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Mission & Purpose

The Artists Up team and others standing in a line and smiling

Photo by: Hugo Ludeña

Artists Up is a collaborative effort between the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture.

We try to serve ALL artists in Washington State by focusing on historically marginalized or underrepresented artists, including artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, artists who are new to the U.S. and Washington, mature artists, and low-income artists.​

For these artists, we strive to:

  • Improve and expand capacity and networks

  • Raise awareness about artists' needs while developing and delivering programs, as individual and allied agencies, that work better

With a focus on these marginalized groups, we believe we will better serve ALL artists in Washington State.


The team that oversees this initiative includes staff from each of the partner agencies. We share responsibilities and leadership and we pull from local expertise, including artists, to assist us in aligning our equity goals. 

Read about the current collaborators.


We would like to extend special thanks to our past partners, Artist Trust and ArtsWA, and specifically Katy Hannigan, Miguel Guillén, and Britt Madsen, who helped us move the important work of Artists Up forward.


We’d also like to thank Noah Lumbantobing for our logo design and Casey Moser for our website design.

OUR History

Artists Up was established in 2012 because of a common concern: the low numbers of artists from communities of color applying for funding. We began with the goal of creating a collective impact venture that would help increase access for underrepresented artists, address shifting demographics, and correct historical inequities in resources for marginalized artists.


Artists Up worked with the respected consulting firm AdvisArts to shape an approach based on the idea of collective impact, emergent goals, and processes, harnessing previously unknown resources and innovations, continuous learning, and alignment between multiple organizations working with common constituents.

Our first step was to listen and learn. We held a focus group of Latinx artists working in all disciplines to determine their needs and to investigate concerns, attitudes, and barriers to working with existing funding programs. Artists were incredibly receptive, with 40 participating across three sessions.

This was followed by conversations with over 150 Asian and Pacific Islander, Black and African-American, and Native artists. In response, Artists Up began creating a robust mix of programs that continuously evolve to meet the needs of Washington artists—and taking these findings back to each partner agency to refresh their existing approaches, processes, and structures.



Read more about our learning from these focus groups and our other programs by reading our reports.

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