Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to Receive $125,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has been approved for a $125,000 Our Town award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support Stories of Belonging. This is one of 51 grants the agency approved nationwide to support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes to help lay the groundwork for systemic change centered around equity.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

“We know public art makes our city more vibrant, welcoming, and inspiring by providing an outlet to share the unique and dynamic stories of Seattle’s cultures and communities. This grant is an exciting opportunity to activate Delridge and the Chinatown International District, and to further embed arts, performance, and storytelling into the fabric of our neighborhoods.” – Mayor Bruce Harrell

Stories of Belonging is a partnership between Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Wing Luke Museum, and Delridge Neighborhood Development Association that aims to elevate community voices and support a culture of belonging throughout the station planning process of Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions Project. The project will fund collaborations between artists and community members in the Chinatown International District and Delridge corridor neighborhoods to generate artworks centered on belonging. Works emerging from this community-led process might include activated storefronts, community dance performances, poetry workshops, temporary visual art installations, films, audio tours, and more.

Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions Project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Seattle’s history. It will add nearly 12 miles of new light rail service, a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel, and 13 new or expanded light rail stations. The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development, and Seattle Department of Transportation are working in partnership with Sound Transit to engage the communities most impacted and create neighborhood and transportation plans that both support these significant investments and center community in the station planning process.

Stories of Belonging will enhance this work by focusing on two of these communities, Chinatown International District and the Delridge corridor. Both communities have endured a long history of harm from racial inequity and infrastructure investments that have not centered the voices of communities of color in the process. Stories of Belonging will provide an opportunity to bring these communities together to document the lived experiences and oral histories of their residents and businesses to align the station planning process with community values.


To learn more about how the City of Seattle is supporting community in coordination with Sound Transit, visit seattle.gov/opcd/ongoing-initiatives/lightrail-expansion-in-seattle.

For more information about Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project, visit wsblink.participate.online.  

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.