Capitol Hill’s Artist Trust preparing for 30-year celebration

A recent study by the Washington State Arts Commission found that Washington as a whole has a creative vitality (measured in terms of creative economy) 2% greater than the national average. King County’s creative vitality index is more than 200% greater than the national average. Capitol Hill might register an even greater figure, which is exactly why Artist Trust continues to call the neighborhood home after 30 years supporting the arts across the state.

One of the first nonprofits in the country to offer direct support to individual artists, Artist Trust has been a vanguard arts institution since its inception. Organizations like it are rare but, executive director Shannon Halberstadt insists, absolutely vital. The equation is simple: if art is valuable, then directly supporting the individuals who produce it is the most effective means of sustaining it.

“Individual artists are so freaking important,” Halberstadt said. “They’re bringing something that’s important to our culture: they’re our storytellers, they’re the people reflecting back to us the beauty that exists in humanity.”

2016 Benefit Art Auction — Call for Art
November 9th is the deadline to submit work for inclusion in Artist Trust’s 30th anniversary celebration slated for February 2016.

Only five more days to submit work for inclusion at Artist Trust‘s 30th anniversary celebration! Proceeds from the auction are directly invested in artists through unrestricted grantscareer trainingopportunities and resources. Donating to the auction is a wonderful way to sustain Artist Trust‘s mission of service to artists of all disciplines in our community.

Seated in her 12th Ave office filled with art and paperwork, Halberstadt said that Artist Trust has arrived at a set of twin milestones, signaling a moment of renewal but also continued growth for the organization that has since 1986 provided support, grants, and professional development to the individual artists of Washington from right here on Capitol Hill.

8446393564_d0e3cb8e48 (1)Artist Trust offers working artists throughout Washington three types of services. The first is through financial grants that range in magnitude from $1,500 to the $50,000 James W. Ray award. Last year alone, 83 artists throughout the state were awarded grants.

The second is through professional development and career training programs. Artists can participate in programs that range from intensive nine-day residencies to two-hour, topic-based workshops. “Most of the time individual artists have to have some aspect of business management to be successful and turn their craft into something that’s lucrative,” Halberstadt says. Artist Trust also offers a laundry list of referred resources and opportunities through its website.

In order to ensure that those resources continue to reach artists throughout Washington, the organization has created an artist liaison position. Katy Hannigan comes to Artist Trust from Shunpike where she worked as a client manager.

“They’re charged with getting out there and making sure that we know all the right people in different communities,” Halberstadt said. To strengthen inter-community connectedness, the liaison will allow Artist Trust to provide services to communities around the state and also respond more effectively to artist needs.

For as much as the neighborhood is changing. stability for larger arts organizations like Artist Trust and Hugo House — planning a new 10,000-square-foot facility to be built as part of an apartment development on the site of its current 11th Ave home — is hopefully a good sign for Capitol Hill creatives. It also helps to be savvy, of course, Artist Trust owns its 12th Ave home after purchasing the space in the early 2000s.

Artist Trust is located at 1835 12th Ave. You can learn more at

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