Councilmember Licata left office on January 1, 2016.
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Urban Politics #80: Seattle Neighborhood Arts Celebration

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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.


Seattle Neighborhood Arts Celebration

Last year, I initiated a City-wide celebration intended to honor the many artists and arts groups working to enhance their communities. On February 13, 1999, 25 performers and performance groups, along with 14 exhibiting organizations, persented their work at the Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall downtown. Bernard Harris, Jr., was elected Poet Populist in Seattle’s first such election.

Now in its second year, the SNAC continues to honor under-recognized artists who are productively engaged with their respective communities. The Second Annual SNAC will be held on February 12, at A Contemporary Theater at 700 Union Street. The day (the second Saturday in February) also marks the annual Neighbor Appreciation Day.

This event builds on the work of the Mayor’s Arts Task Force, the “Words’ Worth” poetry readings that begin each meeting of the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee, and the 1998 Neighborhood Arts Conference. The SNAC generates ideas about how better to integrate artists into civic and neighborhood life, and offers reflection on the meaning of the term “neighborhood arts.”

Summary of SNAC 2000:
– Date: Saturday, February 12th, from 4-8 pm.
– Place: the Gregory Falls Theater at A Contemporary Theater, one of the City’s premier performance venues.
– Stage program: music, poetry, dance, and theater staged in a warm, “living room” atmosphere. Performances will be short, to present as many artists as possible.
– Exhibits: selected Neighborhood Arts groups and fine artists will exhibit their work.
– Poet Populist: the popular election of the City’s 2nd Poet Populist will happen at the SNAC. Want to vote ahead of time? Check our website at and respond entering in the subject line (leave the message area blank, please) the name & of the Seattle poet you think best represents the populist
– Artist Housing Handbook: a updated edition of the Artists Housing Handbook (last published in 1980) will be available at the SNAC.

You can help!: Nominate someone to perform. Send information about a qualifying artist or group (see specifics below) ASAP. Please email submittals directly to by this Thursday 1PM. You can also have the artist send in their own information.

Spread the word. Announce at meetings; put the word out over email and other mailings.

Volunteer: we will need help with publicity and event staffing. Please contact Bob Redmond or Frank Video at the contact link below.

Nomination / Application Process: Who’s Eligible: Artists and arts groups working in a neighborhood context or whose work reflects a community sensibility. All disciplines are welcome.

Technical Specifications: Performances must be less than ten minutes. The set will be equipped with sound and lights. Tech needs should be a minimum to allow immediate set changes. Exhibit spaces should be contained in a four-foot (half banquet table) space; or be free-standing artwork.

Submissions: Please send up to two nominations to us c/o the address below, or have the artist(s) you are nominating send a letter. The submissions should include:
1. a description of the artist’s work to date;
2. a proposal for what they would do at the SNAC;
3. a statement about their involvement with their community or neighborhood;
4. a short work sample (preferable), or references we may contact about the artist’s work;
5. complete contact information for yourself, the artist, and any references (include email).

Mail, hand-deliver or email submissions to:

c/o Frank Video (email:
Office of Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata
600 – 4th Ave., Suite 1100
Seattle, WA 98104

Selection and Notification: The program committee will accept 15-20 performers and contact them by early January. Selected performers will receive a small honorarium.

The Poet Populist: The Poet Populist is a writer who moves the general public with their poetry, and who, upon popular election, will help give voice to that public using the gift of poetry. They will help bring the creative arts and imagination into civic life by delivering public readings, publishing on the City’s website, and inspiring others to share their own creativity. The Poet Populist must live within the city limits of Seattle, and will reign for one year or at the discretion of the Chair of the City Council’s Culture, Arts and Parks Committee.

Nominees include, but are not limited to, readers from the Word’s Worth series.

Keep in touch…


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