Seattle Arts Fellowship invests in future arts leaders of color

Friday, November 20, 2020

BIPOC may apply for paid fellowship with Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Classical KING FM, and Pacific Northwest Ballet

Deadline to apply: Feb. 1, 2021

Four leading arts organizations are coming together to launch the Seattle Arts Fellowship— a new initiative that supports emerging leaders and administrators of color.

“Black, Indigenous, People of Color are an integral part of what this art form should be now and in the future both on stage and behind the scenes,” said Christina Scheppelmann, General Director of Seattle Opera. “With the Seattle Arts Fellowship, we invest in their voices, and in their leadership.”

The fellowship was initially seeded through Seattle Opera’s efforts and grants from Opera America. Now, in addition to the opera, presenting institutions include Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Each organization will offer a fellowship in areas ranging from Marketing, Community Education, Artistic Planning, and Broadcasting (starting in 2022) at Classical KING FM 98.1.

“There is nothing more important than cultivating new perspectives and voices for both the broader arts landscape, and for our own organizations,” said Brenda Barnes, KING FM CEO. “We are thrilled to be included in this groundbreaking program.”

The Seattle Arts Fellowship is available to individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) or as ALAANA (African/African American (diaspora), Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American/Indigenous, and Asian Pacific Islander).

Candidates must be 18 or older. The program is designed for those who have just entered the workforce such as college graduates or those transitioning into nonprofit arts careers.

In addition to the fellowship itself, this new initiative includes racial equity trainings for the leadership, board, and staff at each of the four institutions.

“We are dedicated not only to equal representation across our staff, board, and artists on our stage, but to building meaningful opportunities for BIPOC to gain access to leadership positions in arts administration,” said Krishna Thiagarajan, President and CEO of the Seattle Symphony. 
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with our partners on the Seattle Arts Fellowship, as we all seek to redefine the role of our industries. We will use our artists, stages, and partnerships with nonprofit and corporate leaders to help bring forth the next generation of leaders.”

Fellows will receive hourly compensation at the rate of $24 an hour plus full benefits commensurate with what full-time employees receive. (Relocation expenses will not be covered). The experience will include hands-on work experience in arts administration, as well as leadership training, skill building, mentorship, and networking. Finally, the fellowship cohort will engage in peer-to-peer learning, connect with local arts leaders, and build a strong network to support their career development.

“PNB is thrilled to be working with these organizations in making a meaningful investment to diversify our workforces, embrace anti-racist learning agendas and action steps, and more fully reflect our community across every part of our organization,” said Ellen Walker, Executive Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Seattle University will also serve as a program partner and adviser on curriculum for the Seattle Arts Fellowship, providing financial aid to candidates who are accepted to both the fellowship and SU’s MFA in Arts Leadership. Candidates can apply directly at or contact Kevin Maifeld, Program Director at for more information.

The application deadline to apply for the Seattle Arts Fellowship is noon on Feb. 1, 2021. Selected fellows will be notified in the spring and begin work in summer 2021. For more information, go to or email


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