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Take Part in Art!

Words: James Fraser

Images: Joe Laney

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.

Take Part in Art image 1In 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.

Take Part in Art image 2“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 arts.”

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.

Take Part in Art image 3Underneath 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 to do.”

Find out more about utilizing Take Part in Art as an arts organization or patron at takepartinart.org.

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