Ethnic Heritage Council Programs
Our sister events Cultural Crossroads and Winter Worldfest, held annually in November, showcase a broad spectrum of performing arts traditions. These festivals reflect the collective cultural heritage of our Northwest community and provide a platform for diverse performers to share and preserve their cultures. Both events sample the most representative professional and amateur ethnic performing groups in the region, creating an extraordinary experience for performers and audiences alike.
The EHC-organized Fourth of July Naturalization Ceremony at Seattle Center has become the largest annual daytime Independence Day observation in the Pacific Northwest. One of the most important events in an immigrant's life, the ceremony acts as a powerful affirmation of the rights and freedoms granted all Americans. This free public event enables the entire community to welcome new citizens to their country while valuing the cultural differences and commonalities that make this country great.
The Ethnic Heritage Council serves as a central clearinghouse and umbrella for ethnic arts organizations. We field 2,000 referral requests each year and publish a monthly newsletter and calendar of events. We collaborate with heritage specialists to host conferences and workshops, teaching ethnic communities how to best preserve and share their culture. We also offer small and emerging ethnic arts organizations pass-through funding and event planning services so they can present their work.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
EHC's 2012 Cultural Crossroads Festival (November 2-4) was a resounding success. Attendance was high, and there were more than 50 performing groups and booths with information on ethnic cultures. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service participated with the goal of reaching out to the community and giving a friendly face to immigration. They succeeded by giving citizenship information and assistance to many who were otherwise intimidated by the process.
The Ethnic Heritage Council has experienced a sharp decrease in individual donations and corporate contributions since the economic downturn of 2008. Funding is needed to support our core festivals and keep them free and open to the public. The majority of donations will go to performer fees as the EHC maintains a strict policy of fair compensation for artistic performances.