ArtsWest is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts organization with programs in theater, visual art, and education. Since November 1988, ArtsWest has presented over 1,100 theater productions and art exhibitions. ArtsWest’s mission is outward-facing, one that measures success by response and not by the simple production of art. Requiring conversation from the production of art constructs a perfect confluence of tolerance, understanding, and intellectual growth.

Mission Statement
ArtsWest produces artistic events that are so fiercely compelling that they require conversation, improve the imagination, and promote cultural vibrancy as a core value for the communities of Seattle.

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PO Box 16152 
(206) 938-0963 

Laura Lee 
Managing Director 


ArtsWest Programs

Theater Company
As a theater company, ArtsWest’s work is based on the premise that good art inspires good ideas and encourages the kind of healthy, non-harmful debate that builds a sense of community. We rally around the idea that producing plays and musicals that fit our mission by inducing conversation is more important than the simple production of the plays. We adhere to the notion that for theatrical art to be significant, it has to be a means to an end, rather than the end itself. Each year, we produce a full season of mainstage plays (5-6 productions).

Art Gallery
As an art gallery with a free admission policy, ArtsWest exhibits and sells the works of renowned Puget Sound artists for the enjoyment and engagement of people from all over the region. We produce 6-9 full exhibitions per year, showcased beyond our regular free admission hours with artist talks, art walks and additional special events.

As an arts education leader, ArtsWest is nationally renowned for its summer youth programs. ArtsWest is one of only three arts organizations in the United States to receive three successive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of the Theater Education Program. ArtsWest's Theater Education Program serves area youth of all demographics. In 2014, we offer a Theater Conservatory for ages 13-18 and two Musical Theater Academies for ages 8-12.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

From 1999 - 2013, ArtsWest has provided an estimated direct positive economic impact of over $5 million. And, because ArtsWest is by far the most prominent arts organization in West Seattle, that $5 million might have a) been spent in other parts of the city; or, likelier, b) not been spent at all. ArtsWest’s financial well-being is crucial to the financial well-being of the Junction and of West Seattle.

Now, the time has come to take our past successes on stage, in the classroom, and in the gallery to a higher level. The theater needs studio mirrors for rehearsals, a new sprinkler system, new seating, improved sound and lighting, video, stage, and shop equipment, and decking hardware. The gallery needs a projector and display podiums. Replacements of worn out items are needed in some cases; in others, we need the capability represented by the capital improvement itself. Tremendous success has been achieved to date with worn and inadequate theater and gallery fixtures and equipment. Just imagine what might become possible with the help of the community!



ArtsWest is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts organization located in West Seattle with programs in theater, visual art and education. As a theater company, their work is based on the premise that good art inspires good ideas and encourages the kind of healthy, non-harmful debate that builds a sense of community.

Proven Success
During the economic downturn, when many arts organizations are seeing ticket sales drop, ArtsWest has had ticket sales increase in each of the last three years, including record-shattering sales in 2010-2011. This also includes a 17% increase in season ticket sales, an area that has been particularly lacking for many other organizations. Additionally, art sales from their gallery are up, as they have worked to more closely align the gallery and mainstage work. They attribute this success to their shift to a strong mission-focus, and evaluations have shown they are being meeting their goals.

Best Practices
In 2006, ArtsWest leadership took a deep look at the organization and revised the mission to be much more focused. Since that time, the organization has remained committed to this mission-focus, and attributes much of its success to that. They focus on using tested tools, including an evaluation developed by London’s International Theatre Council and the New Economics Foundation, allowing them to better measure impact as it relates to their organizational goal of starting a conversation.
Additionally, ArtsWest uses only local artists and provides real wages (and pays taxes) for every rehearsal, tech, and performance hour.

ArtsWest is led by a well-respected Executive Director who has helped lead them toward the strong mission-focus to which the organization attributes its current success. He has served as a constant and strong connection between the board of trustees and staff.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/10/2008 $35,000.00support the Full Speed Ahead Capital Campaign.


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