SoCo Meeting Notes – 9/14/2023

SoCoCulture Membership Meeting Notes
9/14/2023, 10 AM – Noon





Many thanks to our meeting hosts at the Historical Society of Federal Way – we convened at the Historical Society’s offices at the Steel Lake Annex, across the street from Steel Lake Park in Federal Way.

Mary Ehlis, HSFW board president, welcomed SoCo members and shared what the Historical Society is working on currently. Originally conceived as an archives, the Society now is placing new emphasis on developing exhibits and displays at the Annex that explore Federal Way’s history in the 1930s and 1940s.

In addition, the Historical Society is responsible for the preservation of and programming for the Barker Cabin and David T. Denny Cabins, located at West Hylebos Wetlands Park, 411 S 348th Street. The cabins will be open for the last public viewing of the year on Saturday, October 14, from 11 AM – 3 PM.

Mary said that there is an effort underway to secure landmark designation and begin restoration of the Brooklake Community Center, adjacent to West Hylebos Wetlands Park. In its early years, the building at Brooklake was reputed to be a speakeasy and roadhouse.

Federal Way’s first King County Historic Landmark designation occurred just last year. Camp Kilworth, for over 80 years a Boy Scout camp overlooking Puget Sound, had been in danger of being sold for development. Instead the property was rescued, landmarked, and now has become the Kilworth Environmental Education Preserve.

Following that welcome, SoCo’s Barbara McMichael introduced Sarah Sutton, co-founder and executive director of Environment and Culture Partners, a Tacoma-based organization is having a nationwide impact on helping the cultural sector calculate its impact on the environment.

Sarah’s talk was titled “Culture and a Changing Climate.” She discussed how cultural organizations are adapting to climate change, and suggested some step-by-step practices on how our cultural organizations can work toward minimizing our own carbon footprints, as well as strengthen our resilience in the face of climate change.

You can find Sarah’s slide presentation here: South King County/ECPRS. You’ll find many keen insights and great resources for moving forward in that presentation, but one that seemed so simple and straightforward can be shared right here: be sure to call attention to the climate mitigation efforts you’re already making – let your audiences know if you’re switching to more energy-efficient lightbulbs, or if you’re installing EV plug-ins in the parking lot, or if you’re rewarding people who carpool in to your programs or use mass transit or walk or ride a bike.

We also had a sneak preview of “Living Under the Flight Path,” a documentary by JC Harris and colleagues who recently received a 4Culture projects grant to help finish up the project. You can view the trailer for the film on Youtube here: but JC wants you to know that they are constantly updating that website with additional clips. He invites you to sign up for his mailing list at  and pass that link onto everyone you know and encourage them both to sign up and provide feedback! Barbara suggested that the subject is of such immediate interest and impact on South King County communities that local historical societies, libraries, schools, and other groups may well be interested in offering public screenings of the film.

SoCo members in attendance: 4Culture, Arts Foundation Federal Way, BAT Theatre, City of Burien, Explore Seattle Southside, Historical Society of Federal Way, Museum of Flight, Pacific Northwest Railroad Archives, Renton History Museum, Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Soos Creek Botanical Garden

All other SoCo members please note: this was a really excellent meeting, with terrific, actionable content. But it was not well attended. You are missing out on important professional development and – just as important – essential networking opportunities if your organization does not have representation at these meetings.

4Culture News

With two such excellent presentations, we ran about 15 minutes overtime, but 4Culture’s Jackie Mixon graciously gave a quick update on current 4Culture grant opportunities as well as 4Culture’s current call for submissions to its Poetry in Public project.

SoCoCulture News

Barbara gave everyone that our Bookmarks & Landmarks program is coming back this fall. “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” will pair KCLS librarians with the Thunderdome Car Museum in Enumclaw in October, the Museum of Flight in Tukwila in November, and the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archives in Burien in December. This is a great chance to get into these venues for FREE and enjoy interesting readings and conversations. There will be programs for youngsters, and programs for adults. More info coming soon, in the SoCoCulture E-News and on the SoCoCulture calendar! Watch for it!

Also, our final SoCo membership meeting of the year will focus on the benefits of Main Street Programs and Creative Districts in South King County. It will be held on Thursday, November 9, 9:30 AM-Noon, at the beautiful, just-opened Postmark Center for the Arts in downtown Auburn!

Not announced at the meeting, but for all of you to be aware of, in the first quarter of 2024, we’ll be holding cultural sector confabs – for the “Music” cluster, “Botanical” cluster, “Heritage” cluster, etc. Barbara will be getting in touch with everyone soon to get these on your calendars – we really hope for robust participation – it is SO IMPORTANT for our South King County cultural organizations to support one another and be aware of the great work that is going on in our communities!

And as always, keep SoCo informed of your upcoming programs, classes, volunteer needs, exhibits, etc., so we can help spread the word. Best way to do this is by e-mailing the who-what-when-wheres to

Questions? Get in touch with Barbara any time at the e-mail directly above or at 206-878-6912.

Here’s to a great autumn for everyone! Please keep healthy!