As of July 15, two candidates had responded with their platforms and more are expected in the coming days. Ballots for the August primary will be mailed on July 17.

Seattle residents are encouraged to visit the website to see the responses from their candidates. If they do not see their candidates represented, they can contact them to ask they participate.

In addition to the website, residents can connect with the Seattle Arts Voter Guide on Facebook and Twitter, and follow the hashtag #seattleartsvote.

The Seattle Arts Voter Guide is non-partisan and Seattle University does not endorse nor oppose any candidate.