Arts & Culture as a Driver of Downtown’s Revitalization

5th Avenue Theatre

Downtown Seattle is the center of the region’s arts and culture sector, hosting dozens of renowned museums, theaters, galleries, live music and performing arts venues. The sector comprises 10.3% of Washington state’s GDP, and downtown is home to two-thirds of Seattle’s total art sector jobs. As venues were forced to close during the pandemic, local arts organizations saw a 45% decline in employment in 2021.

The arts community continues to face headwinds and, in response, DSA has taken a central role to help spur progress in this critical sector as part of downtown’s overall revitalization. In August 2023, DSA formed a work group comprised of local leaders within the arts and culture community to identify current challenges and opportunities. At the end of this initial process, the group reported to the broader community on key issues and preliminary recommendations to guide the work going forward.

To continue the momentum, DSA launched an Arts and Culture Coalition made up of public and private partners from across multiple sectors, co-chaired by DSA Board Chair Sung Yang of Pacific Public Affairs, and Jeff Draeger, COO of SAM. Coalition members will contribute their perspectives and expertise to augment and refine the initial recommendations; identify specific action steps; facilitate strategic cross-sector partnerships; and support advocacy efforts. Additionally, the group will organize periodic in-person gatherings to inform members on specific issues and provide support around key advocacy milestones.

For more on this ongoing initiative or to join the coalition, contact