SoCo Meeting Notes – 1-10-2023

SoCoCulture Meeting Notes – Tuesday, January 10, 1-3 PM

 SoCo Announcements:

  1. SoCo membership renewal request will be coming to your e-mail inbox soon – we would love to have your continued participation in SoCoCulture! Please plan to renew your SoCo membership. Dues are still only $30 annually.
  2. SoCo needs new folks to serve on our Leadership Team – this involves two meetings a year (one in April, one in October – probably by Zoom) to give guidance regarding SoCo services and programming. We need representation from all demographics and all cultural sectors – and we would welcome YOU or someone else from your organization. If you have any questions before wanting to commit, please get in touch with Barbara McMichael at or 206-878-6912.
  3. SoCo also needs someone to take over Treasurer duties – we’re a small affinity organization so there is no tax work involved – duties include depositing membership checks and writing a few checks a year for speaker stipends and website fees.
  4. SoCo hopes to plan field trips to cultural sites around South King County this year – if interested in sharing your site and work with us, please get in touch with Barbara!
  5. SoCo Opps – this is a twice-monthly, opt-in e-bulletin that lets South King County artists and others in the cultural sector know about available artist calls, auditions, job opportunities, grants, etc. – if you or someone you know would like to receive these e-bulletins, contact and put SoCo Opps in the subject line of your e-mail.
  6. Make sure that you keep SoCo apprised of your programs, volunteer needs, exhibits, etc. – so that we can help to publicize them via our website, social media, and word of mouth. Lead time of 4-6 weeks is much appreciated – e-mailing to is the best way of ensuring that we’ll receive your input.
  7. Next meeting: March 6 at Key to Change Studio in Renton – Topic will be on local journalism and what more our groups can be doing to get better coverage for our programming and other efforts. (Sorry that we don’t have a time nailed down yet, but more details will be posted on our SoCo calendar In the meantime, please save the date for us!)

Meeting Notes from SoCo’s 1/10 Panel Discussion on Why the Cultural Sector Needs to Play a Role in Comprehensive Planning

Here is a link to the video recording of most of the meeting: video1703408814.mp4

And below you’ll find brief notes on the presentations made by each of the featured panelists:

Diana Noble-Gulliford, Federal Way Planning Commission, Historical Society of Federal Way President, former Federal Way City Councilmember

  • Federal Way Community Plan in the 1970s fully embraced comprehensive planning, although Federal Way wasn’t a city at the time. At the end of the process, the County realized it had a difficult time
  • 30 year career in real estate – had exposure to a lot of different processes and came to conclusion that comprehensive planning and zoning should be reflective of the community it serves
  • one of the goals articulated in the growth management act is historic preservation – we need to provide input to the planning staff to educate them about historic sites and neighborhoods, including recognition of Native American sites; how do different cultures influence our building codes and zoning
  • important to have a cultural chapter in the comprehensive plan
  • important to learn about different cultures through art, food, buildings

Derek Speck, City of Tukwila Economic Development Director –

  • comprehensive plans are required under state law, and all cities need to have their comprehensive plans updated by 2024
  • it’s a long process – government process can be tiring – hang in there for the long haul! Tukwila Village was a 20+ year project, and the Sullivan Center community space still could be more activated on a regular basis
  • arts and culture should be incorporated in those plans – no need to get too complicated, just express the strengths of the community and where opportunities are for cultural expression
  • try to stay positive – as city staff, we want the community to be happy – but there are so many desires and requests – it’s much easier for staffers to be open and brainstorm with citizens who are helpful problem-solvers – sometimes things can happen by applying political pressure – but ideally, things happen through a collaborative process
  • when testifying – brevity is important – have one representative speak, with lots of people showing their hands to show support

Alex Hunt, City of Burien Planner in Community Development Department –

  • he has worked on Ambaum Corridor and Boulevard Park neighborhood subarea plan to establish a 20-year vision and carry that out through strategic recommendations and zoning code amendments
  • went through extensive community engagement – trying to partner with as many people as possible and get lots of different perspectives, focusing energies on folks who don’t typically get involved in city engagement activities – heard a lot of love for these two neighborhoods – along with a lot of concerns for protecting small, beloved businesses – acknowledgement of need for more housing, more commercial opportunities, and seeing people’s own culture represented (significant Latinx and Vietnamese communities – would love to see more public art reflecting that)
  • during this planning process, the effort by arts advocates to get a Burien Creative District designation from ArtsWA was happening concurrently – needed to get the planning team looped into that and tapped into that vision, as well
  • zoning was a big piece of the puzzle – what you can build – how big
  • why should cultural sector get involved? Because culture is not only personally enriching, but there are economic benefits, too. Community members are vocalizing that they want to have more cultural experiences
  • planners really look to the cultural sector for expertise and input – planners don’t have all the answers, and value the energy that folks are putting into cultural endeavors
  • link to survey:

Cecile Malik, City of Auburn Senior Transportation Planner –

  • comprehensive planning has a lot of different pieces – a key one is land use planning and economic development
  • but how do you get TO those areas, and that’s where transportation planning comes in – you need to share what the challenges are to accessing cultural opportunities and activities (because lack of access also impacts economic development of the area)
  • and to share what is important for cities to plan for and prioritize when looking at the future of the transportation system)
  • look for opportunities to learn more and to share your experiences and observations

Chaney Skadsen, City of Federal Way Senior Planner –

  • we rely a lot on the cultural sector – Federal Way will be the host of new Sound Transit light rail stations – how do you enhance the community experience of these places that will be new transportation hubs – incorporating historic legacies, figures, and using those assets and treasures in a way to build community in the future
  • making things accessible – South King County was built in a way that was auto-centric – through transit orient development opportunities, this will be a chance to build a community’s character and increase communication
  • community vibrancy – planners don’t have all of the answers – there’s a vital and mutually beneficial relationship between the planners and the creative industry, weaving and repurposing historic elements, creating art to enjoy or be exposed to – in making places enjoyable
  • planners are more like gardeners – positioning the set-up and preparing the “soil” – but the community brings the seeds of inspiration
  • advice – as cultural stakeholders, make your concerns and needs heard – if there are barriers, call those out – changes can be made – processes can be revised to be more user-friendly – translators can be brought in – equitable access is important
  • spreading awareness of cultural events – great tourism benefits as well as knitting the community together

Great Q&A following the presentation by panelists – that happens at about 41:00 on the tape

Other presenters:

Inspire WA re Arts & Heritage & Science Week in Olympia updates

AHS Week is happening February 6-10 – South King County has many new state legislators so it is important to participate this year and make sure the newbies are familiar with the cultural sector. Talking points will be provided. Many meetings will be conducted via Zoom, others will be held in person in Olympia. Sign up here to learn more and participate:

4Culture updates

Hiring new staff members, and 2023 grant opportunities are beginning to open!

Thanks for hanging in there and reading through to the end! If you have any questions of me, please feel free to get in touch any time!

Barbara McMichael