About 4Culture

BACKGROUND ON 4CULTURE AND THE LODGING TAX
Funding for 4Culture will end in 2012 unless citizens, Representatives and Senators work to change state legislation this year.

WHY ARE LODGING TAXES A STRONG INVESTMENT THROUGH 4CULTURE?

4Culture invests $4.5M every year in artists & arts/heritage organizations and activities in King County. This is the single largest source of contributed revenue available in our community on a regular basis for artists, arts organizations, heritage organizations and heritage/preservation projects.

In 2009 alone, 4Culture provided financial support to:

  • 168 individual artists & small arts groups
  • 211 arts organizations
  • 37 heritage organizations
  • 87 cultural facilities
  • 24 landmarks (preservation $$)
  • 40 individual specialists for heritage projects and education curricula
  • 17 heritage collections projects

Additionally, lodging tax funds supported 4Culture programs that gave
  • 18+ KC school districts support for integrated arts curriculum training to principal-led teacher teams
  • 400+ performing and visual artists presentation opportunities through 4Culture Site Specific
  • 30+ visual artists exhibition opportunities in Gallery4Culture and the electronic gallery e4c
  • 100+ performing artists promotional support through the 4Culture Touring Arts Roster
  • 100+ heritage sites promotional support through Destination Heritage tourism brochures

4Culture is also home to King County’s award-winning Public Art Program.

These activities and more make our region an attractive tourist destination. They enhance our quality of life, define our sense of place and serve as a powerful economic driver for our local communities. The small investment of lodging tax for culture ripples throughout the local community, making art and history programs accessible; keeping neighborhoods active, safe and walkable; and employing thousands of residents throughout our region.

HISTORY OF 4CULTURE AND THE LODGING TAX

In 1990, the state legislature passed a law allowing a portion of KC lodging taxes to be used for arts and culture. 4Culture has stewarded these funds for 20 years. When the law was originally crafted, it had an expiration date of 2012 – and required that a portion of the tax be set aside for an endowment that would sustain the programs of 4Culture after 2012. Unfortunately, due to changing economic trends, there is not enough in the endowment account to maintain the level of support currently provided by 4Culture. If 4Culture began to operate solely off the endowment, the funding available for the cultural field would be cut by 75%.

Therefore, if new legislation is not passed to augment the endowment and designate future uses of lodging taxes for culture after 2012, 4Culture will need to start winding down programs and services. This cut of resources will obviously be devastating to many small non-profit organizations, artists and community-run programs in every corner of King County, and to the people employed in this sector.

WHAT ELSE COULD BE FUNDED WITH LODGING TAXES?

The arts and heritage funding we are working for is just a small percentage of the available visitor taxes. Traditionally, lodging taxes have also paid for the construction of stadiums, and support of the convention center. The legislature’s obligation is to disperse these taxes among a variety of causes that can steward tourism, while potentially addressing some of our regional economic and social services issues. Other issues that may be in a bill with 4Culture include: low-income housing, heath and human services programs, regional centers publically owned facilities, and support for cultural districts (like the International District). Our opportunity is to position arts and culture at the center of these various goals. Culture is part of the solution to regional problems.