Bellevue City Council Directs $1 Million to Arts and Culture Fund

December 1, 2017

Our CEO Mitchell Smith, quoted in this article, continues to support and lead in the Puget Sound area's arts community.

Bellevue has its annual arts fairs each summer.

There’s the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the youth theatre, dance classes, art classes, galleries and that’s just scratching the surface.

And with a directed $1 million spread out over five years, the Bellevue City Council has made a statement: the city values its arts and culture.

The council voted Monday to take the money, which comes from the council’s contingency fund of $1.5 million collected over seven years, and set up an arts and culture fund through a new project in the 2017-23 Capital Investment Program plan.

From 2018-22, $200,000 will be put into the arts and culture fund. Just how those funds will be used, however, is yet to be determined.

During a public hearing for the Capital Investment Program and mid-biennium budget, representatives from the Bellevue Arts Museum, KidsQuest and the Pacific Northwest Ballet requested the council consider their needs when making a decision on how the funds would be allocated.

Mitch Smith, who is president-elect of the Bellevue Arts Museum board, thanked the city for its continued support in past years and asked if it would consider a $100,000 grant in 2018.

“Why? Impact, impact, impact,” Smith said. “Your investment in BAM will enable the museum to become an even greater asset to the community while raising its value as a regional attraction.”

Smith said the museum presented its strategic plan in 2016 and this year, they delivered. The plan, coupled with the hiring of Ben Heywood as new executive director, has put the museum in good financial shape as they are positioned to “be in the black month to month.”

However, in 2018, the museum will launch its $10 million fundraising campaign to “secure endowment for long-term financial success,” Smith said.

Executive Director of KidsQuest Putter Bert asked the city for $500,000 for their capital campaign. KidsQuest moved to its Downtown location from Factoria in…

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