Shaun Scott, District 4 Candidate — 2019 General Election Arts Platform

Candidate: Shaun Scott, Candidate for District 4


Seattle Arts Voter Guide: Describe a meaningful arts experience that has stayed with you over time.

Scott: I was proud to be the Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ transformation of King Street Station into an arts and culture hub. In that position, I spoke to over 400 arts stakeholders in four dozen focus groups. As a freelance filmmaker and journalist, the experience impressed upon me the need to have strong leadership at the city level to look out for artists and creatives–particularly those from targeted communities and underrepresented groups. My experience as a documentary filmmaker and arts advocate is an indispensable aspect of the experience I bring to the table as a City Council candidate. 

Shaun Scott, Candidate for District 4

SAVG: How do the arts reflect the voices and perspectives in your own neighborhood?

Scott: Arts reflect the core of our district- young, poor, queer, trans, Indigenous, Black, and PoC. Especially for marginalized people who have always been at the forefront of creative projects, the arts are how people build community and care for one another. From house shows to murals, D4 has many incredible resident artists and critical art spaces. Last year, artists came together at Cafe Racer to host the first Enby Party, which celebrated nonbinary artists and their work. However, lack of public support for the arts makes it so artists can’t afford to live where they work. 

SAVG: How do you envision the arts as part of the Seattle, especially as part of education, equity, housing, transportation, culture, the economy, and/or community?

Scott: I envision the arts flourishing through protecting artists and creatives. On the campaign trail, we’ve thrown house shows and paid QTPOC artists because we understand the importance of amplifying artists from marginalized backgrounds and materially supporting them. If elected, we will further this aim with the resources of City Hall. I have proposed a freelancer’s bill of rights to ensure that artists can afford to live here.

SAVG: How do you think policy can encourage artists to create work that enhances dialogue on environmental issues?

Scott: In 2010 I received a grant from King County’s arts agency (4Culture) for the creation of a documentary about climate change and Seattle’s environmental history. The best city policies are the one that recognize the arts as an avenue for social justice, and compensate transformative artists accordingly. Youth arts funding programs in particular send a powerful message to budding artists: namely, that their voices matter and their work is worth compensation. As a City Councilmember, I will do everything I can to identify and implement progressive revenue sources that can better fund the arts in the city of Seattle.

SAVG: How have you seen gentrification through the arts impact Seattle?

Scott: We need to recognize that culture is often first line of gentrification. The styles and cultural codes of people of color are upwardly redistributed to privileged groups who have no experience with the political and social experience that bread them. If we’re to be a truly progressive and inclusive city, we must value our arts and culture vanguard at its source: vulnerable groups like African-American and Native artists who have always been the generative source of arts and culture in the United States.