In 2015, the Washington State Legislature passed a Cultural Access law allowing any county in the state to put a measure before its voters to fund arts, heritage, and science nonprofit organizations who provide public programs and activities. The law spells out certain requirements that are meant to provide support for public school programs by cultural groups and improve public access to these important organizations.
Here in King County, the program is called Access for All, and would use proceeds from a 1/10 of 1% sales tax increase to provide $67 million annually for 7 years. As the cultural services agency for King County, 4Culture has been tasked with developing a plan to implement the program, working with study groups and input from hundreds of people during the past nine months. The measure is now ready for consideration by the County Council, who will decide whether to place the measure on the ballot for an August 1 vote.
Non-profit arts, heritage, and scientific organizations of every size throughout the county would receive significant support to increase their public benefits, access, equity and education activities.
Here are some of the key elements of Access for All:
- The first 10% of AFA Funds provide transportation, education plans and coordinators, and in-school programs by cultural organizations in all 19 King County school districts.
- Organizations like the Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight, Aquarium and Seattle Theater Group are all major institutions that will participate.
- Every organization participating will work to provide greater access to their facilities and programs, and to provide programs at their sites and at places in south, east, and north King County.
- These funds will provide jobs, improve communication to the public about what programs and services arts, heritage and scientific organizations provide, build facilities for small groups, and create free access to important local attractions.
If you’d like to dive into the full ordinance governing how the program will work, it’s available for download. You can also learn more about AFA from the office of King County Executive Dow Constantine.