March 25, 2020

Dear Governor Jay Inslee,

We are a united coalition of non-profit cultural and science organizations and the commercial creative industry. Statewide, we are nearly 18,000 businesses, 70,000 employees, and countless creatives and contractors who drive significant economic activity and spur tremendous social impact. We exist to serve our communities and every city, town, and hamlet benefits from our programs in science, heritage, and the arts. As an economic sector, we add remarkable and recognizable value to Washington’s high quality of life. Culture is vital and inspirational: it ignites curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and connection to other people and the places around us.

We are grateful for your bold leadership during these perilous times and have adjusted our programs for the sake of public health and safety. This pivot has resulted in tremendous and unexpected financial losses. Like never before, our valuable work is threatened, and the survival of our organizations and livelihoods of many are uncertain. While we will continue to follow your lead, we want to be transparent about our immediate losses and long-term threats. We implore you to provide our sector with immediate financial relief and include us in conversations regarding economic strategy and recovery when we move beyond the current public health crisis.

This unprecedented emergency has resulted in staggering revenue losses throughout every branch of the cultural sector, in every city and town. On a normal day, tens of thousands of Washingtonians engage in our programming. But today, our zoos, museums, aquariums, concert and performance halls, science and technology centers, film and recording studios, theaters, galleries, conservation labs, education spaces and offices are closed. Countless people are out of work.

Existing factors make this particularly difficult:

  • The decline in public, foundation, and corporate financial support over the past decade forces many of our organizations to operate on the edge with minimal cash reserves.
  • Resources overwhelmingly go to programming.
  • Many organizations in rural and suburban communities operate with minimal staff, relying on tremendous volunteer support.
  • Limited resources and the loss of consistent media coverage for our sector has meant that audience growth has not kept apace with population growth despite our nationally and internationally renowned organizations.

We don’t have the resources to weather this economic depression, so the first wave of layoffs has begun. This is regrettable because workers need job stability and access to healthcare, but our many organizations are facing crushing debt and potential bankruptcy or permanent closure.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector contribute $41 billion to Washington’s economy, representing 8.3% of the state’s GDP—a larger share than many other industries. In addition to the economy we drive, there’s also the economy we inspire that is measured in the tens of billions. We inspire Washingtonians to put down their devices and leave their homes and workspaces. As result, they hire babysitters, buy a new outfit, pay for parking or use Uber, contribute taxes, and patronize a whole array of main street businesses, like restaurants and bars.

Cultural work also drives tourism and is a major contributor to Washington’s hotel/motel tax collection, especially in our urban communities where we have world renowned cultural assets. This is the valuable economic cultural ecosystem that took decades to nurture and sustains so many interconnected lives in the state. It cannot perish.

Public health and safety come first. And, we are more than cultural workers. We are also the children of frail and elderly parents. We are mothers on chemotherapy. We are caring for children with compromised immune systems. There is no us and them, right now. We are with you in this fight for Washington.

When the conversation focuses on mitigating the financial collapse, arts, culture, science, and heritage organizations must be at the table. When strategies are being developed to get Washington’s economy moving again, we will step up and share our abundant creativity. Who may we speak with immediately to begin building relationships for the sake of Washington’s future?

You are a recognized leader in the arts and culture sector and will continue in that role as we look at economic recovery. More public investment in science, heritage, and the arts pays off with more jobs, better education, and stronger places across the state. Together, we are poised to move beyond this pandemic and expand the cultural sector’s impact on Washington to an even greater level of service, prosperity, and vital human connection.

Sincerely,

Manuel R. Cawaling
Executive Director, Inspire Washington

Cc: Karen Hanan. Executive Director of ArtsWA

Cc: Dr. Lisa Brown. Director of Washington State Department of Commerce

Add your name or organization to this list!

Organizations

American Romanian Cultural Society
Brazil Center
Burien Actor's Theatre
Ethnic Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest
Equinox Studios
Evergreen City Ballet, Bennyroyce Royon, Artistic Director
Folk Voice Band
Freehold Theatre Lab / Studio
Island County Historical Society Museum
The Little Theatre of Walla Walla
Kirkland Arts Center
Kirkland Performance Center
Magenta Theater
More Arts!
The Museum of Flight
Northwest Boychoir
Olympia Film Society
Pickford Film Center
Rad Care
Seattle Aquarium
Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Rep
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra
 Silver Kite Community Arts
Swedish Finn Historical Society
Twelfth Night Productions
Underground Writing
Washington State Jewish Historical Society
WHIM W’HIM Seattle Contemporary Dance Company

Individuals

Lauren Marshall
Theater of Possibility
Seattle & Bellevue, King County
Putter Bert, President & CEO
KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Bellevue, King County
Joan Rabinowitz, ED
Jack Straw Cultural Center
Seattle, King County
Christi Stapleton Keith, ED
Seattle Children’s Museum
Seattle, King County
Samantha Kelly, ED
Youth in Focus
Seattle, King County
Karen Lane, ED
Seattle Men’s Chorus/Seattle Women’s Chorus
Seattle, King County
Kathleen Allen, ED
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra
Seattle, King County
Sam Calhoun, ED
Arts Northwest
Spokane, Spokane County
Karen Mobley
Artist, Writer, Arts Consultant
Spokane, Spokane County
Rachel Perry, ED
Auburn Symphony Orchestra
Auburn, King County
Dan Hudson
Grand Illusion Cinema – Lead Programmer
National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) - ED
Seattle, King County
John R. Purdie II, Interim ED
Mount Baker Theatre
Bellingham, Whatcom County
Joe Mclalwain, ED
Edmonds Center for the Arts
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Débora da Silva Oliveira-Couch, Development Manager
Seattle Music Partners & Rooted in Vibrant Communities Seattle
Seattle, King County
Amber Knox, ED
Tieton Arts & Humanities
Tieton, Yakima County
Laura Pierce
Washington Nonprofits
Statewide
Will Daugherty, ED
Pacific Science Center
Seattle, King County
Betsey Brock, ED
On the Boards
Seattle, King County
Bruce Skinner
Washington Festivals & Associations
Port Angeles, Clallam County
Alejandro Grajal, President & CEO
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle, King County
Amada Cruz, Director & CEO
Seattle Art Museum
Seattle, King County
Melissa Huggins
Spokane Arts
Spokane, Spokane County
Ronda Billerbeck, Director
City of Kent Arts Commission
Kent, King County
Susan M. Coliton, Interim President & CEO
ArtsFund
King & Pierce County
Amanda Budke, Development Director
Kirkland Arts Council
Kirkland, King County
Michael Herschensohn
Queen Anne Historical Society
Seattle, King County
Leigh Ann Gilmer
Cascadia Art Museum
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Aren Der Hacopian
Seattle Opera
Seattle, King County
Krishna Thiagarajan, President/CEO
Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall
Seattle, King County
Josh Anderson, ED
The Center for Wooden Boats
Seattle, King County
Ellen Walker, ED
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Seattle, King County
Davin Diaz, ED
Arts Center Task Force
Richland, Benton County
Ashleigh Rogers, Artistic Director
DrewBoy Creative
Richland, Benton County
Barbara McMichael
South King County Culture Coalition (SoCoCulture)
Seattle, King County
Kim Kamara
Windz of Change Alliance
Seattle, King County
Teresa Thornberg, board member
Mount Baker Theatre
Bellingham, Whatcom County
Bernadine C. Griffin, ED
The 5th Avenue Theatre
Seattle, King County
Karen Hanan, ED
Washington State Arts Commission Statewide
Karen Hudson, ED
Mobius Children’s Museum & Science Center
Spokane, Spokane County
Eric Nelson, ED/CEO
National Nordic Museum
Seattle, King County
Diane Martindale
San Juan Island Museum of Art
San Juan Island, San Juan County
Becky Witmer
ACT Theatre
Seattle, King County
King Khazm
206 Zulu
Seattle, King County
James Miles, ED
Arts Corps
Seattle, King County
Richard Anderson, ED
Northwest Railway Museum
Snoqualmie, King County
Edmonds Art Studio Tour
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Jennifer Hermann, ED
Olympia Symphony Orchestra
Olympia, Thurston County
Sno-King Community Chorale
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Tera Beach, ED
Spectrum Dance Theater
Seattle, King County
Caroline Kangas, Managing Director
Freehold Theatre
Seattle, King County
Frances Chapin, City of Edmonds Arts & Culture Manager
Edmonds Arts Commission
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Tom Mara, ED
KEXP
Seattle, King County
Rachael McAlister, Director White River Valley Museum & Mary Olson Farm
Auburn, King County
Shannon Roach Halberstadt, CEO
Artist Trust
Washington State
Elizabeth Ralston, Founder
Seattle-King County Cultural Accessibility Consortium
Seattle, King County
Julie Ziegler, CEO
Humanities Washington
Washington State
Russell Brooks
Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre
Seattle, King County
Rita Meher
Tasveer
Bellevue, King County
Erin Vivion, board chair
Mercer Island Arts Council
Mercer Island, King County
Dr. AnnRené Joseph, CEO & Educational Consultant
More Arts!
Woodinville, King County
Charmaine Slye
ArtsED Washington
Washington State
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
Seattle, King County
Lorie Hoffman, ED
Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council
Shoreline & Lake Forest Park, King County
4Culture
Seattle, King County
Don Breazeal
Orcas Center
Eastsound, San Juan County
Mary Jane Glaser, President
Maple Valley Creative Arts Council
Maple Valley, King County
Angela Bayler, Managing Director
Centerstage Theatre
Federal Way, King County
Raymond Tymas-Jones, Ph.D., President
Cornish College of the Arts
Seattle, King County
Cindy Parks, Vice President
Fall City Historical Society
Fall City, King county
Roxanne Kröon Shepherd
Bellevue, King County
Monica Miller, ED
Gallery One Visual Arts Center
Ellensburg, Kittitas County
Karina A. Bharne, ED
Symphony Tacoma
Tacoma, Pierce County
Jeffrey Herrmann, Managing Director
Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Keith Watson, President
Black Diamond Historical Society/Museum
Black Diamond, King County
Dominica Lord-Wood, Ph.D, Program Director
Northwind Arts Center
Port Townsend, Jefferson County
Allison Reid, ED
Vashon Center for the Arts
Vashon Island, King County
Connie Cooper, ED
Seattle Chamber Music Society
Seattle, King County
Cary & Sieb Jurriaans
Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio
Langley, Island County
Kevin Malgesini, Managing Director
Seattle Children’s Theatre
Seattle, King County
Jill Barnes, ED
Washington Center for the Performing Arts
Olympia, Thurston County
Justin Raffa, Artistic Director
Mid-Columbia Mastersingers
Richland, Benton County
Danielle Gahl, ED
ArtsEd Washington
Seattle, King County
Patti Greene, President
ArtWalk Edmonds
Edmonds, Snohomish County
I.A.T.S.E. Local 488 Studio Mechanics of the Pacific Northwest
Jed and Renae Dorsey
Jed Dorsey Fine Art
Camano Island, Island County
Erin Johnson, Artistic Director
Velocity Dance Center
Seattle, King County
Kathy McCabe
Pacific Bonsai Museum
Federal Way, King County
Julianna Ross
Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange
Seattle, King County
Steven Galatro, ED
Pratt Fine Arts Center
Seattle, King County
Amy Lillard, ED
Washington Filmworks
Statewide
Rosanne Royer
Co-President, Ethnic Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest
Seattle, King County
Lisa Kranseler
Executive Director, Washington State Jewish Historical Society
Mercer Island, King County
Otilia Baraboi
Executive Director, American Romanian Cultural Society
Seattle, King County
Barbara Center
Pres, Fall City Arts
Fall City, King County
Cyra Hobson
Grants Coordinator, Vashon Center for the Arts
Vashon, King County
Brian Johnson
Executive Director, Admiral Theatre
Bremerton, Kitsap County
Ms Jaynie Roberts
Executive Artistic Director, Magenta Theater
Vancouver, Clark County
Bennyroyce Royon
Artistic Director, Evergreen City Ballet
Renton, King County
Maria Johnson
Executive Director, Northwest Choirs
Amanda Budke
Development Director, Kirkland Arts Center
Kirkland, King County
Jessica Anderson
Operations Manager, Tweflth Night Productions
Seattle, King County
Caroline Kangas
Managing Director, Freehold Theatre Lab / Studio
Seattle, King County
Keri Kellerman
Executive Director, Whim W'Him
Seattle, King County
Ann Rene Joseph
CEO, Education and Research Consultant, More Arts! LLC
Woodinville, King County
Ana P Mendonca
Executive Director, Brazil Center
Kent, King County
Joella Oldfield
Director, Fred Oldfield Western Heritage & Art Center
Puyallup, Pierce County
Rick Castellano
POSITION, Island County Museum
Greenbank, Island County
Taylor Wang
Co-founder, Student Art Spaces
Issaquah, King County
Andre Bouchard
Executive Creative Producer, Indigenous Performance Productions
Olympia, Thurston County
Jen Kulik
Founder & CEO, Silver Kite Community Arts
Seattle, King County
Audrey Henley
Executive Director, Olympia Film Society
Olympia, Thurston County
Smitty Buckler
Executive Director, Rad Care
Seattle, King County
David Martin
Curator, Cascadia Art Museum
Edmonds, Snohomish County
David Brewster
Board President, Edmonds Public Facilities District, Edmonds Center for the Arts
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Mr. Richard West
Board Member, Cascadia Art Museum
Seattle, King County
Jeffrey Herrmann
Managing Director, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Birgit Ages
Manager, Folk Voice Band
Shoreline, King County
Bob Davidson
President & CEO, Seattle Aquarium
Seattle, King County
Michael Herschensohn, PhD
Queen Anne Historical Society
Seattle, King County
Kate Connerty
On the Boards
Seattle, King County
David Bander
Managing Director, Kirkland Performance Center
Kirkland, King County
Mr. Matt Hayes
President and CEO, The Museum of Flight
Tukwila, King County
Elizabeth Falzone
Managing Director, Living Voices
Seattle, King County
Bernadine Griffin
Managing Director, 5th Avenue Theatre
Seattle, King County
Betsey Brock
Executive Director, On the Boards
Seattle, King County
Susie Purves
Executive Director, Pickford Film Center
Bellingham, Whatcom County
Meleta Buckstaff
Costume Shop Assistant, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Seattle, King County
Philip Grad
Treasurer, Cascadia Art Museum
Seattle, King County
Ms. Julie Long
Board Member, Cascadia Art Museum
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Marni Muir
Board Member, Cascadia Art Museum
Edmonds, Snohomish County
Leslie Ray
Board Chair, ACT Theatre
Seattle, King County
Stephanie Hilbert, MS
Board of Trustees, ACT Theatre
Seattle, King County
Sarah Pierre-Louis
Board Member, Act Theater
Seattle, King County
Davora Lindner
President, On the Boards
Seattle, King County
Mr. Richard Bresnahan
Technical Director, On the Boards
Seattle, King County
Samie Detzer
Director of External Relations, On the Boards
Seattle, King County
Charles Smith
Curatorial Administrator, On the Boards
Joy Stewart
Executive Director, Save Habitat And Diversity of Wetlands
Renton, King County
Mrs. Monica Street
Teaching Artist, Coyote Central
Seattle, King County
Nabra Nelson
Director of Arts Engagement, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Michelle Haines
Director of Marketing and Communications, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Elizabeth Choy
Trustee, Seattle Repertory Theatre
Seattle, King County
Mr. John Keegan
Past Chair, Board of Trustees, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
John Stilin
Board Member, Seattle Rep Theater
Redmond, King County
Alyssa Woodbury
Development Apprentice, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Laura Owens
Grants Associate, Seattle Rep
Seattle, King County
Earle "Jay" Hereford, Attorney at Law
Trustee, Seattle Repertory Theater
Seattle, King County
Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD
President, Puget Sound Group NW Artists
Shoreline, King County
Scott Morris
Board Member, Seattle Art Museum
Kirkland, King County
Stuart McLeod
Database Admin, Seattle Opera
LOCATION
Rick Johnson
Director of Finance and Administration, Seattle Aquarium
Seattle, King County
Cyrus Khambatta
Artistic Director, Seattle International Dance Festival
Seattle, King County
Wilson O'Donnell
Associate Director, Museology Graduate Program, University of Washington
Seattle, King County
Sam Farrazaino
Principal, Equinox Studios/ Georgetown Steam Plant Community Development Authority
Seattle, King County
Michael Sandner
Board President, ArtsEd Washington
Spokane, Spokane County
Michael Lafreniere
Managing Director, Tacoma Historical Society
Tacoma, Pierce County
Jake Schaefer
Creative Director, Spokane Civic Theatre
Spokane, Spokane County
Katherine Clark
Lead Artist, Parkeology
Anacortes, Skagit County
Emma Noyes
Member, Spokane Arts Commission
Spokane, Spokane County
Chris Maccini
Arts Commissioner, Spokane Arts Commission
Spokane, Spokane County
Eric Iannelli
Chair, Spokane Arts Commission
Spokane, Spokane County
Betty Tweedy
Box Office & Customer Service Manager,SIFF
Seattle, King County
Gavin Reub
Artistic Director, The Seagull Project
Seattle, King County
Jeremy Odden
Committee Member, IATSE Local 15
Seattle, King County
Luther DeMyer
Dancer, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Seattle, King County
Alicia Nilo
Board Member, Artstra
Vancouver, Clark County
Lisa Kranseler
Executive Director, Washington State Jewish Historical Society
Mercer Island, King County
Chris Moad
Costume Shop Floor Manager, 5th Avenue Theatre
Seattle, King County
Esther Ervin
Owner, Esther Ervin Creative Source
Seattle, King County
Matt Malyon,
Founder & Executive Director, Underground Writing
Mount Vernon, Skagit County
Ryan Dunn
Freelance Theatrical Designer
Seattle, King County
Jean Mandeberg
Artist
Olympia, Thurston County
Jesica Avellone
Actor/Teaching Artist
Seattle, King County
Marygrace Goddu
Inspire Washington Board Member
Olympia, Thurston County
Kelly Dylla
Executive Director, Kirkland Arts Center
Seattle, King County
Maggie Larrick
Managing Director, Burien Actors Theatre
Burien, King County
Kimberly Jacobs
Executive Director, The Swedish Finn Historical Society
Seattle, King County
Meaghan Leferink
Executive Director, Seattle Girls Choir
Seattle, King County
Christi Keith
Executive Director, The Seattle Children's Museum
Seattle, King County
Mikki Jones
Managing Director, The Little Theatre of Walla Walla
Walla Walla, Walla Walla
Mark Williams
Musician, Pacific NW Ballet / Auburn Symphony
Peggy Gannon
Seattle, King County
Mr. Raphael Foster
Renton, King County
Graden Quist
Spokane, Spokane County
Kimberlee Brillhart
Seattle, King County
Philip Malkin
Bellevue, King County
Charlotte Lin
Bellevue, King County
Jay Thompson
Randle, Lewis County
Sam Vance
Shoreline, King County
Emmy Anderson
Seattle, King County
John Benner
Seattle, King County
Sara Bennett
Seattle, King County
Dana Feder
Seattle, King County
David Brown
Port Orchard, Kitsap County
Gems Only
Seattle, King County
Hana Peoples
Seattle, King County
Marlene Lahaise
Seattle, King County
  • Catherine Merlo, CFRE
  • Kelly Sheetz
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  • Becs Richards
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  • Julia Colson