The Seattle Arts Voter Guide engages candidates and the community around critical issues in the arts. This nonpartisan guide aims to prompt dialogue between candidates and the arts community, and inform voters about candidate platforms on the arts for municipal elections in Seattle. This guide is nonpartisan and Seattle University does not endorse nor oppose any of the candidates.

Origins: The guide was launched in 2019 by Professor Jasmine Mahmoud and her MFA and MPA students at Seattle University in her 2019 MFA in Arts Leadership course “Public Policy and Advocacy in the Arts.” The guide resumes again in 2021 for the City of Seattle Mayoral and City Council Primary Elections.

Fall 2021 Arts Guide Research Associates: Madeline Berkman, Jackson Cooper, Stefanie Fatooh, Carol Roscoe, and Kati Simek

Summer 2021 Graduate Students: Adetola Abatan, Samantha Anderson, Madeline Berkman, Jackson Cooper, Stefanie Fatooh, Tres McMichael, Alex Mielcarek, Carol Roscoe, Austin Sargent, Kati Simek, Arielle Simmons

Summer 2019 Graduate Students: Andrea Ashton, Rachel Ballister, Aubrey Benasa, Jill Beckerman, Erin Burrows, Sadiqua Iman Crutcher, Katrina Fasulo, Linnea Ingalls, Grace Lansing, Kaelyn McGowen, Paige Petrangelo, Megan Torgenson, Sam Van Waardhuizen, Tyson Walker, L.E. Webster

Our original process: for fairness, our class debated how to engage each candidate: asking the same questions to each candidate versus tailoring candidate-specific questions. The result was a process that combined both. Split into teams based on district, each student researched and contacted 2-4 candidates, asking general questions, and also often candidate-and-district-specific questions. We encouraged candidates to answer any of the questions sent, so that the result was less of a structured survey, and more of an email style interview to understand how each candidate engages the arts.

Background and Purpose: A decade ago, Seattle had the most arts organizations per capita of any U.S. city, and the city continues to top lists for cities with the most Arts Vibrancy, the Most Creative Cities, and the highest proportion of working artists. Critical issues of access, creativity, displacement, homelessness and housing, income inequality, journalism, preservation, and racial equity interact with the arts in Seattle. The guide seeks to engage Seattle residents (including residents, community members, and candidates) around these critical arts issues.

Press: The Seattle Arts Voter Guide has been featured in Stephan Cox’s Indivisible Podcast, and Brangien Davis’s weekly Arts & Culture Newsletter for Crosscut.

Contact: arts@seattleartsvoterguide.com