When the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5834, Liz Stewart, director of the Renton History Museum, and her colleagues at 4Culture, the King County cultural services agency that support the arts and culture in the state of Washington, were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
The Senate bill, which funds arts and heritage in King County using lodging taxes, is what helps keep the —and many other arts programs in Renton—in business.
“It was a make or break year,” Stewart said of the arts and culture bill. Stewart herself to lobby. The $8,000-$10,000 per year the museum receives as a result of this funding enables the museum to sustain and support programs such as the speakers programs and changing exhibits, such as the new which was opened earlier this week.
4Culture supports arts, heritage, preservation, and public art. In Renton, this encompasses programs at the , exhibits at Carco Theater, and the Downtown Art & Antique Walk on August 20.
Suzanne Dale-Estey, economic development director for the City of Renton said passage of the bill means great news for Renton. “It establishes a reliable and ongoing funding source for 4Culture. “
“Renton is working hard to foster a thriving arts and culture community and we supported this legislation (and previous bills) to ensure a permanent, ongoing revenue stream for 4Culture,” Dale-Estey said.
Jim Kelly, the director of 4Culture, said in a letter to the arts community on Blog4Culture that the passage of the bill “said yes to arts, heritage, and preservation.” Kelly gave significant credit to Senator Ed Murray, Representative Ross Hunter, and Senator Scott White, who each played an integral role in passage of the bill.
Stewart also credited State Representative Marcie Maxwell and Senator Margarita Prentice for the support. Both Maxwell and Prentice are members of the museum.
Kelly said that King County’s active involvement was equally crucial to the passage of the arts bill, and an active group of citizen advocates.
A summer exhibit of arts projects by English as a Second Language students from , a Smithsonian exhibit called “Journey Stories” will open in September, and a "top secret" exhibit that will be "something new for the museum," Stewart said. She promised to keep Patch posted when more details of the "super secret" exhibit are available.
“I am truly optimistic for the future,” Stewart said. “This funding is important because we can continue to provide what is important to the community and serving the public and being ever better at what we do at the museum.”