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Executive Constantine and 4Culture announce historic investment of $20 million in regional cultural facilities


King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Executive Constantine and 4Culture announce historic investment of $20 million in regional cultural facilities


Executive Constantine today joined 4Culture and County Councilmembers to announce Building for Culture, a one-time investment of about $20 million in cultural facilities across King County, including theaters, performing arts centers, and museums.


To support economic growth and improve access to cultural spaces for all, King County Executive Dow Constantine today joined with 4Culture and County Councilmembers to announce “Building for Culture” – a one-time investment of approximately $20 million in cultural facilities in our region.

“As a region, one measure of our quality of life is the strength of the arts and heritage that catalyze creativity and fuel the imagination – the very qualities that drive our region’s booming economy,” said Executive Constantine. “The venues that house these assets – theaters and performing art centers, history and art museums – these create community. They provide gathering places where our diverse histories are interpreted and shared. With Building for Culture we’re reinvesting money, paid by visitors, into the facilities that continue to attract more visitors and locals alike.”

Building for Culture is a one-year expansion of 4Cultures’s annual arts and heritage facilities grant program, and will go to build new facilities as well as expand, preserve and improve existing ones. The approximately $20 million in grants will be financed by bonds backed by a portion of the County’s hotel/motel tax revenues.

The program is made possible by the early retirement earlier this year of bonds that originally financed Kingdome renovations. Under state law, revenues from that fund must be dedicated through the end of this year to arts and heritage facilities.

“As a proud supporter of arts and culture in our region, I am pleased to help launch King County’s Building for Culture program,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “King County is rapidly growing and this program will invest our region’s current economic boom back into the arts, cultural, and heritage organizations that retain and shape our collective history by providing them with the needed places to work and grow.”

“Our commitment to sound financial policies has resulted in paying off the Kingdome debt early,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “This prudent financial oversight has led to a surplus that will be used for economic development and livability efforts focused on local arts, cultural and historic preservation projects."

“From regional programs to very local endeavors, arts and culture enrich our communities and lives deeply,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “These funds provide a needed opportunity to invest in the health and sustainability of essential organizations.”

“This is a great opportunity to create jobs and support vital public spaces,” said County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “Working together we can invest in projects that honor the cultural and artistic heritages in communities throughout King County.”

King County arts and heritage projects of every size and type will be considered, organized in a way to ensure equitable distribution of funds to organizations of all sizes and capacity and in all areas of the county.

Project budgets will determine how much funding an applicant may request:

  • Projects with budgets over $10 million can receive up to 5 percent of their total budget.
  • Projects with budgets from $1 million to $10 million can receive up to 10 percent of their total budget.
  • Projects with budgets under $1 million can receive up to 25 percent of their total project budget, with a minimum request of $10,000.

“4Culture has backed bonds for capital projects in the past, but never on this scale,” said Alka Badshah, President of the 4Culture Board of Directors.

An additional grant program, Saving Landmarks, will award funds for highly-visible, well-planned projects dedicated to the rehabilitation or acquisition of landmark properties. Saving Landmarks projects must have a minimum budget of $60,000 and demonstrate a one-to-one cash match. Owners of historic properties may request $30,000 to $250,000 for projects that are underway and close to shovel-ready.

“ArtsFund applauds the County’s investment in this region’s future,” said Mari Horita, President & CEO of ArtsFund. “Building for Culture creates an opportunity to leverage additional funds from the private sector, ensuring the public and private sectors are working in tandem to strengthen arts facilities across the county."

Nonprofit organizations, public agencies and stewards of Landmark properties can apply online starting Friday, July 17. Proposals are due by Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5 pm.

All applicants must attend a 4Culture workshop or speak directly with a program manager before applying. Proposals will be reviewed by peer panels that will make funding recommendations based on the quality, feasibility and impact of the project. All awards must be approved by both the 4Culture Board and the King County Council.

Questions about the Building for Culture project can be directed to:

4Culture is the cultural services agency for King County, a tax-exempt public development authority that has invested in King County cultural facilities for 25 years. Building for Culture is the fourth, and most significant, bond-backed grant program the agency has implemented.


Frank Abe, Executive Office, 206-263-9609
Christina DePaolo, 4Culture, 206-263-1588

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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