Seattle Arts Commission

About Us

The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the ARTS office. Commission members include artists, arts professionals and other citizens with diverse backgrounds and strong links to Seattle's arts community. The mayor appoints seven of the commissioners; the City Council appoints seven, and a 15th member is selected by those 14. An additional commissioner is selected through the YMCA's "Get Engaged" program.

Mission

The Seattle Arts Commission supports the City by advocating for arts policy, creating access for equitable participation in the arts, and fostering enriching arts engagement for all residents.

Commitment to Racial Equity

The Seattle Arts Commission emphatically shares the Office of Arts & Culture's Commitment to Racial Equity. As an advisory body grounded in our common pledge to fostering racial and social justice, we leverage our collective strength and breadth of knowledge to advocate for racial equity in arts policy, programming and funding. We do this work by centering communities of color in our united effort with the City to help build a just and liberated society for all.

Meetings

The Seattle Arts Commission meets on the second Tuesdays of every month at 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Please refer to the City of Seattle Boards & Commissions Calendar for further information.

Contact the Commission

seattle.artscommission@seattle.gov

Vivian Hua

Vee Hua

Co-Chair

Bio + -

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication REDEFINE, and co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. In 2022, Vee released the short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project. They're presently a pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota. 

Vanessa Villalobos

Vanessa Villalobos

Co-Chair

Bio + -

Vanessa Villalobos is a performing artist, choreographer, producer and non-profit consultant from Lima, Peru with Indigenous, African and Spanish ancestry. She presented hundreds of original works and danced with companies in New York, Seattle, and more. She has degrees in Theatre and Dance from the University of Washington and earned her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University.  She co-founded creative company VANICH Multimedia (NY) and is the founder of BALORICO.dance (WA). She is a seasoned Teaching Artist having worked in many public and private schools in Seattle and New York. Trained in contemporary, ballet, jazz and Ballroom Theatre Arts, she is a certified American Ballroom Rhythm & Smooth instructor. Film credits include MadHot Ballroom and Walt Disney's Enchanted where she was a principal dancer. Her dedication to racial equity is expressed through her community work with 501Commons, the Covid-19 Response Alliance, La Sala, the Dance Educators Association of Washington and Seattle University's Center for the Study of Justice in Society. Vanessa's cross-industry expertise has brought forth opportunities to help influence funding decisions on behalf of the Washington State Arts Commission, 4 Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

Leslie Anderson Headshot

Leslie Anderson

Bio + -

Leslie Anne Anderson is responsible for the National Nordic Museum’s creative vision as its Chief Curator. She oversees the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, and program functions. Leslie has organized major exhibitions with Sweden’s Nationalmuseum and Finland’s National Gallery, commissioned new work from Jónsi—vocalist for the world-famous band Sigur Rós—and organized his first art exhibition at a US museum, and developed programs featuring Iceland’s President, Ministers of Iceland and Finland, and Ambassadors of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Norway. For COP26, she directed planning of an industry-leading symposium—co-presented with the American Alliance of Museums, the International Council of Museums, and the UK’s National Museum Directors’ Council—that convened speakers in 7 countries to discuss the impact of climate change on Arctic museums.

Previously, Leslie held curatorial positions at Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Indianapolis Museum of Art and taught courses at Brooklyn College and Parsons School of Design. She published in 10 academic journals, curated 20+ exhibitions, and directly stewarded 1,000+ acquisitions of art works. Leslie won the international Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) Award for Excellence (First Place) in 2018 and the Utah Museums Association Award for Excellence in 2020. She is a contributing author for AAMC’s latest best practices guide and a member of the editorial board of the international journal Arts. Leslie serves on 4Culture’s Heritage Advisory Committee and the Executive Council of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. Previously, Salt Lake City’s then-Mayor Jackie Biskupski selected her for the City’s Art Design Board.

A former Fulbright scholar to Denmark, Leslie earned an MPhil (and advanced to doctoral candidacy) in Art History at City University of New York Graduate Center and an MA in Art History at the University of Florida, where she also completed a BA in History. She earned certificates in Scandinavian Languages from New York University, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Business Management (both) from University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. In 2023, the University of Florida Alumni Association selected Leslie for the “40 Gators Under 40” honor.

Kayla DeMonte

Kayla DeMonte

Bio + -

Kayla DeMonte is the Managing Director at Citizen University, a Seattle-based non-profit working to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the US. Prior to this role, she was Director of Programs & Partnerships at the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce and began her career at One Reel, where she managed festival sponsorships, partnerships, and special projects for Bumbershoot and the Family 4th. In addition to her years on staff at One Reel, Kayla has done work with a variety of major festivals and events such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Northwest Folklife, and has been an event consultant for Seattle's Mayor’s Arts Awards for the past several years. Kayla has served in volunteer leadership roles with ArtsFund, The Vera Project, and Leadership Tomorrow and is a proud graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Ricky Graboski

Ricky Graboski

Bio + -

Ricky Graboski’s personal and professional history are intertwined with America’s underground DIY scene. He currently serves as Executive Director of The Vera Project, an all-ages music venue, arts incubator, and community center in Seattle. Before Vera, Ricky coordinated grassroots initiatives in Detroit, worked in musician engagement in New York, and ran a national community organizing training center based in Houston. During that time, he also played in terrible punk bands and volunteered at influential DIY spaces Death by Audio and Shea Stadium in Brooklyn. At Vera, Ricky has dedicated his time to advocating for the DIY scene and community-centered cultural spaces, building all-ages programming at the intersection of art and activism.

Holly Jacobson

Bio + -

"The arts reflect, provoke, question, and connect human beings and the human experience. For a just society to exist, we must ensure access to the arts are available, representative, and part of the thread that binds the fabric of our society together".  With a background in non-profit management, strategic planning and communications, Holly's professional background spans both for-and non-profit institutions. She has created strategic marketing and product solutions for Microsoft, The City of Seattle, The Seattle International Film Festival, and other entertainment and education institutions.  A passionate advocate for social justice, in 2003, Holly co-founded Voter Action, a national non-profit organization with the aim to secure accurate election systems, especially for underserved communities.  Voter Action led a national effort to develop reliable and fair voting practices which helped improve access and standards across the country. Having studied film at San Francisco State University, she has worked in film and is a strong believer in the power of story telling to elevate often unheard voices.  Since 2013, Holly has been the Executive Director of Path with Art, an organization on the forefront of connecting the arts to low income adults living in or recovering from trauma. She has been engaged with the steering committee of With One Voice, an organization supporting International Arts and Homelessness organizations and practitioners across the globe. 

SAC logo

Athena Scott

Arts & Culture

Gülgün Kayim, Director
Address: 303 S. Jackson Street, Top Floor, Seattle, WA , 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94748, Seattle, WA , 98124-4748
Phone: (206) 684-7171
Fax: (206) 684-7172
arts.culture@seattle.gov

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The Office of Arts & Culture promotes the value of arts and culture in, and of, communities throughout Seattle. It strives to ensure that a wide range of high-quality artistic experiences are available to everyone, encourage artist-friendly arts and cultural policy.