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Supporting Our Artists

Celebrating Jacob Lawrence with Step Afrika!
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Photo: Ralph Alswang

Ticket sales are vital to performing artists’ ability to make a living — but not the only way!
Through fellowships, residencies and commissions, we offer artists money, space and the luxury of time to dedicate to their own creative process.

Commissioning the Future


For every artist we present on our stage, there is a corresponding line item in our budget labeled “Artist Fees,” the amount we pay for the actual performance. Artist fees are essential for keeping the roof over artists’ heads, and food on their tables, and they work incredibly hard to earn it. But for every dollar they earn on stage, many artists spend hundreds more unpaid hours on their own creative process — developing new work for which they may — or may not — be paid sometime down the road. Commissions help underwrite that time, allowing artists to take a break from performing to concentrate on creating.

Part of Meany’s mission is to support artists as both performers and creators. In the 2021–22 Season, we were co-commissioners on Conrad Tao’s Keyed In, which he premiered during the opening concert of the season. Co-commissioning Meklit Hadero’s Movement LIVE not only provided support to Meklit, but also to the three Seattle-area artists who performed with her.


Good Fellows

Singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane wanted to explore the intersection between technology and how we all see ourselves and each other. Meany Center supported Gabriel’s project through the University of Washington’s Mellon Creative Fellowship Initiative.

Meklit Hadero’s world premiere of her project, Movement LIVE, on May 7, 2022 was the culmination of a three-year project during which she and her team developed the model for touring the live performance and podcast in other communities.


And Mellon Fellows Third Coast Percussion’s work with choreographers and co-founders of Movement Art Is, Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, received support for a virtual residency when initial plans for in-person work at Meany fell through due to the pandemic.

Kiki Valera, Meklit Hadero, Dakota Camacho, Momma Nikki-warren woo.jpg

  Kiki Valera, Meklit Hadero, Dakota Camacho, Momma Nikki

Photo: Warren Woo

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Photo: Brantley Gutierrez

Conrad Tao

"A dream premiere experience all around last night.”

Conrad Tao


Movement LIVE was a huge new experience for me. I had never written a script before, and certainly never brought a performance experience so massive to the stage. Having the space to experiment was essential to taking this leap as an artist. We were able to experiment with process, learn, make mistakes, grow and ultimately, to understand the nature of this very new type of platform for migration stories. We plan to continue this blueprint across the country and world as we take the show to different communities.”

Meklit Hadero

“Thank you so much for bringing me back to Meany. Last night was such a meaningful concert, finally performing An American Mosaic on a stage. The whole concert felt like a meditation on our collective experience.”

 — Simone Dinnerstein

“I can’t even find the words to express what an extraordinary experience we ALL had at Meany. We loved every minute...and your audience too...thank you so much for this huge gift.”

— Elizabeth Streb

In Their Own Words
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