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5 Tips For Navigating the Second Annual Seattle Children’s Festival

SCF Event Passport

October 11 at Seattle Center
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

1. When you arrive, remember to pick up the Event Passport – this handy tool will take you on an adventure through the Festival.

2. Not sure where to start? Check the schedule (in your Passport!) and see what interactive program from the ‘Movement Series’ is happening next. Movement will get the juices flowing.

3. Next, create something! There are TWO Discovery Zones at this Festival, both featuring a variety of hands-on workshops and activity areas.

4. Take a load off and enjoy the culture around you. There are a wide variety of ethnic performances taking place at the event–pick something new to you, and enjoy its beauty.

5. Before you depart, consider offering a donation to support the future of this event so many more can enjoy the experience in the years to come.

Check out the full day schedule here – see you there!

Folklife 2014 - Friday

Apply Now to Perform at the 2016 Folklife Festival

Northwest Folklife invites musicians, dancers, community groups, artists, storytellers, and instructors to participate in the 45th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, which will take place May 27-30, 2016, at Seattle Center.

If you or your group is based in the Northwest region, including Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana, this is a great opportunity to share your music and traditions!

The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest community-powered arts festival in the United States. It is presented each year in Seattle by Northwest Folklife, a year-round nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to appreciate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Last year Northwest Folklife programmed over 5,000 performers in 65 different genres of music, from Hawaiian to hip-hop. We presented dance performances representing cultures from Ireland to India. We believe everyone is a bearer of folk arts, and we encourage communities to share their cultural traditions, in the hope that interaction with new audiences will enrich the community as much as the audience.Folklife 2014 - Monday

Click these links to be redirected to our online applications:






If you need a paper version of our performer application, please email us at programming at

Interested in how we select bands and performance groups? Click here to read our Programming FAQ.

Still have questions? Email our programming team now.




Who Is Sunshine Music Together?


Sunshine Music Together provides the greater Seattle community with music classes for babies and toddlers, introducing them to the wonder and beauty of musical sounds at a very early age. What lucky babies, we say!

Get to know Sunshine Music Together a little more in the below Q&A! They will be sharing their songs and good times with us at the 2nd Annual Seattle Children’s Festival again this year, from 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Loft 4 venue. Parents, Caregivers, and little ones welcome and encouraged!

What will audiences experience from you at the Seattle Children’s Festival?

Community family music making! We will be encouraging caregivers with their children to participate enthusiastically in our program of songs, movement and chant activities.  We’ll be encouraging caregivers to be wonderful music making role models for their children – children learn a love of music and the disposition to be life long music makers by watching the adults in their lives model music making with enjoyment and enthusiasm! And because very young children instinctively respond to and imitate their loved ones, the active participation of parents and caregivers – regardless of their musical ability – is an essential part of the rich musical environment we create. Music Together parents discover what a powerful role model they are for their child, just by having fun with the music themselves! We will be helping grown ups to relax, find their inner silliness and enjoy making music right along with their kids.

Is there a specific age recommendation? Should parents and kids come?

Music Together is a parent/child based music development program for children aged birth to five years old and the adults in their lives who love them!

Were you at last year’s Seattle Children’s Festival? If so, what was the experience like for you?

Yes!  We absolutely loved the idea of an event that introduced parents and children to the joy of music making and the arts!  We’re huge advocates of music development during a child’s primary years and wanted to share and contribute any way we could for the benefit of our community!  We loved being a part of Seattle’s Children Festival from the beginning!

What is your connection to Northwest Folklife?

Initially we learned of Northwest Folklife through one of our fabulous teachers, Lara Clark, who was on the board of Northwest Folklife. She initially was the one who brought us all to it.  We have done events to benefit Northwest Folklife in the past and will again in the future.

What kinds of music/arts/performance/entertainment do you typically seek out around Seattle or the Pacific Northwest? Any recommendations?

Everything!  We love the theatre, ballet, symphony, concerts – Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound area is rich with the arts!  Seattle Children’s Theatre, 5th Ave, STG (Seattle Theatre Group), the Paramount.  Concerts at Chateau Ste Michelle, Marymoor – Take advantage of it all!

What does Folklife mean to you?

A communal and universal celebration of the arts in Seattle!  A huge sampling of various cultures in the arts coming together in one place!

What’s next for you after Seattle Children’s Festival?

We will continue with our mission to spread the joy and benefits of family music making to our communities!  We’ll be celebrating our 10th year of doing just this in 2016!


Learn more and connect with Sunshine Music Together here and join their conversation on Facebook.


Get Ready! Folklife Starts This Friday!

The 43rd annual Northwest Folklife Festival is almost here!  As you get ready to come down to Seattle Center for four days of nonstop music, dance, workshops, food, crafts and more, here are some useful things to know:

There have been various programming and venue changes for the festival this year:

  • Trad Stage This is a brand new stage! The Trad Stage will highlight some of the best traditional musicians of the Northwest, pulling some of the programming from past years’ much-loved Northwest Court Stage. You can expect to hear North American and European traditional music from a variety of genres including Irish, Québécois, Old-Time, and more.
  • Cornish Playhouse – Formerly the Intiman Theatre, this is a brand-new venue for Folklife and will be one of our main theatre-style stages highlighting music and dance showcases.
  • Discovery Zone – Explore the bigger-than-ever-before Discovery Zone, family-friendly hands-on activities area with performances, workshops, and activities that are fun for people of all ages. Located between The Armory & EMP Sky Church Stages.
  • International Fountain Pavilion – Located West of the Fountain Lawn Stage and directly East of the Alki Court, this will be Folklife’s home to the Visual Arts. Look for our Cultural Focus Art Exhibition as well as featured poster art designers.
  • Northwest Rooms – Music and Dance Workshops have moved from the Northwest Rooms and EMP Learning Labs to the Armory Lofts (3rd Floor of the Armory), as the NW Rooms are now home to our partner, KEXP.
  • Narrative Stage – Will now be held in the JBL Theatre inside of the EMP Museum.
  • All Ages | All Day – This programming moved to Monday (formerly on Sunday) and will be held in the EMP Museum’s Sky Church. The programming this year will highlight the vibrant Hip Hop community of the Northwest.
  • Armory Improvements – Two workshop spaces are now located on the 3rd floor, in the Seattle Center’s newly refurbished conference rooms.
  • Jamming Hot Spots – Check out the Festival map for Jamming Hot Spots – New areas designated for open jams.

Getting Here

You might notice some construction around Seattle Center—if you’re driving to the festival, please take note!   The Seattle Department of Transportation is working with Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center to ensure open and clearly marked access to the Seattle Center campus for the 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival. For complete, up-to-date information on current street conditions, click here.

There are many great options of how to get to the festival!  The Seattle Center Monorail can whisk you to the Center from downtown in 90 seconds. Fifteen Metro bus routes serve Seattle Center from around the region, and there is easy access by car from both Interstate 5 and Highway 99.  Plentiful parking is available.  Public transportation to and from the Northwest Folklife Festival can be planned by going here.

Festival Tips from the Folklife Crew:

  • Coming to the festival with your family? Designate a safety spot on Seattle Center grounds where you will meet in case of separation.  Folklife draws around 250,000 people each year and the Seattle Center can get very crowded.  Having a safety spot can help in these situations!  Also, if you or a member of your family is lost—find any of the Folklife staff or volunteers (look for a Folklife badge or vest) and they can help!
  • Drink water!  There are water fountains in most of the indoor venues at Folklife.  Bring a bottle and fill it up!  Also, look for the plethora of delicious drinks options available from our food vendors.
  • Looking for performer CDs?  All performers are encouraged to sell CDs next to their stage before and after their performance.  Look for them then or find them online through links on the Folklife Schedule.
  • Check out all of the performers, workshops and more coming to Folklife and start planning your weekend!  You can make your own personal festival schedule using our online schedule.  But remember to keep yourself open to discovering new things!  There are over 800 performing groups at Folklife this year, so you might find yourself waylaid by a new group you had never heard of!  Try something new—learn to play the didgeridoo or dance the tango.  The possibilities are endless… 

We’re very excited for Folklife this year and we hope that you are too!  Can’t wait to see you all at the Festival!


For the LOVE of FILM – SIFF Film Center and Folklife unite. Part One.

In partnership with SIFF Film Center, the 2014 Festival presents bold and local films throughout the entire weekend. Come join us in the Film Center and get inspired!

Part One: This year, the Festival’s Cultural Focus celebrates India and their culture! We will be exploring and sharing India’s ancient history, unique heritage steeped in traditional arts, and its people, many of which have traveled from the country of their origin to various parts of the world taking with them the message of their culture. Some of these experiences can be found in features films like: Sita Sings the Blues – directed by Nina Paley, The Lunch Box – directed by Ritesh Batra, The Sound of Mumbai : A Musical Documentary– directed by Sarah McCathy and One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Daas – directed by Jeremy Frindel.

Sita Sings the Blues, Director: Nina Paley Friday, 2PM

Sita Sings the Blues is a 2008 musical written, directed, produced and animated entirely by Nina Paley. This light-hearted version of the traditional Indian tale of Ramayana, a classic text in Hindu mythology, is cut up into four different artistic styles that blend together to convey the artist and directors own experiences, views, and perspective on the ancient Indian epic. The aspect of the story focuses on the relationship between Sita and Rama, gods incarnated as human beings, who even they can’t seem make their marriage work. Set in the 1920s, this satirically animated tale tells the story of Rama on his journey to save his wife Sita from the nearly invulnerable king of Lanka, Ravana. The entire movie is geared around Sita and Director Nina Paley and their misfortune with their unsuccessful romantic endeavors in a comical powerful way. Director Nina Paley describes it as “a tale of truth, justice and a woman’s cry for equal treatment”.

The Lunch Box, directed by Ritesh Batra Sunday, 2PM

The Lunch Box is an extraordinary drama about love, loss, and yearning between two strangers who shares their feelings through romantic notes. The legendary Dabbawallahs of Mumbai, India, deliver millions of lunchboxes a day throughout the city. They pick up containers packed by housewives and using public transportation takes them to the husbands’ desks. This love story begins when lonely housewife lla (Nimrat Kaur) decides to try adding some spice to her stale marriage by preparing a special lunch for her neglectful husband at work. Unfortunately, the delivery goes astray and, unbeknownst to her, is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a governmental employ, lonely widower and a grumpy old man who is getting ready to retire. Curious about her husband’s lack of response, lla adds a note to the next day’s lunchbox, and thus begins an unusual friendship in which Saajan and lla can talk about their joys and sorrows without ever meeting in person.

The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical Documentary, Director Sarah McCarthy

Saturday, 2:55PM


For one emotional night, a group of slum children in Mumbai, India, get a chance to experience a different world and fosters hope as their lives change forever as they perform, The Sound of Music with the backing of the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and with Austrian professor and conductor Johannis Steinwender .With the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein as an undercurrent, the film follows them into their homes, giving glimpses of hard lives with little prospect for improvement. Director Sarah McCarthy wisely pitches much of the film through the eyes of the young man, whose own pressure to succeed coupled with a pure enthusiasm is both heart-breaking and infectious. Regarded by his family as their last hope to rise out of poverty, charming 11-year-old boy Ashish, is given a small solo in the performance and invests considerable hope in what this will do for his future. With a sort of “Slumdog Millionaire” syndrome, Ashish constantly reminds himself in writing or by talking to himself in the mirror that he needs to stop feeling self-conscious and have the confidence in order to be successful. His natural charisma suggests that he could go far if given the right opportunity.

One Track Heart: Story of Krishna Das, Director Jeremy Frindel

Monday, 12PM

One Track Heart: Story of Krishna Das is a 2012 documentary about a young musician named Jeffrey Kagel in the 1970s, who walked away from the American dream of rock ’n’ roll stardom by turning down the lead singer slot in the band that would become Blue Oyster Cult. He sold all his possessions and moved from the suburbs of Long Island to the foothills of the Himalayas in search of happiness and a little-known saint named Neem Karoli Baba. The Story of Krishna Das follows Jeffrey Kagel’s journey to India and back, his struggles with depression and drug abuse, and his eventual emergence as Krishna Das—the world-renowned spiritual teacher, chant master and Grammy-nominated recording artist. Krishna Das is one of the most popular singers of Indian devotional music in the world. Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, this musicial genius has been called yoga’s “rock star.” This film reveals remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, and has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time.




Meet the 2014 Festival Poster Designer

Northwest Folklife is thrilled to have The Art Dept. create our design for the 2014 Folklife branding and poster! The Art Dept. is a charming mom and pop boutique creative firm — melding love, attention to detail and pure art into their finished eye candy masterpieces: just take a look at the 2014 festival poster for proof! Helmed by two artists Peter and Sarah Berkley, The Art Dept. offers clients a wealth of creative services, from design to photography, filmmaking and the written word.

The Festival is honored to be working with this marvelous talented duo again! We wanted to continue our amazing friendship with The Art Dept. after they created a stunning poster for this year’s Winter Fireside Party! We’re grateful for the extreme amount of beauty and dedication The Art Dept. has created for this year’s festivities.

Introducing the Trad Stage! Join Us for a Pub Crawl

In celebration of the Broadway Musical “Once” showing at The Paramount Theatre (May 27- June 8, 2014), Northwest Folklife will be celebrating with the sounds of Irish Music…and beer.

Catch Carrigaline on Monday, May 26 at 3:20PM on the Trad Stage

The musical “Once” tells the tale of a Dublin street musician that finds inspiration with a beautiful young woman who is also a fellow musician. Locally based Irish musicians, Carrigaline Celtic Band and other guests will be playing traditional music, talking about their unique instruments, and giving insight to the importance of pub culture in Ireland on

Monday, May 26 at 5PM in the Fisher Green Beer/Wine Garden.

This event is part of an Irish Pub Crawl produced with our partners Seattle Theatre Group that will continue off Festival grounds following this introduction at the Festival.

Catch Carrigaline Celtic Band and other British Isle performers on Folklife’s newest stage, the Trad Stage!  The Trad Stage (sponsored by Fretboard Journal) will feature some of the best traditional musicians of the Northwest, and will pull from the programming from past year’s much-loved Northwest Court Stage. See you at the Festival!

Kierah Raymond performs on Saturday, May 24 at 7PM on the Trad Stage

Grab your partner for a contra dance!

Long lines go forward and back. Promenade across and shift one place to face a new couple. Ladies chain across, star left one and a quarter, allemande right your “shadow” and look for your partner to gypsy left one and a half around. Find your partner: balance and swing!

roadhouse_dancers-13If this sounds familiar and your feet are already beginning to move just imaging the formations and the music, you alreadyknow Contra dancing is always wildly popular at Folklife with hours of dancing each day of the festival and many of the best contra dance bands from around the Northwest.  And you’ve also begun to anticipate a Contra dance party unlike any other in the United States; one huge hall full of some of the best Contra dance bands, dancers and callers anywhere in the country.

But if you’ve never contra danced, why not give it a try this year at Folklife? It is riotous fun – and its basic steps are easy to learn. You’ll never find a better place to start Contra dancing than Folklife. A caller leads a “walk through” before the music starts and then prompts the dancers while the music is playing. The dance moves are nothing fancy, just simple walking steps in time to the music.

Contra dancing is derived from English country dancing and was brought to the American colonies by 18th century settlers. The “Virginia Reel” is an early example. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were avid contra dancers. Dancers dance to live dance bands, which may include fiddles, flute, guitar, piano, and bass. Occasionally you can hear drums, saxophone, or trombone.

Bob “Mac” McQuillen

This year, we are mourning the loss of Bob McQuillen, a contra dance musician who was well-known and loved nationally, but held a special place at Northwest Folklife.  He had performed at the Festival for many years and was influential to generations of dancers and musicians.  The Rhythm Rollers will be doing a special set honoring Bob McQuillen and playing many of his original tunes in the Roadhouse (Fisher Pavilion) at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 23rd.  We also plan to have a tribute wall to honor Mac—a place for people to bring and share stories and photos about his life.

The full Contra dance schedule will be online soon. So whether you’re a beginner or a pro, plan to join us for a spin around the dance floor. We’ll see you in the Contra line!

2 Days Until our Winter Fireside Party!

Fireside Logo

We’re looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.

We’re counting down the days to our first annual Winter Fireside Party this Saturday, January 25th at the Vera Project. We’ll have a limited number of tickets available at the door so if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, order your tickets now:

Still planning your day? Click here to view the schedule for the day!

You can also purchase tickets for the Northwest Fiddle Tour! Start off the day at the Vera Project and then head up to the Phinney Neighborhood Center to experience a whole day of fiddlers.  Between the two events, you will have the chance to hear a wide array of many of the best players of all different styles and backgrounds in the Northwest!  Save money and get a discounted combined ticket to both events.

Folklife Founders, Vivian & Phil Williams

Northwest Fiddle Showcase

Winter Fireside Party, Vera Project – Seattle Center Grounds, 4pm

One of the highlights of Northwest Folklife’s Winter Fireside Party will be a Northwest Fiddle Showcase, an excited and fast-paced show of both up-and-coming new fiddlers and some pillars of Northwest Fiddle traditions. The show will feature fiddlers of various different styles including Bluegrass, Mexican music of the Tierra Caliente, Cajun twin fiddling and more.  We’ll be featuring some of the hottest young fiddlers in the Seattle scene such as The Onlies, a band of teenage traditional music superstars, as well as some of the most celebrated and experienced tradition bearers, such as Vivian and Phil Williams, who have been documenting and performing Northwest fiddle music since the 1950s.  Paul Anastasio, Karen England and Jim Newberry, and Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband) will also perform to create this cross-generational fiddle extravaganza.  Please join us on January 25, 2014 at the Vera Project on the Seattle Center grounds for the Winter Fireside Party starting at 2pm with the Fiddle Showcase at 4pm.

Seattle Folklore Society’s Fiddler’s Showcase Concert

Catch Paul Anastasio on the Northwest Fiddle Tour!

Seattle Folklore Society, Phinney Neighborhood Center – 6532 Phinney Ave N, 7:30 pm

The Seattle Folklore Society presents an evening with some of the finest traditional fiddlers in the Pacific Northwest on January 25th at 7:30 at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. Featured Fiddlers are: Jeff Anderson – Norwegian American; Paul Anastasio – Tierra Caliente and Western Swing; Gary Lee Moore – Oklahoma/Texas; Jamie Fox – Metis/Northern Plains; Ramon Selby – Old Time Northwestern/Western Swing; Hank Bradley – Southern string band.  Hosted by Stuart Williams.

Get your tickets now for the Northwest Fiddle Tour:





Winter Fireside Party Schedule

We’re counting down the days until our Winter Fireside Party; a benefit for Northwest Folklife on January 25, 2014 at the Vera Project on Seattle Center grounds. We’ll be featuring some of your favorite Northwest performers on three stages! Doors open at 1:30PM, programming starts at 2PM…and will continue until 11:00PM.

Let the excitement begin…

Main Stage –  Featuring Square Dancing, Northwest Fiddle Showcase and Full Bands

Square Dance with The Onlies! Main Stage, 2:00pm

2:00pm – Square Dancing with The Onlies and Caller Gabe Strand

4:00pm – The Northwest Fiddle Showcase at 4pm highlights a varied line-up of some of the best fiddlers in the Northwest such as Phil & Vivian Williams, Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband), Karen England & Jim Newberry, The Onlies, and Paul Anastasio.

5:45pm Jason Dodson & Kevin Barrans of The Maldives

The Sojourners, Main Stage, 7:00pm

7:00pm The Sojourners
8:15pm Ravenna Woods
9:30pm The Shivas

Gallery StageSpecial acoustic performances in the Vera Gallery include:

2:30pm Juliana & PAVA
3:30pm Orville Johnson
4:30pm Vikesh Kapoor
5:30pm Baby Gramps

And don’t miss the Folklife Fireside Tent presented by KEXP: a cozy, outdoor heated and fire-lit space for jams and conversation with musicians:

2:15pm Phil and Vivian Williams
3:15pm Swing Jam with Paul Anastasio
4:15pm Les Pamplemousses
5:45pm Old Time Fiddle Jam with Tony Mates
6:45pm Blues Jam and Q+A with Orville Johnson
7:45pm Cajun Jam with Whozyamama
9:00pm Balkan Jam with Marchette DuBois

Join the Balkan jam hosted by Marchette DuBois in the KEXP Fireside Tent, 9:00pm

(Food and drink available in the venue.)

Purchase a ticket today for a full day of music, dancing, food, and friends.

Already have plans on January 25th? Consider making a donation of $25 or more to Folklife and support the largest community supported Festival in the nation.


Now Accepting Performer Applications

CallGraphic1Northwest Folklife invites musicians, dancers, community groups, artists, storytellers, and instructors to participate in the 43rd annual Northwest Folklife Festival, which will take place May 23-26, 2014, at Seattle Center.

If you or your group is based in the Northwest region, including Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana, this is a great opportunity to share your music and traditions!

The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest FREE community arts festival in the United States. It is presented each year in Seattle by Northwest Folklife, a year-round nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to appreciate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Last year Northwest Folklife programmed over 6,000 performers in 65 different genres of music, from Hawaiian to hip-hop. We presented dance performances representing cultures from Ireland to India. We believe everyone is a bearer of folk arts, and we encourage communities to share their cultural traditions, in the hope that interaction with new audiences will enrich the community as much as the audience.


Interested in how we select bands and performance groups? Click here to read our Programming FAQ.

Still have questions? Email our programming team now.

Jam Hawaiian Style at the Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival

Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival Features A Feast for the Senses 

livealohaSeattle Center Festál presents Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, in Seattle Center Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof. The festival provides a feast for the senses as visitors journey through the sights, sounds and tastes of Hawaii.

The Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival celebrates what it means to “live aloha.” Hawaiian music, hula, ono food, Hawaiian crafts, hula, music and flower making workshops honor this special culture. 2013 highlights include:

  • Two stages of live Hawaiian music and hula featuring award winning headlining Hawaiian duo Kupaoa from the island of Oahu!
  • Kanikapila Tent – bring your ukulele or other instruments and jam to Hawaiian favorites
  • Children’s activities at Live Aloha’s Keiki Korner
  • Hawaiian Storytelling Stage where you can hear stories about Hawaiian legends
  • Hawaiian workshops including:  flower making, Hawaiian language, and the art of ukulele and Hawaiian slack-key guitar
  • Musubi eating contest!
  • Hawaiian foods, snacks and marketplace


Seattle Center Festál, a series of 22 celebrations presented by community organizations with support from Seattle Center, considers themes of importance to ethnic cultures in our region, revealing their common forms of tradition and expression, while highlighting their unique contributions to the Pacific Northwest and the world.

Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival is produced in partnership with Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival Committee. For more information on Live Aloha, visit Click on or call 206 684-7200 to learn more about Seattle Center Festál and other outstanding public programming offered at Seattle Center.


About Seattle Center Festál

Seattle Center Festál 2013 presents a series of 22 world festivals on weekends throughout the year highlighting the distinct cultures and common threads of ethnic communities in our region through traditional and contemporary art, music, foods, youth activities, workshops and more. This collection of cultural events is produced with the generous support of Coca-Cola, The Boeing Company, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, Real Networks, and KUOW 94.9 Public Radio. Additional support is provided by 4Culture, Washington State Arts Commission and the City of Seattle.