City of Seattle and Partners Host Second Set of Welcome Back Weeks to Support Local Arts and Culture, Encourage Safe Visits to Downtown Seattle

City to Host Three Events Featuring Local Artists and Cultural Organizations as Part of Welcome Back Weeks

Masking and Proof of Vaccination Are Required at all City of Seattle Welcome Back Events

SEATTLE (August 30, 2021) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced a schedule of arts and cultural events that will take place as part of Welcome Back Weeks occurring from September 4 – 19. This is the second set of Welcome Back Weeks convened by the City and partners, with the goal of helping downtown small businesses, arts and cultural organizations, and creative workers recover. This set of Welcome Back Weeks will feature small business promotions across downtown neighborhoods in addition to the arts and cultural events. Details on all events can be found at www.seattle.gov/covidrecovery.

“In July, we helped thousands of Seattleites and visitors take it outside, support small businesses, and celebrate our incredible downtown core through Welcome Back Weeks. We’re looking to keep up the momentum this September with Welcome Back events that feature our resilient creative workers and arts and cultural organizations,” said Mayor Durkan. “Seattle is defined by our historic arts and cultural scene, but this sector has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic devastation. Our goal is to boost this vital industry, bring folks back downtown, and offer a safe way to experience arts and culture amidst the pandemic.”

“The City’s summer Welcome Back Weeks were a huge success, and I’m grateful we’ll be hosting another set of Welcome Back Weeks in September to encourage more people to visit Seattle’s urban core. Supporting and activating Downtown Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods is essential to the city’s long-term economic recovery.  A huge thank you to all the city employees, businesses, community partners and volunteers who make all of this possible,” said Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis, District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia. 

During the first Welcome Back Weeks in July, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) greeted more than 10,000 people at Welcome Back Booths located in multiple downtown neighborhoods. In addition, DSA produced free live concerts in parks and public plazas and hosted three straight days of happy hour gatherings in Occidental Square. All of those events and attractions return for September’s Welcome Back Weeks, with the Welcome Back Booths, sponsored by Alaska Airlines, stationed throughout downtown the week of September 13. Free live music performances will run through the end of the month and Beers & Bites happy hours return to Occidental from September 16 – 18. New this month, DSA will welcome people to take a spin on the Westlake Park Roller Rink, supported by Community Sponsors Amazon and Alaska Airlines. Skaters can roll in the park free-of-charge starting Saturday, September 4.

“There is so much to love about downtown Seattle in the summer and we’re excited to be offering residents, workers and visitors new outdoor events and attractions in September,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “We saw how important the increased foot traffic was for our small businesses during the July Welcome Back Weeks, and that level of activity has carried over. As more people return to downtown we want to ensure they’re coming back to a safe, vibrant heart of the city. The Welcome Back Booths and outdoor events we’re producing are a way to say ‘thank you’ to the people who helping to keep our engine running.”

The first City September Welcome Back event will take place Friday, September 10, at the Paramount. From 4 to 10 p.m., Borealis, A Festival of Light will present free immersive light and sound experiences designed specifically for the historic Paramount Theatre. Borealis will put on four 35-minute presentations throughout the evening, with extended intervals between each show to allow for cleaning and movement in and out of the theatre. Recent Borealis productions including a virtual show on the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve and a Borealis, A Festival of Light Video Mapping Competition at MOHAI.

Proof of full vaccination and masks are both required for entry to this event. Event staff will all be fully vaccinated, masked, and will be checking for proof of vaccination upon entry. In addition, the Paramount will operate at 50 percent capacity, with social distancing built into the floor plan. Tickets are completely free, and can be accessed through the Paramount’s website on a first come, first-served basis. In addition, tickets will be available at the box office day-of.

The first 4 p.m. show is focused on a youth audience, though there is no restriction on time slots. Seattle Theatre Group’s Health & Safety Policy can be found here and is applicable to all those in attendance: https://www.stgpresents.org/about/reopening.

“Working with the Pacific Northwest’s finest laser design teams and a number of gifted musicians to design this show, we continue to develop and produce more spectacular lighting and virtual experiences in Seattle,” said Terry Morgan, Executive Director of Borealis, A Festival of Light. “These free events allow us to experiment in real-time and transform The Paramount Theatre into something you’ve never seen before. I’d like to thank the City of Seattle and the Seattle Theatre Group for all the assistance in creating this unique experience for Welcome Back Weeks. Please come join us!”

“Seattle Theatre Group is honored to be part of reopening downtown with this free community event!  Between The Paramount, Moore & Neptune theatres, we have nearly 200 performances scheduled through the end of 2021 and will continue to keep Health & Safety protocols at the center of it all,” said Josh LaBelle, Executive Director of the Seattle Theatre Group. 

On Saturday, September 18, the City and partners will host a Celebrate Black Lives Matter festival at City Hall Plaza. The festival will include performances curated by  queer artist collective Legendary Children. In addition, the festival will feature local Black-owned culinary artists and retailers. This is an entirely outdoors event, and masks and vaccinations are required.

“The backdrop of the pandemic has been the movement for Black Lives. At the center is Black brilliance and creativity and the urgency around uplifting all Black voices—trans, queer, unhoused, artists, caregivers,” said Momma Nikki of Legendary Children.

On Sunday, September 19, the City and partners will host a Welcome Back Seattle finale concert featuring local Seattle artists at the Mural Amphitheatre at Seattle Center from 2 p.m. to sunset. The Vera Project will host DIY art activities including screen printing and button making from 2 – 4 p.m. Live performances start at 4 p.m., with local hip-hop, soul, and R’n’B artists Sango, Fly Moon Royalty, and Essam are performing. This is an entirely outdoors event, and masks and vaccinations are required.

“We think the Mural Amphitheatre sets the perfect stage for the finale concert of the City’s Welcome Back Weeks and we are proud to host this event. As the city’s premier gathering place, the event ushers in an exciting time for Seattle Center with the grand opening of Climate Pledge Arena in October and the return of arts, cultural and community events this fall, virtually and in-person on the grounds. We invite the community to come on down on the 19th, bring a blanket and a mask and enjoy the live music and each other,” said Seattle Center director Robert Nellams. Residents can find more information – including COVID-19 protocols and full lineups – on this website. Welcome Back Weeks are a key element of the City’s Road to Downtown Recovery plan, which seeks to bring workers, small businesses, and visitors back downtown