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Erin Austin, singer and songwriter for Ok Sweetheart Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, with thousands of newcomers arriving each year. Many come with big dreams they hope to realize in our city.What is it about this place that invites these dreamers? And why do they stay?We’ll tell you about the game-changers who put Seattle on the map as a place where we innovate in tech, arts, social activism, science and medicine. And we’ll profile today’s dreamers who are shaping the Seattle of tomorrow.Tell us who you see creating and innovating in Seattle.

Is it the rain? Why Seattle is an engine of creativity

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When playwright Andrew Russell moved to Seattle in 2009, his mother came to visit. It was her first trip to the Pacific Northwest.

She told him something that he hasn’t forgotten: “Seattle is a great place to keep a secret.”

Nearly a decade later, that solitude is getting harder to come by. The population is booming. Traffic is more maddening. Rents and housing prices are spiking. Gentrification is pushing artists out of the city.

There’s a lot at stake for Seattle’s arts community as it struggles to remain on steady footing.

But despite the rapid changes to this growing city, Seattle's creative community remains resilient.

This fall, KUOW's City of Dreams project is exploring why Seattle is a special place for artists, innovators and creators. We asked five artists who work in theatre, arts education, music, film, and visual art: what is it about Seattle?

Who do you see creating and innovating in Seattle now? Let us know.

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[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "James Miles, executive director of Arts Corps", "style": "wide"}]]“The most impressive thing I’ve seen about art in Seattle is the social justice lens that’s on the art being made; art that’s usually out of the mainstream. To see those different perspectives, it opens up our eyes around what art can do for social change.”

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[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Susie Lee, artist, educator, and entrepreneur", "style": "wide"}]][asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "140368", "uri": "npraudio://201710/susielee_mixdown_1.mp3"}]]“What makes Seattle special is that it’s still fairly small. There are a lot of fluid boundaries and a lot of porosity in who you run into and people’s networks that they open up and share with each other. That kind of fluidity fosters creativity. If you want to will an idea into existence, you can do it here.”

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[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Andrew Russell, Intiman Theatre artistic director", "style": "wide"}]][asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "140369", "uri": "npraudio://201710/andrewrussell_mixdown_1.mp3"}]]“A gift that the city gives you is that the city will not tell you what to do with yourself. It requires that you get comfortable with what your internal artist is saying, and find a way to bring that to life.”

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[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Zia Mohajerjasbi, director and cinematographer", "style": "wide"}]][asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "140393", "uri": "public://201710/ziasession_mixdown_3_0.mp3"}]]“It’s in mid-September up until mid-November where there’s no other place I’d rather be. It’s the way the light shines through maple leaves that are turning bright orange and red, falling in through the living room window. It’s like a day without a genre. And tonally, that’s what I respond to.” 

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[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Erin Austin, singer and songwriter for Ok Sweetheart", "style": "wide"}]][asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "140433", "uri": "public://201711/ErinAustinFinal.mp3"}]]“You meet people all over who are wanting to create something unique and beautiful and provocative. You look at who’s around you and what they’re doing, and how can you help them make their thing successful. Having that energy and that attitude makes it so there’s so many creative, good things happening here.”

Year started with KUOW: 2006