4Culture is a Public Development Authority for cultural programs in the state of Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle and 38 other cities in the northwest corner of the state. In 2003 the King County Arts Commission that was established in 1967 to handle allotment of public funds for the arts and culture programs became an independent nonprofit organization. As 4Culture, it now stands as a new model for institutions providing public funds for the arts and culture with the flexibility of an NPO.
4Culture divides its activities into the four realms of Arts, Public Art, Heritage and Preservation and provides grants in theses areas as well as a variety of other programs, all of which play a major role in the cultural development of King County.
In the areas of Arts, Heritage and Preservation, 4Culture provides funding for some 600 organizations and individuals annually, with the total sum of these grants reaching $5,193,020 (2008 figure). This funding goes to King County’s main theaters, museums, arts organizations, local arts commissions and festival organizers as well as individuals. Provisions are also made for cases where support is needed across a group of projects or for emergency needs, and a full range of technical services for needs such as grant application assistance and project operational support.
In the field of public art, a budgeting ordinance of “1 Percent for Art” has been enacted by King County law for public art management and consulting for corporations and government agencies. In addition to budgets for transportation infrastructure, water works, restoration of aging facilities, parks and buildings, King County also promotes projects to make public art a tourism asset.
In addition to providing funding, 4Culture also provides and promotes resources for the arts community, expanded access to arts activities, human resource development and network development and programs encouraging the development of natural resources and cultural tourism.
In recent years there has been particular focus on working in partnership with a variety of organizations in different fields to build a new relationship between communities and the arts. Some examples are support for the Site-Specific King County Performance Network that works with local organizations to conduct site-specific activities using public sites and working with organizations that promote the preservation of historical buildings to refurbish the buildings for use as cultural centers.
- Main Programs of 4Culture
Grants are available in four program areas, Sustained Support for arts organizations on an annual basis, Facilities and Equipment funding for arts organizations, funding for Individual Artist Projects and funding for educational projects. These grants range from $1,000 to $150,000.
Grants are available in the five areas of biennial Heritage Sustained Support for not-for-profit organizations and public corporations, Heritage Cultural Facilities annual funding program. A Heritage Special Projects funding for one-time or short-term ventures by individuals and groups, Heritage Cultural Education Program annual funding and the annual Heritage Collections Care program funding (preserving historical collections, etc.). These grants range in size from $1,000 to $150,000.
There are two funding programs, including the Landmark Rehabilitation Program for stabilization, rehabilitation, and restoration of designated landmark properties and the Landmark Challenge Grants program for prominent construction projects on landmark buildings. These grants range from $1,200 to $25,000.
[1 Percent for Art]
Between $1 million and $10 million a year is designated for the public art projects under the 1 Percent for Art program.
This consulting program partners with communities and organizations in King County to foster best practices in the field of public art.
4Culture’s Public Art Collection program maintains some 2,200 works of public art in King County and supplies information about the collection online.
[Artist Registry/Touring Arts Roster]
This comprehensive registry system lists artists in the areas of public art and the performing arts. Information about pre-qualified artists is provided online.
[Site-Specific King County Performance Network]
This open program works with local organizations to support site-specific activities using public sites.
This program selects emerging artists from King County and provides them with one-month exhibitions at the 4Culture gallery.
This open program provides continuous viewings at the 4Culture gallery of digital film works by artists from King County and around the USA.
[Public Art Map]
A map introducing the King County public art collection is published as a tourist guide.
This information service provides an audio cell phone guide to the public art and cultural heritage of King County.
4Culture produces award-winning programs about arts and heritage in King County for cable broadcast.
This program produces travel guides to the unique agricultural, industrial and maritime history of King County.
In cooperation with King County’s road service, this program researches historical landmarks along the county’s roads.
[Landmarking Washington Hall]
This project undertaken in cooperation with an organization dedicated to preservation of historical buildings is an attempt to preserve and restore to use as a cultural center the historic Washington Hall constructed in 1908.
*These summaries above are based on 2008 programs