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City of Seattle and Community Partners Host Home for the Holidays Events in December to Continue Downtown Recovery

SEATTLE (December 1, 2021) – Building off this summer’s highly successful “Welcome Back Weeks,” Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the City will be enlisting creative community partners to host “Home for the Holidays,” a series of holiday activations in Pioneer Square, Pacific Place, Japantown, and Chinatown-International District. In partnership with the Downtown Seattle Association, the City of Seattle’s “Welcome Back Weeks” attracted an estimated 30,000 people downtown, hired hundreds of creative workers to activate public and historic arts and culture spaces and stimulated tens of thousands of new dollars in spending at small businesses.   

Developed in partnership with downtown stakeholders as an element of the Road to Downtown Recovery Plan, Seattle’s “Welcome Back Weeks” demonstrated how essential creative and cultural workers are to community and economic recovery. The “Home for the Holidays” schedule of holiday events will once again be led by community organizations and creatives, with events taking place across downtown during the month of December. 

“The City’s Welcome Back Weeks were a huge success, and we are continuing to safely bring back visitors and residents to downtown in partnership with community-based organizations, small businesses and artists. These events and other downtown activities will continue to support our recovery during the holidays,” said Mayor Durkan.  

The City is intentionally supporting inclusive holiday events and creatives from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities through these holiday activations. The kick-off event on December 5th, From the Light, was programmed by The Famila Collective, a Muslim-led creative agency, and is taking place at AXIS in Pioneer Square. The interactive light installation with accompanying music and poetry invites the public into a space that was dark for much of the pandemic. The co-producer of From the Light, Essam Muhammad of The Famila Collective, who was recently declared by KEXP as “the new voice of the Southend,” has curated a lineup of Muslim creatives. 

“We appreciate the City for holding as space for diverse Muslim talent where we can preserve our culture through creative expression as displacement continues to put pressure on our communities,” said Essam. “From the Light will be a historic night for Seattle, something that has never been done before.” 

“The pandemic has hit the Black and Brown arts sectors especially hard as it has compounded economic inequities perpetuated through systemic racism,” said Royal Alley-Barnes, Acting Director of the Office of Arts and Culture. “By partnering with Onyx Fine Arts Gallery, the City is recognizing a 30-year-old African American/Diaspora Arts organization and purposefully supporting our communities and creatives of color.”

To support downtown small businesses, the City is again partnering with Intentionalist to run promotions at downtown restaurants and retail small businesses, highlighting BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses. An online map, guides, and promotions encourage the community to eat, drink, and shop local this holiday season. “It’s the season of gifting and giving, and Intentionalist is proud to partner with the City of Seattle to encourage people to explore, get to know, and #SpendLikeItMatters at diverse local businesses,” said Laura Clise of Intentionalist. “Whether you’re catching up with friends, shopping for gifts, or attending a concert, the small businesses we love are counting on all of us to be intentional this holiday season!”

Another City-led activation to support the recovery of small businesses, creatives, and downtown neighborhoods is a new program called “Shop to the Beat.” The Office of Economic Development is partnering with Gigs4U to match musicians and small retail businesses to perform in-store during peak hours, which will increase foot traffic and sales for retailers and provide competitive pay for musicians who were significantly impacted by the pandemic. 

Additional community-led holiday events will be taking place across Downtown in December. The Downtown Seattle Association is decking out Downtown with light sculptures and a 40-foot tree and hosting holiday happenings. Participate in a holiday scavenger hunt, warm up with hot cocoa, cookies, and concerts in Westlake Park, and discover a hidden winter wonderland through augmented reality. The Alliance for Pioneer Square will activate Occidental with holiday markets, coffee breaks, a Howliday for dog lovers, and Free Saturday parking for those who show proof of a purchase from a Pioneer Square business. Pike Place Market is offering Senior Center Figgy Pudding Caroling Fridayfree Santa photos, customized eco-friendly Market-themed wrapping paper and the annual Holiday Night Market packed with handmade one-of-a-kind gifts. 

An overview of City-sponsored and partner events is below, and details will be added to the Downtown Recovery webpage. Events are free and all-ages. Consistent with public health guidelines, proof of vaccination will be required for entry to indoor events.

From the Light   

An interactive light installation and auditory experience curated by South End Muslim creatives of The Famila Collective to bring warmth and peace to Downtown Seattle.  

Date: Sunday, December 5th    

Time: 5-10pm  

Location: AXIS Pioneer Square - 308 1st Avenue South Seattle, WA 98104  

Onyx Holiday Activation Project   

Gallery Onyx Fine Arts exhibition for the month of December will feature original artworks, artist talks, ekphrasis poetry readings and artist decorated holiday-themed ornaments from the Afrocentric artist community. 

Date: Dec 2 –29th  

Time: Thursday – Sunday 12-16pm  

Location: Pacific Place Shopping Center at 6th avenue and Pine Street Seattle, WA 98121  

Chinatown-International Block Party  

CID Block Party is a cohort of grassroots volunteers and small business owners that aims to promote and celebrate the Chinatown/International District (CID). For the month of December, the CID Holiday Party series will feature a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt, CID Virtual Holiday Party, and Karaoke Caroling “Karaoling” at participating small businesses within the district. Date: Throughout December  

Locations: TBA 

Japantown Jingle   

Japantown Neighbors is a multi-generational community organization based out of the Chinatown/International District. For the month of December, Japantown Neighbors in collaboration with the Wing Luke Museum with be promoting small businesses in Japantown, tree lighting at Chiyo’s Garden and alongside Jackson and Main Street, and other public activation to bring communities together. Japantown Jingle will also host a “I wish or I hope” campaign.  Visitors and shoppers to Japantown can submit a “I WISH for” entry form to Japantown Neighbors to displayed on the Holiday Wishing Tree – Kibou no Ki. Visitors are encouraged to write hopes for the future and will also be entered into a free drawing to win prizes and gift cards from Japantown restaurants, retailers and service providers.

Date: Throughout December   

Locations: TBA  

Spirit of Ire Holiday Market   

Spirt of Iré, a Black-led group of artists and community organizers, is creating a space for local creatives to learn and work in the historical Inscape Arts and Culture center. Spirt of Iré aims to cultivate an ecosystem that creates and maintains jobs in the arts for people of color in Seattle. For the month of December, the organization will be hosting BIPOC Vendor Markets, Holiday Movie Nights, Open Mic Nights to support and promote local artists and small business owners.   Date: Throughout December  

Location: Inscape Arts Building, 815 Seattle Blvd South 98134   

Small Business Promotions through Intentionalist   

Similar to Welcome Back Weeks, Intentionalist created a map and online guide of downtown restaurants and retail shops with City-sponsored promotions, highlighting BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ owned small businesses. You can find the map and guide here.  

Downtown Seattle Association 

View the full list of holiday happenings here.  

Alliance for Pioneer Square 

View the full list of holiday programming here and the calendar here.  

Pike Place Market 

View the full list of holiday festivities here and Holiday Night Market details here