I was disappointed on Monday, March 26th when the County Council voted to impose new Council control over 4Culture. 4Culture is nationally-recognized for its efforts to support arts, heritage, and historical preservation across King County. This ordinance was a “solution in search of a problem,” needlessly politicizing and micromanaging an organization with an exemplary track record.
I encourage you to watch this debate on the Seattle Channel between Councilmember Larry Gossett and myself.
As one of three ex-officio members of the 4Culture Board, I have firsthand experience of its professional, deliberate, and transparent processes. I believe ethnic and geographic equity is a critical component to a fair grant making process, and 4Culture has made great strides in recent years in creating programs and staff positions dedicated to encouraging previously unfunded artists and organizations from communities of color and other underrepresented communities to apply for funding.
I worked very hard along with Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Claudia Balducci to find compromise with our councilmember colleagues who were in favor of the legislation. Unfortunately, they were not open to making any substantive changes. Even so, I would like to thank the many community members who emailed their councilmember or attended a committee meeting in person to advocate for keeping 4Culture safe from political influence. Going forward, I will work to ensure 4Culture’s processes remain as depoliticized as possible, and will continue to fight for an equitable, independent, and accessible 4Culture.