A message from our Agency Director

To Washington State’s Arts + Creative Communities

The staff and board of ArtsWA stand in solidarity against racism. We acknowledge the historic and persistent legacies of inequity, violence, and community resilience in Washington State.  As a staff and an agency, we are saddened and deeply affected. We condemn with one voice the circumstances that led to the death of yet another Black man. We share outrage and shame over the senseless death of George Floyd in Minnesota and closer to home, Manuel Ellis of Tacoma, as well as other victims of systemic racism and oppression.

We acknowledge that social injustice and racism remain endemic in our culture and country. This reality affects the lives and wellbeing of all of us, but disproportionately our communities and colleagues of color. Everyone deserves fairness and dignity in their dealings with authority. When fairness and dignity are taken from even one single person, so suffers the essence that makes us human and humane.

Even as inequities persist, so does cultural, linguistic, and creative resilience. We are deeply grateful for the diversity of courageous artists in Washington State who are continuing their work through this time, and throughout our State’s history. The arts play a critical role in bringing people and communities together. Whether through music, theater, spoken word, poetry, dance, visual arts, or film, the arts are unique in their capacity to engage, uplift, encourage, and heal.

ArtsWA is committed to supporting equity in the arts in all that we do. We reaffirm our commitment to providing programs that serve and reflect the diversity of the arts and cultural community of our state. We will continue to:

  • Advance equity through grantmaking by scrutinizing and designing our programs to be more accessible to people of color and underrepresented communities;
  • Restructure our calls to artists, rosters, and panel members to support and deepen our commitment to racial equity;
  • Center the concerns of historically marginalized communities as we continue our efforts to advance wider agendas in the field;
  • Maintain our commitment to the development of leaders of color within our staff, organization, and board members.

By working together, we strive to open doors, hearts, and minds in a common quest for better understanding, action, and real change.


Karen Hanan, Executive Director, ArtsWA

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