According to Encore Media Group, the publishing company
responsible for creating programs at 18 Seattle-area arts
organizations, Seattle has the most arts-related business,
institutions and organizations per capita in America. But
according to Jeffrey Hirsh, Encore’s content director,
for-profit organizations like Seattle Art Museum dominate
the publicity, leaving their smaller yet more numerous
non-profit counterparts in relative obscurity.
In March of this year, Encore, along with in-kind
donations for marketing and website development and a
$100,000 Anne V Farrell Leadership Award from the Seattle
Foundation, made a “soft-launch” of Take Part in Art—an
arts coalition of 135 non-profit organizations geared toward
democratizing access to Seattle’s art community.
Take Part is a cross-disciplinary arts resource center,
which is completely free to its participating organizations
as well as its website visitors, at takepartinart.org.
Currently the website offers a calendar listing for the 135
participating organizations and a bi-weekly drawing for free
tickets to shows around the Seattle area. But starting with
an official public launch in September, Take Part expects to
largely expand its services and public appearance.
“We’re looking to be the most comprehensive and
authoritative site for arts in Western Washington,” said
Hirsh. “Eventually we plan to be a craigslist for Seattle
The expanded site will have a place for audience members
to discuss shows and patrons to discuss survival of the
arts. They also plan to have a one-stop resource center for
materials, audition listings and everything else that goes
into creating dance, visual art, theatre, opera or music, as
well as a ticket office for all participating organizations.
Underneath the surface Take Part is trying to change the
way they look at producing, promoting and supporting art.
Three months into their experiment it’s difficult for
Hirsh or fellow founder Kelly Tweeddale of the Seattle Opera
to determine the future of their success. Developing a
resource for cross-pollination of artistic appreciation and
seeing groups of different sizes, budgets and interests
working together is their biggest step toward the future.
“I believe the more cross-over and the more
collaboration you have, the stronger you all are,” said
Tweeddale in an interview with seattleactor.com. “Our
focus is really on that audience that knows it would like to
participate in art, but doesn’t know exactly what it wants
Find out more about utilizing Take Part in Art as an arts
organization or patron at takepartinart.org.