The 2019 Mayor’s Arts Award Recipients are Here

Posted on August 06, 2019, 10:17 am
9 mins

We’re less than a month out from Labor Day, which in Seattle means Bumbershoot, which kicks off each year with a ceremony honoring the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award recipients. Recipients can be individuals or organizations that have had a profound impact on the local cultural landscape. This year’s honorees are Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), Dani Tirrell, Delbert Richardson, Intiman Theatre, and Marcie Sillman. 

In the words of a statement released by the mayor’s office this morning, “The Mayor’s Arts Awards are a chance to shine a light on amazing arts and cultural contributors in Seattle, and to celebrate the work they’re doing to advance equity and justice.” Check out the official awards page for past winners.

The Award Ceremony is on Thursday, August 29 at 4pm at the Charlotte Martin Theatre at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Recipients will be presented with an original artwork award by KT Hancock, a local, emerging artist working in glass and metal. More below about the honorees from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture:


Center on Contemporary Art

Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art. CoCA has been a vital part of contemporary art in the Northwest for nearly 40 years, and has operated galleries and produced events throughout the Seattle area since 1981 when over 100 artists, local business owners, and arts supporters formed the organization

CoCA has continued to question the status quo of the existing art scene by challenging the social and political meaning of art and artists in contemporary society. The organization, staff, board and members have encouraged experimentation from artists through gallery exhibits, music and dance performances, residencies and discussion forums. CoCA has a long history of providing an inclusive space for emerging and established artists to make and show their creative efforts. CoCA continues to champion diversity of community, culture, race, ethnicity, and gender for their Board, Volunteers, Staff, and Artists, and address the disparities that often challenge arts organizations and society. Executive & Artistic Director, Nichole DeMent; Gallery Manager, Katelyn Johnson, MA; Board President, Eddie Reed, EdD; and Board Chair, Judith Rayl, MD, PhD, currently manage CoCA.

Dani Tirrell

Dani Tirrell (Seattle, WA) is A Black, Queer choreographer, dancer and movement guide. Dani has guided people in Detroit and Seattle as well as sharing movement practices in other cities in the United States. Currently Dani is the curator for the 2019/2020 season of Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, this is Dani’s second season as curator. Dani is the host and co-creator of Sunday Dinners, and served as the student advisor for the Arts Diversity Council at University of Washington (Seattle campus).

Dani is the founder and current artistic director of The Congregation a movement/art collective that is led by mostly Black and Queer bodies. Dani is currently teaching at Northwest Tap Connection and University of Washington Seattle campus and Bothell campus (fall 2019). Dani has created work for Dance This (Northwest Tap Connection), Strictly Seattle (advance/professional track), Seattle Repertory Theater, Nina Simone Four Women (Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton).

Dani also was at the helm of four sold out shows, for Dani’s production of Black Bois (On the Boards). In 2019 Dani was the recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship Award and a Dance Crush Award for Black Bois (performance). Dani also received a 2018 Arts Matter Fellowship grant. Dani current work FagGod in collaboration with Anastasia Renee and Naa Akua was presented in Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas 2019/2020 season.

Delbert Richardson

Delbert Richardson, is an ethnomuseumologist, Second generation storyteller, and the founder of the American History Traveling Museum: The “Unspoken” Truths. This National Award Winning mobile museum is geared primarily towards the self-empowerment of Black and Brown COC (Children of Color). With the use of authentic artifacts, storyboards, and the ancient art of “Storytelling”, Mr. Richardson’s goal is to inspire youth in the areas of identity development and self-actualization. His multi-sensory “hands-on” exhibit creates a unique opportunity for attendees of all ages to appreciate the courage, perseverance, resilience, and determination, of Black/African American people and the many contributions that have made to the world.

The “Unspoken” Truths American History Traveling Museum chronicles the rich history of Africans in Africa prior to American Chattel Slavery, the experiences and impact of American Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow Era, and the many contributions African Americans have had in scientific, cultural, and technological (inventions) innovations in the U.S. and the world.

Intiman Theatre

Intiman Theatre’s mission is to Wrestle with American Inequities. Intiman is a professional theater company in Seattle, Washington who in recent years was awarded three 2018 Gregory Awards for their Outstanding Production of a Musical (Dragon Lady),  three 2018-19 Teeny Awards for being an awesome org, creating work that most artfully illuminated a social issue or sparked civic dialogue, most transformative theatre experience as well as the 2006 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.  Intiman is overseen by Artistic Director Jennifer Zeyl, Executive Director Phillip Chavira, and Board President Daniel Nye. The company retired a historical $2.7m in debt & obligations in 2018, with thanks to the community for keeping Intiman alive and flourishing.  We are grateful to share a Free for Everyone ticketing initiative with our audiences made possible by our Community Ticket Project.

Since its founding in 1972, Intiman Theatre has presented 240 productions to Seattle audiences. Among the more recent of these are HIR by Taylor Mac, WILD HORSES by Allison Gregory, NATIVE GARDENS by Karen Zacarías, ANGELS IN AMERICA by Tony Kushner, TROUBLE IN MIND and WEDDING BAND by Alice Childress,  and BOOTYCANDY and BARBECUE by Robert O’hara.

Intiman produces in various venues throughout Seattle, which include the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Central District, The Erikson Off Broadway, 12th Avenue Arts, Velocity Dance Center, UW Jones Playhouse, Seattle Center Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Alhadeff Studio and Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center.

Marcie Sillman

Marcie Sillman, arts and culture reporter at KUOW, arrived at the station in 1985 to produce the station’s daily public affairs program, Seattle After Noon. One year later, she became the local voice of All Things Considered, NPR’s flagship afternoon news magazine. After five years holding down the drive-time microphone, a new opportunity arose. Along with Dave Beck and Steve Scher, Marcie helped create Weekday, a daily, two-hour forum for newsmakers, artists and thinkers. During her career, more than 100 of her stories have been heard on NPR’s newsmagazines, as well as on The Voice of America. In 2005, she became KUOW’s first special projects reporter. In this role, she produced in-depth audio portraits and documentary series about life and culture in the Puget Sound Region. In September, 2013, Marcie was part of the team that created The Record, a daily news magazine focused on the issues and culture of the Puget Sound region. Marcie writes regularly about Seattle’s dance scene for national publications and at her blog, “And Another Thing.” Her book “Out There: Jonathan Porretta’s Life in Dance” was released in 2016 by Seattle Scriptorum publishing house.

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.