The Seattle Symphony strives to be a national leader in arts, innovation, inclusion and creativity, and is dedicated to serving our community. The current global pandemic we face has pushed the Seattle Symphony into a new chapter – for the first time presenting our season digitally from Benaroya Hall. As part of this digital season, the Symphony fully evaluated the safety of our venue and backstage spaces and developed a comprehensive return to work plan with procedures to ensure safe operations. Now well into our digital season, the Symphony aims to not only share our music with the Seattle community and beyond, but also use our digital platform to amplify the diverse voices of the Puget Sound area and give back to the organizations who have helped to shape and grow our region's unique musical and cultural landscape.
The Community Stages Fund is an initiative that welcomes nonprofit organizations to the Benaroya Hall stage for fully-sponsored or highly subsidized use of the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium stage and backstage spaces, digital streaming equipment and production crew. The initiative is focused on serving organizations within our region who do not have access to technology or spaces of their own to produce digital content, which not only impacts their ability to connect with their audiences, but also their ability to fundraise. With the performing arts industry permanently changed by COVID-19, artists and organizations across every genre have experienced unrecoverable losses. COVID-19 has also laid bare many of the systemic inequities that continue to impact BIPOC communities in our region, and we must ensure that our city's racially diverse communities gain equitable access to our concert performance venues. The Community Stages Fund seeks to bridge these gaps and support organizations of all types by providing a digital platform and live stage to share their work.
COMMUNITY STAGES FUND APPLICATION
The Community Stages Fund welcomes applications from all cultural organizations in need of a digital space. Sponsored organizations will receive use of Benaroya Hall's backstage and on-stage spaces, in-house production equipment that includes, but is not limited to, professional audio/video/lighting equipment, cameras, switchers and live streaming equipment, Steinway grand piano, musician chairs and music stands, along with expert union stage crew, and full safety/cleaning services for (up to) an eight-hour session. Based on need, organizations will either be fully sponsored or will be asked to cover direct expenses only (direct expenses consist of hourly stage crew labor and janitorial/cleaning costs; average direct expenses for an eight-hour production typically fall in the $3,500–4,500 range). Applications for sessions longer than eight hours will be accepted, although sponsorship only applies to the initial eight hours. Up to six organizations will be selected to participate throughout the 2021 calendar year, and selection will be prioritized based on demonstrated need of the organization as well as service to racially diverse communities.
Application are now being accepted on a rolling basis for future Community Stages Fund opportunities. First round applications were due February 8, 2021, with initial participants announced March 1, 2021. No more than one application will be accepted per organization.
The selection committee will consist of Seattle Symphony leadership in addition to leaders from partners within the Symphony's Community Connections program. We look forward to celebrating the multitudes of genres, performance styles and voices of the Pacific Northwest, and continuing the Symphony's vital mission to unleash the power of music, bring people together, and lift the human spirit.
The Seattle Symphony's Community Stages Fund is generously underwritten by the Tagney Jones Family Fund at Seattle Foundation.