4Culture follow-up from Aug 29 Inclusion Network Recap

August 29, 2019, Kirkland City Hall, Peter Kirk Room

By: Samuel Rodriguez, CEO, BizDiversity


  • David Wolbrecht – Neighborhood Services Outreach Coordinator, City of Kirkland
  • 4Culture staff, Deb Twersky – Deputy Director and Willow Fox – Administration


David introduced the 4Culture staff and thanked them for being part of the regular Inclusion Network meeting. Deb thanked everyone for making time at their regular meeting, and acknowledged we are on the land of the Coast Salish people. She asked everyone to offer recognition and respect for the Native peoples who have been and continue to be stewards of this land.


4Culture wants to serve you more effectively as King County’s cultural funding agency. To help achieve this, we are conducting a study of the cultural health of King County, so we can deepen our understanding of King County’s cultural ecosystem. This will help us and other funders and support organizations more effectively serve the field. This is a long term engagement with the cities and unincorporated areas in King County, we will be utilizing this material for many years to come.

Today we hope to learn how successfully you can access cultural activities in Clyde Hill; what are some shared success stories and challenges can be collectively addressed? This information can help inform the expanded sharing of resources, and help support more equitable and effective outcomes. We will be using the same questions throughout the listening sessions so we can compare communities.

We don’t have a pre-defined idea about what is cultural health, this is something we will be developing in collaboration with the participants in all the listening sessions. Anything you have to contribute to this is very welcome.

There are real issues in our society based on historical oppressions and unequal access to resources. We aren’t going to solve this through our study, but we do hope to learn about what we can do to help everyone in King County feel more connected and have more access to cultural opportunities. Our listening sessions aren’t just about 4Culture’s funding, there’s so much more that can happen in every city. There are things that continue to be barriers, and other funders including the government want to know what these are.

Others who should be included in the conversation are Beth Lenholt; Mona Han – Coalition for Refugees from Burma; Manka Dhingea – WA State Legislator; and Lutheran Community Services immigrant and refugee foster program.

What does a culturally healthy city or town look like to you; how does it function?

  • Inclusion
  • Variety of options – businesses, schools, groceries, shops, restaurants, events, performance and visual arts, music, educational venues.
  • Accessible parks and art.
  • Unique expressions of identity.
  • Visibility – women, every racial group, LGBTQ, all races, no one is hidden.
  • All income levels can live in the city.

What is special about Kirkland’s culture?

  • Public spaces, parks, and trails.
  • Multiple languages spoken in any public space you visit.
  • Kirkland performance center.
  • Good transportation – bus service, bike paths away from roads.
  • A lot of public art, even in neighborhoods.
  • Outstanding public schools and technical college.

What are barriers to the cultural health of Kirkland?

  • Not enough visible celebrations of diverse communities.
  • Used to have more art galleries 20 years ago, now there are only two left; rent is too high for them to continue.
  • The growing diverse community is largely invisible.
  • The Kirkland Art Center purchased their building in 1962, this is the only reason they’re still here.
  • Maintaining historic buildings takes more resources than a nonprofit can sustain without a lot of support.
  • Not enough community gathering spaces.
  • Not enough gathering places in neighborhoods where people can walk to them, leading to feelings of isolation.
  • Affordability – even Kirkland’s public sector employees can’t afford to live here; many people commute from Everett, Renton, and Mill Creek.
  • Lack of funding for arts in schools.

What is the relationship between Kirkland and its neighboring communities?

  • Art of Kenmore produced an exhibit of emerging Latino artists at their City Hall that traveled to Kirkland. This helps give a sense of their culture.
  • Kirkland is the place for art on the Eastside, especially the Kirkland Art Center for classes.
  • Bicycle community connects across the Eastside from park to park, but there’s not a real connection to special places outside of a few standout parks.
  • Kirkland can be a leader to provide more access to arts throughout the Eastside.


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