A core part of TPS’ mission is to advocate for the theatre community. As part of that mission, we at Theatre Puget Sound have been working the past three weeks to understand the sudden and unexpected news regarding the proposed oversight of 4Culture by the King County Council. After careful examination of ordinance #2018-0086 and conversations with King County Officials, it is clear that part of the intention of this legislation exists in an effort to correct a perceived inequity of funding within 4Culture, and not simply as a means to gain control of the organization. However, the how of any decision is just as important as the why; poor timing, haste, and the lack of discussion and collaborative feedback from the arts community have overshadowed the equity the sponsors of this ordinance had perhaps intended, and once again a measure to increase inclusion was created without transparency. Ultimately, the work of equity and inclusion cannot exist within a vacuum if true systemic change is to occur.
4Culture has a long history of supporting small organizations and funding less traditional projects and organizations, often led by and supporting people of color. That said, it is important for any organization which seeks equity to create space for marginalized voices to ensure the systems are, in fact, equitable. We believe this ordinance will not help create that opportunity. If the King County Council does hope to correct an imbalance they believe exists within 4Culture, the members should work in concert with the communities they wish to elevate and only propose legislation which is rich with the voices most likely to be impacted by the decision-making process. In our opinion, this ordinance does not currently represent those voices.
We at TPS therefore urge the King County Council to work in conjunction with the arts community and the voices they wish to elevate, in order to ensure marginalized communities are part of any decision making process.
How can you help?
- Write your council member and let them know that proposing additional oversight of this agency without any meaningful engagement of the arts community will only exacerbate the ability for 4Culture to fund the diverse portfolio of projects.
- Join us at the public meeting on February 21st at the King County Courthouse at 9:30. Voice opposition to how this legislation was created.
- Advocate for more intersectional POC representation on the board and governing bodies of our funding agencies.
This is an opportunity for the community to create the systemic change we have been calling for, but we need to ensure that any change is created with and by the voices of those most impacted.
We are so proud of our membership’s passion regarding this issue and sincerely thank you for supporting our diverse community as this legislation moves forward.