Document Type

Case Study

Publication Date



Cassie Chinn; Kathy Hsieh; Vivian Phillips


Susan Kunimatsu


The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (OAC) played an important role in implementing the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), introduced by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to address institutional racism within the City government. This case study examines how the RSJI influenced the office’s internal and external processes and practices, and how it has caused a ripple affect across many arts organizations in Seattle. From 2004 to 2008, Nickels, through the City’s Office of Civil Rights oversaw the initiative and focused on addressing internal inequities prior to engaging the community. In 2008, a strategic plan was implemented to address racial disparities externally, in partnership with community members and stakeholders. Since it began implementation of the RSJI, the Office of Arts & Culture has experienced positive outcomes ranging from more equitable grant funding to increased access to arts spaces for people of color. This initiative is just starting to gain momentum and will continue to contribute to the City and other Seattle arts organizations.

Organization or Event

Seattle Office of Arts and Culture; Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs; Seattle Arts Commission

Form of Entity


Area of Activity

Funding, Support to Arts Organizations, Support to Artists, Community Development

Artistic Discipline

Multidisciplinary, Heritage