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Shunpike envisions a community where independent artists and arts groups thrive, creatively and economically, and where their work is widely valued as fundamental to the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of Washington State.


Shunpike’s mission is to provide artists with the services, resources and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success.


Art makes life interesting. It reframes the dialogue about contemporary society by asking big questions, inspiring new approaches and challenging the status quo. Since its founding in 2001, Shunpike has challenged the status quo about what it means to be a practicing artist; rejecting the cliché of the ‘starving artist’, and fashioning a new image of the artist as entrepreneur, innovator and cultural leader.

The arts are not separate from society but central to it. Inclusive, forward-thinking places recognize this and embrace the work of artists as essential to community wellbeing. Shunpike works with these communities and the artists that call them home to foster a robust infrastructure for sustainable artistic production.

We work at the grassroots of the arts ecology because this is where groundbreaking ideas and artistic practices are frequently forged. The work of independent artists and arts groups animates our cities and neighborhoods in new and surprising ways, making them dynamic places to live and work.

While the role of the artist is as old as civilization itself, Shunpike recognizes that the context in which artists create work is fluid. We work with artists to help navigate this flux and build resilience and agility in the face of change. Our support is embedded in the everyday, providing relevant and accessible services and programs that encourage and enable sustainable models of operation.

Shunpike is responsive to artists’ needs. We don’t overthink it. Artists need administrative support and a way to raise money; they need opportunities to show their work and spaces in which to work; they need environments where they can come together, share their experiences and gain practical skills; they need champions who believe in what they do and advocate on their behalf.

They need Shunpike.


In 2010, an innovative consortium of city and neighborhood organizations inaugurated the Storefronts program in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and International District neighborhoods. The initiative sought to address high vacancy rates  and vanishing artist spaces in these neighborhoods by activating empty storefronts with vibrant local art and creative projects.

Now a core program of Shunpike, Storefronts continues to support our creative community and our urban neighborhoods and businesses by providing opportunities for artists to do what they do best – create dynamic, engaging works that reach out to passersby, activate our built environment, and function as an incubator for our arts ecology, entrepreneurial projects, and urban revitalization.

Storefronts has received support from the following community and funding partners since 2010: