Got a burning question?


Can you help me format images and prepare an artist resume for an application?

High quality, correctly formatted images are crucial to a successful application. To best represent your work, have your work professionally photographed. You can find guidelines for formatting images and preparing an artist resume in our Best Practices section.

How is public art funded in King County?

Using percent for art funds from County construction projects, artwork is commissioned to tell the story of place, create engaging public spaces, and bring forward important issues of ecology, site use and history. Our County partners include Facilities Management, Transit, Roads, Solid Waste and Wastewater Treatment. % for art dollars fund integrated artwork and a rotating collection of portable artwork. Check out a map of the Public Art Collection.

What other resources are there for landmark owners besides 4Culture?

Depending on what kind of property you own, and what type of landmark it is, there are several funding opportunities available for preservation projects through various private, state and federal agencies. These opportunities range from tax breaks for businesses, loans for non-profits, to small and large grants for individuals and organizations. The Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation website provides a good breakdown of government/non-profit programs, as well as contact information. There are also a number of private foundations which offer preservation grants, information for which can be found at your local library and/or online at a site like

Hi, I am ready to submit receipts for my 4Culture project. How do I do that?

Our office sends each award recipient a contract packet. Included in this packet are copies of the project's contract, a copy of the project invoice, and a list of deliverables that each recipient is responsible for submitting for reimbursement. Please note: different funding programs may require different deliverables so check your contract packet. When you are ready to submit for reimbursement, fill out the invoice, attach your deliverables/receipts and send it to us. If you have misplaced your contract packet, or materials included within, contact our office, we’re happy to help! Visit our Manage Your Award section for more information.

I recently applied to 4Culture for funding. I read through the guidelines and am now wondering, who are these people that will judge my artwork and accomplishments? 4Culture staff told me that artists and arts administrators often serve as jurors, but how are they selected? Why does 4Culture fund this way?

4Culture is a proud proponent of a "peer-panel review process." Jurors, often referred to as panelists are selected by the staff members managing a program. They are selected based upon numerous criterion, the foremost being expertise in their discipline. In addition, we also seek panelists offering diversity including: ethnic diversity; geographic diversity (where they live or work); stylistic variety (traditional, contemporary etc); and organizational scale (from small budgets to large), interest and availability.

4Culture funds many programs this way because, much like the judicial jury process, it often results in a fair, well considered, review. Panelists are often required to do a large volume of reading prior to the actual panel meeting and then, as a group, they meet to discuss all applications.

It is a lot of work, but an amazing way to see what is going on in our community. 4Culture welcomes panelist recommendations. If you would like to suggest yourself or someone you admire in your field, please send their name, area of expertise and contact information to info[to] with "Panelist Suggestion" in the subject line.

We tell applicants who are not selected for funding one year to apply again. The panelist change each year and therefore, so does the configuration of entire panel. Different people make different choices. Our advice: apply!


Many questions about how to apply for 4Culture funding for your project or organization can be answered by attending a funding Workshops.




I am a visual artist who regularly exhibits my paintings in cafes, restaurants and bars around Washington. I am planning to show work in at a popular Seattle cafe. They take only a 10% commission, but have told me that they are not liable for any damages to my artwork while it is at the cafe. Is this true?

Visual artists in Washington State are fortunate to have protection under a state law that states an "art dealer is strictly liable for the loss of or damage to the work of fine art while it is in the art dealer's possession." The definition of art dealer is broad and includes "a person, partnership, firm, association, or corporation…" So, in your case we think the cafe owner(s), because they are taking a cut of your sales, we think they are liable for any potential damage to your work while it's on exhibit there.* Learn more by reading the code.
Legal Information Is Not Legal Advice Although we try to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer for professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.


I own a cute little 1920s bungalow. I am looking to make the original windows more energy efficient, and think I may need to replace them. What are my options?

Original wood windows on historic buildings are important architectural features - their craftsmanship and unique design often is irreplaceable. What many don’t realize is that the repair and weatherization of existing wood windows can be very practical. The National Park Service offers free technical briefs on repair techniques; Preservation Brief 9 addresses wood windows. Properly maintained and repaired wooden windows will increase energy efficiency, and continue to enhance the historic character of the building. Hope this helps, and good luck!

Youth & Kids

My family just moved to the Seattle area. My husband and I are all both artists and want to get our kids involved in creative activities, but we don’t really know where to find information about classes and events. We’ve been scanning the newspapers, but are there other places to look for this kind of information?

Perhaps in honor of your arrival to Seattle, this November the Seattle Public Schools launched a enewsletter for the Visual and Performing Arts. This monthly newsletter provides detailed information for parents, guardians, students and teachers about art activities for children and teens. Another great local resource is Parent Map. Search their calendar and resource list for hundreds of creative learning opportunities for kids. If you have teenagers, check out TeenTix, which offers tickets to concerts, museums, movies and performances for only $5. These few resources should get you started. Welcome to the Northwest!


I work for a non-profit organization based in King County. During the busy legislative season, I am often asked to support or oppose bills on behalf of my organization. We receive funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and 4Culture. Can we legally advocate or oppose bills if we receive money from federal and local government agencies?

Most non-profit organizations can, lobby for their cause, as long as they follow the rules of the IRS. Lobbying involves trying to persuade a legislative body to take action. Non-profits are basically organizations with special interests. Whether you’re organization is focused on the arts, historic preservation, education, homelessness, environmental issues or world health, public policy most likely takes an important role.

Non-profit organizations must abide by specific rules in order to maintain their tax-exempt status

Under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501h, most 501c3 nonprofit organizations (with the exception of churches and church-affiliated organizations):

  • Can appeal directly to state legislatures regarding public policy they'd like to see happen or legislation. The organization can write letters, make phone calls, or meet with the legislator.
  • Can lobby for issues-based initiatives. 501c3 nonprofits can campaign in those instances.
  • Cannot endorse a candidate or contribute to a campaign with money or time. (Employees can, of course, donate or volunteer on their own time).
  • Can sponsor an educational event such as candidate's forum, so long as all candidates running for the same office have a chance to participate.
  • Must notify the IRS of the intent to lobby by filing Form 5768.
  • Must abide by any additional state laws regarding lobbying.
  • May have an affiliated 501c4 (such as the Washington State Arts Alliance) to carry out unrestricted lobbying.
  • Should check the amount of time and money restrictions allowed for 501(c)3 non-profits


I have a piece of artwork from King County's public art collection in my work space. How should I take care of it? What if I want to have it changed?

4Culture surveys the Public Art Collection regularly and installs the artwork in the collection in protected locations whenever possible. If you have any questions about how to care for a piece of artwork, or if you see that an artwork is damaged, take a look at the Art Care brochure or contact the office for assistance. Many artworks in our Portable Collection rotate. Ask us if you would like to change out a portable artwork.


As a local arts agency or city arts commission, what services are available from Public Art 4Culture and when should I hire Public Art 4Culture as a consultant?

Should a local arts agency or private developer need assistance in cultural planning, managing the selection of a project artist or implementation of a commissioned artwork, contact Public Art 4Culture to talk about your project. Maps of the King County Public Art Collection are available for distribution or online. Contact us if you would like to have maps at your location.

Would 4Culture staff consider helping me with a cultural project in my neighborhood?

Yes! 4Culture's experienced staff are invested in creating stronger communities throughout King County through administration of existing programs, as well as project managing temporary consulting work. Visit the Consulting and Assistance section of our website to browse the resources and advice we can offer for free, and learn how you can hire us as consultants to help actualize projects and plans. If you want to create a cultural plan for your neighborhood or city, landmark a building, incorporate public art into a private development or park, make your community more attractive for tourism, or simply need to connect and network with peers working on similar projects, please contact us.


I'm on the board of WIWA (Whidbey Island Writers Association) now and have a question. Is there a database of all the grants available to arts organizations - especially a writing organization like ours somewhere?

Fortunately there isn't just one resource, there are many. I think the best resource for writers is Poets and Writers, but for arts organizations I would recommend the Foundation Center. Depending on your need the cost can range from $9.95 per month to $1,200+ annually. Before you invest, find out if your local library has their on-line or print directory available. Another grassroots tool you might consider is simply looking at the donor page of organizations similar to yours. Often those donors are the very organizations that may be interested in assisting yours.

I work with a group of artists and historians on documentary film projects. We are interested in applying for grants, but we do not have non-profit (501c3) status so we are ineligible for many opportunities. We've heard you can get another non-profit to serve as an umbrella so you can apply for grants requiring 501c3 status. We're interested in going this route. Can you give us some guidance on how to do this?

As an informal group, considering an umbrella, formally known as a fiscal sponsor is often a great way to open funding doors and can serve as a stepping-stone to becoming a 501c3 organization. Do a little research to confirm that the funders you're interested in applying to do indeed accept fiscally sponsored groups. The Foundation Center has a detailed tutorial that may help you understand the role and responsibilities between your group and a fiscal sponsor. There are many organizations out there willing to serve as a fiscal sponsor. Most charge an administrative fee ranging between 4% and 10%. Many of the organizations that require a higher fee, provide additional benefits such as grant writing assistance, an on-line profile, promotional assistance etc... Here are a few fiscal sponsors to get you started. Consider what they require and what you need before you partner. You may want to consider asking an organization you already partner with for this service or simply do a little internet research and visit the Fiscal Sponsor Directory. Fractured Atlas, Allied Arts Foundation, Shunpike are just a few that work with creative groups and individuals. Best of luck to you!.


Many questions about how to apply for 4Culture funding for your project or organization can be answered by attending a funding Workshops for our various programs.




I work for an established non-profit organization based in Kirkland. We use images of people who have performed in and attended our events on our website and in our promotional materials. I've been told that we don't need model releases because our materials are educational and are for non-commercial purposes. Is this really true, are non-profits exempt from having to obtain model releases?

The information you've been told is incorrect. Non-profit and non-commercial organizations as far as privacy and publicity rights are concerned, are not any different than big business. In regards to likenesses of people "commercial use" does not refer to money changing hands, but to association. Weather a non-profit or large company; it's the use that matters when using a likeness or voice of a person. For any image your organization uses you should make sure the person represented in the likeness (image, drawing, voice recording) you use wholly supports the program, event, idea, organization associated with the likeness. If you're not sure, get a model release. It is always better to be legally safe than lawsuits sorry. Visit this site for more information and for sample release forms.

I am writing to you, reluctantly, as a board member of a small non-profit. Like many organizations these days, we are having to layoff a couple of staff members in order to survive. We anticipate being able to hire staff back or hiring them as contractors in the near future. I am however, concerned about our legal responsibilities regarding personnel. Do you have any ideas where I can learn the dos and don'ts when it comes to staffing?

Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations (WAACO) has hosted workshops about employee related issues for non-profits and now they offer this great resource page with some guidelines and templates.

You might also visit the Department of Labor and Industries site, which provide a lot of helpful tips on employment related issues for both the employer and employee. Another helpful site is Nolo, which offers employment law information as well, but also provides sample forms for purchase.

Labor and employment law varies greatly from state to state. Be sure any resources you use are applicable to Washington. We hope you can hire staff back soon!

I am the Executive Director of a small, non-profit, heritage museum. I have heard that the IRS is changing the dreadful Form 990. Do you know how this might affect us? How should we prepare? Help!

Just when you got it figured out the IRS announces it is going to shake up the non-profit world by making the first change to the Form 990 in nearly thirty years. This revision has changed the way nonprofits report on finances, leadership, activities, and governance. These changes are significant, but if 501(c)3 organizations begin preparations now, they can save themselves a great deal of anxiety in the future. The law firm of K&L Gates has created a very helpful summary of the changes to date, when we have to make the change and recommendations about how to prepare. A New Era of Reporting for Exempt Organizations might just save us all.

Go ahead, ask us anything!

Send us an email with "Ask 4Culture" in the subject line