Simple Gifts – Projects

All of Us Belong

Ives Project

In the 2016–2017 season, the Seattle Symphony partnered with local organizations to present an innovative performance of Charles Ives’ New England Holidays in February 2017. In a series of workshops leading up to the concert, members of the community worked with visual artist Becky Aitken to reflect on the holidays represented in Ives’ composition through the lens of their own experiences. Seattle’s Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna created new poems to bring together Ives’ story with the stories of our local community. Ives’ New England Holidays is a work of art that sparked conversations, inspired reflection, and amplified the voice of participants to build deeper connections to our community partners and for audiences experiencing this music in the concert hall.


Claudia Castro Luna is Seattle’s Civic Poet, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellow. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MA in Urban Planning, a teaching certificate and an MFA in poetry from Mills College. She is the author of the chapbook This City, published by Floating Bridge Press. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, City Arts, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, among others. Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.

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Becky Joy Aitken is a Seattle-based artist, illustrator and educator. In her own art, she enjoys transforming found objects into quirky illustrations. As an art educator, she loves walking with her students through the creative process in hopes of helping them discover their own creative joy. In her work as a teaching artist for the Seattle Symphony, she has the privilege to combine the joys of music and visual art as a means of inviting a diverse community to participate with the Symphony in experiencing the power of music. Becky holds a Masters of Fine Art in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her illustration and animation work has won awards from American Illustration, Applied Arts Annual and International Motion Art Awards.

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In the Lutheran tradition of caring through service, Compass Housing Alliance develops and provides essential services and affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in the greater Puget Sound region.

Veteran Programs: Military veterans experience post-traumatic stress, injury and other unique challenges as they return from duty and re-integrate into society. Compass Housing Alliance offers a variety of programs and housing that meet the specific needs of military veterans and their families, so that the men and women who served our country are not forgotten.

Cascade Women’s Program: Since 1999 Cascade Women’s Program has provided a safe place to live and access to vital resources for homeless women in Seattle. The sobriety-intended program provides 32 units of transitional housing for women, along with case management and support from a skilled, compassionate staff. Residents may stay in the program for up to one year while working to overcome barriers to housing.

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Mary’s Place is a nonprofit organization that empowers homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives. Mary’s Place provides respite, nutrition, safety and shelter in a setting where self-confidence is restored, hope is discovered and a new future begins. Mary’s Place opened in 1999 as a drop-in day center for single women. In response to the increasing numbers of families experiencing homelessness, Mary’s Place currently operates six emergency night shelters for families and two day centers.

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Rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel imperative, Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services are outreaches of the Catholic Church in Western Washington, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Seattle and the Boards of Trustees. Their employees and volunteers come from many faith traditions to serve and support poor and vulnerable people through the provision of quality, integrated services and housing. Their focus is on those individuals, children, families and communities struggling with poverty and the effects of intolerance and racism.

Learn more about Dorothy Day House at