Where to Find Arts Grants in Seattle

Get that money 💰

A music workshop funded by a Seattle city grant

📸: Courtesy Office of Arts & Culture | The Creative Advantage Roster’s teaching artist Antonio Gomez

Arcade games. They’re more than just slot machines for children. These mesmerizing beacons of flashing lights and whirring sounds offer satisfying wins and bragging rights. As a kid, I never really got the chance to play arcade games. But now I am, allegedly, an adult, and I can sink as much change into arcade games as I want. And Seattle is a top-shelf city for arcade game lovers, especially pinball fanatics. We’re practically the barcade capital. 

Before getting into the spots, I want to specify the difference between a bar with arcade games and a barcade. At a bar with arcade games, you may be able to down a few drinks while playing Big Buck Hunter (like the one at Montana). But at a barcade (like Georgetown Pizza and Arcade and the others below), challenge the wrong person to Xenon pinball and you may find yourself sorely losing to a nationally ranked champion. Seattle is a hub for professional pinball players, so if you dig the game enough, maybe you’ve found your calling to join the ranks of local pinball masters!

Now, there are tons of places to play arcade games around here, but here’s a list of places to start.

CityArtist

Applications open March 28th – May 9th, 2023

📸: Courtesy Office of Arts & Culture | Artist Shoko Zama | Photo by Naomi Ishisaka

Artist Shoko Zama performs a workshop with a bunch of red fabric all around her

The CityArtist 2024 grant is for Seattle-based artists and curators researching, developing, and presenting ideas or ventures. Specifically, artists and curators working in literary, media/digital/film (including screenwriting), and visual arts.

For the 2022 cycle of funding, artists received grants for live presentations, fashion films, spoken word performances, public readings, and screenings of multimedia videos. For the 2024 round, individuals can apply for up to $8,000 in funds for projects that connect residents throughout Seattle and are presented for public benefit. And if you don’t see your discipline represented this year, don’t worry. They rotate every grant cycle, meaning 2024 could be your year.

“Artists are the ultimate storytellers who create a universal language that we can all understand,” wrote acting ARTS director royal alley-barnes in a statement about this grant. “Their work and creativity impact our worldview, and forge relationships between communities, businesses, and organizations. It is imperative that we invest in artists through grants like CityArtists because artists everywhere is art everywhere.”

YouTube video

Artists at the Center

Applications open May 16th – June 27th, 2023

📸: Courtesy Office of Arts and Culture | AATC Northwest Tap Connection | Photo by Jenny Crooks

A photo of a tap dancer against a Christmas setting at the Seattle Center

The Seattle Center is undoubtedly one of the best cultural spaces in the city. The Artists at the Centergrant furthers its cultural tradition by allowing selected artists to organize pop-up music, dance, theatrical, and multi-disciplinary performances at Seattle Center. The Center chooses artists with “an equity and social justice lens,” emphasizing uplifting emerging and underserved artists. Now in its second year, for the 2022-2023 cycle, 26 awardees were given a total of $106,000 and received technical production support. Watch for the next cycle’s application window opening, and get your dance or music performance on.

Dot ur i’s, cross ur t’s 🖊️

These are all exciting opportunities! But make sure you do everything VERY carefully. Read the guidelines, triple-check your eligibility, ask questions, and be as clear and concise as possible. You don’t want a simple mistake to come between you and your grant.

Arts in Parks

Applications open September 26th – November 7th, 2023

📸: Courtesy Office of Arts and Culture | Arts In Parks’ Guelaguetza | Photo by Jenny Crooks

A large crowd watches a group of people dance in the middle of a park

Seattle is home to over 485 parks. Meaning, you’re just a hop, skip, and jump from a place to loll about with your friends. As such, parks also provide good opportunities for community gatherings, and the City’s Arts in Parks grant encourages just that. 

Done in partnership with ARTS and Seattle Parks and Recreation, individual artists, community-based groups, and neighborhood councils interested in activating a city park with a free and accessible event can apply for this grant. The funding body is primarily interested in proposals in “underserved and economically constrained areas of the city” with a focus on uplifting new and established festivals or events that “celebrate diversity” and “build community connections.” 

Basically, is there a cultural dance festival or music workshop you’ve always dreamed of putting together? Then this is your grant.

Each individual or group can apply for up to $7,800 in funding. Before you submit an application, cross reference the City’s preferred parks list and note the parks that are ineligible for this grant funding (like downtown and center city parks). Guidelines for the 2024 grant will drop on September 26th, when the application period begins. 

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Facility Grant

Applications ongoing

📸: Photo Courtesy LHPAI

Three women in a line in long, black robes reach an arm towards something offstage.

Making something that celebrates and preserves the Black American and African diasporic performing arts and cultural legacies? Need a giant space? And tons of seats? Then the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Facility (LHPAI) Grant is for you, babe. 

The LHPAI Grant is for individuals, groups, or communities making artistic or cultural projects that reach underserved audiences and “builds community through arts and culture.” But—important!—this grant does not have a monetary amount. Rather, the grant represents 40 hours of “staffed building use” at the LHPAI facility for your proposed art or cultural activity. It covers facility use and paid staff time. 

The guidelines encourage you to start the process as early as possible. They recommend at least two months before the project starts or the event date. So get to it!

Artist-in-residency for Digital Artists

Applications deadline April 14th

📸: Courtesy Office of Arts and Culture | Comic by E.T. Russian

A comic of the Fremont bridge from last year's grant cycle, featuring the Fremont Bridge in clean blue line work

Though this technically isn’t a grant, it is an excellent opportunity for artists to get significant support from the City. 

ARTS and the Seattle Department of Transportation partnered to host a residency from June through December 2023 for two digital artists working in digital data visualization art. What’s unique about this residency, however, is that the studio/office space provided is inside the Fremont Bridge’s northwest tower and the University Bridge’s southeast tower

The call and artistic discipline change every residency cycle. In 2020, two graphic novelists, Roger Fernandes and E.T. Russian, were tasked with creating graphic novels inspired by their respective experiences and reflections on the history of each bridge. And this year, the residency requires the two selected artists to make an “in-depth exploration” of data related to both bridges and then present those findings or information using “artistic digital data visualization.” 

This residency is open to digital artists who call King, Snohomish, Pierce, or Kitsap counties home and who can travel to Seattle for the project’s duration. Each artist will receive $10,000, which is inclusive “of all residency time, costs, project, presentation, documentation of the work, and applicable taxes” with an application deadline of April 14. Nice!

Author

An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.

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