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Creative Connections


Creative Connections – Purposeful Collaborations Between Artists and Small Businesses

Project Overview 

Beacon Business Alliance (BBA), in partnership with the Essential Southeast Seattle (ESES) Collective, is seeking artists to develop original works that describe and celebrate selected local small businesses and their services, values, and connection to the community.

The project, Creative Connections – Purposeful Collaborations Between Artists and Small Businesses, funded by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, will match Seattle-based artists from a variety of disciplines with small businesses operating in historically underserved neighborhoods of Southeast Seattle. Ten small businesses, identified to reflect Southeast Seattle’s socioeconomic and cultural diversity, will be paired with ten artists. 

Each participating artist will engage in a collaborative creative process with their paired small business, receiving support from BBA project staff to facilitate communication. Language interpretation support will be available as needed. 

Examples of resulting projects could include: mural artwork on the exterior or interior of the small business; an original musical or spoken word composition celebrating the small business; or a video piece that tells the small business’s story. Artists practicing in any discipline are eligible to apply if they can explain how their work will be applied to this project. 

The artistic works that are produced through this project will be featured online and highlighted in a virtual exhibition event. The paired small businesses will be able to use these artistic works (with awarded artists’ credit) in perpetuity to promote their businesses. Participating artists and paired business owners will have the opportunity to provide testimonial, and/or participate in one or more in-person networking events.


Please complete and submit your application onlineIf you don’t have computer or internet access, please contact us at 206-925-3062. 

Opening: Monday, July 24, 2023 

Due Date: Friday, August 25, 2023, 5 p.m. (Pacific) 

Information Session: A virtual information session will be facilitated via Zoom in mid-August 2023.  For details on the information session or with questions about access, technical support, or language support & interpretation requirements for the application, please contact us at


You are eligible to apply for this project if you meet the following criteria: 

  • You are an individual artist, organization, or community-based group located in, or presenting work regularly in, Seattle.
  • Organizations and individual artists representing communities most impacted by systemic oppression including low-income, people with disabilities, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities of color are encouraged to apply. 
  • You have a Federal Tax ID number (Social Security Number, ITIN, or Employee Identification Number) and are based in, or have current and active programming within, the City of Seattle.
  • Individuals and groups applying are not required to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nor are they required to use a fiscal agent. 
  • You may submit only one application to this program. 


Each awarded artist will work with BBA project staff and matched business owners during the project planning and creative process. The artist will receive a payment of $1,500.  Half of this payment will be provided upon signature of a Memorandum of Agreement at the beginning of the project, and the remaining payment will be provided upon delivery of their original artistic work. 

Evaluation Criteria 

Proposals submitted to the program will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Career Advancement: The application presents an opportunity for the artist/group to benefit from exposure to new audiences, production support, and showcasing their talents with a new audience. 
  • Achievability: The applicant illustrates the experience or capacity for growth (including support from experienced partners or collaborators) to execute the project. 
  • Artistry: The application proposes a compelling and authentic artistic/cultural perspective, which would resonate with Southeast Seattle communities.
  • Cultural Relevance: The application prioritizes creatives from Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and diaspora, immigrant, refugee, and other unserved and underserved communities. 


This timeline is an estimate and is subject to change. 

  • July 24, 2023: Application opens 
  • Mid-August 2023: Information session
  • August 25, 2023 (5 p.m.): Application closes 
  • Late August 2023: Panel review 
  • Early September 2023: Applicants notified of funding decisions 
  • Mid-September 2023: Awardee orientation, introduction to paired small businesses, and contracting 
  • October-November 2023: artistic collaboration with small businesses
  • December 2023: virtual exhibition of final works


Please complete and submit your application online. You will need the following information to complete the application.

1) Contact Information – full legal name, mailing address, phone number, email 

2) Artist/Organization Title, Website and/or Social Media Link 

3) Discipline: Describe the artistic discipline(s) in which you work (Maximum 500 words) 

4) Background: Briefly describe who you are, your areas of expertise, key accomplishments, 

and experience producing performances or events, particularly in your artistic discipline. (Maximum 500 words) 

5) Describe your personal and/or artistic connection to Southeast Seattle (Maximum 500 words) 

6) If you were to be paired with a Southeast Seattle small business (e.g. a restaurant, pop-up retailer, catering business, gym, or community service organization), describe your artistic process in developing an understanding of that business’s story (Maximum 500 words)  

7) Schedule availability: Confirm your availability in September-December 2023 to be physically present in Seattle to collaborate with the project team and with your paired small business

8) Working language: Do you communicate primarily in a language other than English?  Please list any other languages in which you have working proficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am an independent artist and do not have a fiscal sponsor.  Can I still apply?

A. Yes, as long as you can provide a Federal Tax ID number (Social Security Number, ITIN, or Employee Identification Number) and meet other eligibility criteria, you can apply.

Q. I live outside of Seattle. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, if you live outside Seattle but have presented work regularly in Seattle and meet other eligibility criteria, you can apply.  You must be available for in-person meetings in Seattle with your paired business during the project timeline.

Q. I have a connection to an existing Southeast Seattle business – can I be paired with the business of my choice?

A: Participating businesses will be identified by project staff.  If you have an existing connection with a specific business, neighborhood, or cultural community in Southeast Seattle, please describe that connection in your application and we will work to pair you accordingly.

If you have any other questions about this application, please contact us at your earliest convenience at or 206-925-3062.


Organizations and individuals receiving awards from BBA must acknowledge BBA’s support in printed materials, signage visible to the public, via social media, or in other ways appropriate to the project. BBA will supply preferred wording and logos in electronic format. 


If applicable (i.e. if your artistic work will be a public performance), award recipients will be responsible for securing and providing proof of Event Liability Insurance for their project, listing the City of Seattle as additionally insured. 


Award recipients are responsible for paying all applicable taxes. Concurrent with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement in September 2023, awardees will need to submit an updated W-9. 


BBA requires awardees for all its programs to evaluate and report on the impact of their awards. This information will be collected after the project is complete, via a questionnaire sent by email. 

Alignment with City of Seattle Arts Funding Policies 

Commitment to Racial Equity: In accordance with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture policy, BBA commits to an anti-racist work practice that centers the creativity and leadership of people of color – those most impacted by structural racism – to move toward systems that benefit us all. We also acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.

We envision a city of people whose success, safety and health are not pre-determined by their race. A city where all artists, performers, writers, and creative workers have the freedom, agency and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences. At the same time, we acknowledge that our actions – both conscious and unconscious, past, and present – have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for communities of color. We work toward our vision by addressing and working to eliminate institutional racism in our programs, policies, and practices.

In alignment with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, we seek new solutions that use arts as a strategy to drive not only our office, but the City as a whole toward racial equity and social justice. We will continue to break barriers and build arts-integrated tools that challenge the status quo and push us toward the inclusive society we envision.

If you have any questions about this commitment or would like to know more about the work that the City of Seattle is doing, please call (206) 684-7171 or email at

Discrimination is not allowed 

Awarded applicants must comply with Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 20.44, pertaining to prevention of discrimination in City contracts, and Chapter 5.44, pertaining to license requirements. The complete text of these City codes is available at the City Clerk’s office and the Seattle Public Library. 

Americans with Disabilities Act 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law ensuring access to services and facilities for the differently-abled. In accordance with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture policy, BBA respects the needs of people with differing abilities and seeks to make available to applicants, participants and, all interested persons information regarding the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its applicability to the activities of our agency. For information about public meetings, accessibility, and auxiliary aids, please contact the Office of Arts & Culture at (206) 684-7171 (voice), or (800) 833-6388 (TDD Relay). The Office of Arts & Culture complies with all federal, state, and local laws that prohibit discrimination in employment and services. 

Supports freedom of expression

In accordance with City of Seattle policy, BBA believes a community that fosters freedom of speech and thought will advance as a society. Artists play an important role in reflecting and challenging the social concerns of the day. The strength of the United States as a nation rests in its tolerance of divergent opinions and ideas. Public support of the arts must similarly tolerate a spectrum of ideas and encourage freedom of thought.


For people who love Beacon Hill’s ethnic, social, and economic diversity, Beacon Business Alliance promotes the neighborhood, connects stakeholders, and more.


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