Seattle Report #3

The gentle rains have returned to Seattle today, which is unfortunate given that this is the day than art-loving visitors from across the county are setting out on foot to experience the local arts and culture scene. There's performance art happening in the streets and the public artworks around town have all been polished, but alas. When it rains it drizzles. I know that folks will be impressed with Seattle none the less, especially those taking in the Olympic Sculpture Park. They can't possibly have ever seen anything like it.

This gives me an opportunity to share a few more things that were shared and discussed yesterday, including Bill Bulick's session on cultural planning. As you may know, Bill was the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Arts Commission before (and just after) it became The Regional Arts & Culture Council. He led and facilitated most of Arts Plan 2000, the mid-90s roadmap for the path that arts and culture should take to the new millennium. He has since gone on to facilitate cultural plans for dozens of other communities including Erie County and Austin, Texas. He and Hannah Treuhaft of our own Sojourn Theater spoke about the importance of civic engagement in developing these plans... after all, we live in a participatory democracy and a cultural plan must reflect the wishes of its citizens in order to succeed.

Most interestingly for me, Sue Harvey of the City of Vancouver BC described the process they went through to create that City's cultural plan, which was adopted in January 2008 and still early in its implementation. I was struck by how different their process was than ours, and might explain what I mean later, but in the meantime I invite you to see what they're working to get done before the Winter Olympics next year -- and beyond.

There was also a session featuring some of the cities that have received major cultural participation grants from the Wallace Foundation over the last couple of years, with some themes I'll be considering as we take up the challenge of increasing cultural participation and access in the Portland region.

We ended the evening visiting with our peers at a giant reception at McCaw Hall -- I've never seen so much seafood in my life. (I feel sorry for the folks here who don't care for this kind of cuisine, but there were a few chicken satay sticks for them to much on). I ducked out of the reception early (ie, after i used my last free drink ticket) to pick up Rob and Taylor from the train station. They have come to enjoy rainy Seattle with me, and are out doing the public market this morning. We'll be taking in EMP tonight, and a baseball game tomorrow evening.

1 comment:

MightyToyCannon said...

Thanks for the reports. I took a quick look at the Vancouver plan. What struck me is that it seems to present a vision for the role of the arts in the community, whereas Portland's puts the strategy for increasing arts funding at the forefront. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how Portland's process will play out in the next phase of the planning, including how citizen engagement will be handled.