Arts: Kate Becker – Seattle magazine
Kate Becker is one of Seattle’s 25 Most Influential People Reshaping Our Region. #most influential
Kate Becker is just as comfortable analyzing spreadsheets as she is reading sheet music. The director of King County Creative Economy and Recovery has combined her passion for music and film with her business acumen to build a stronger cultural and financial region. In the last year alone, with a vision for a vibrant King County and the knowledge of a seasoned political tactician, she has helped raise and distribute millions of dollars for arts and entertainment organizations and nonprofits.
Becker secured $34.2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for the local creative economy and tourism. Of this, $9.4 million was earmarked for the non-profit 4Culture and distributed to local arts organizations in 2022.
She also helped produce the Cloudbreak music festival in collaboration with Visit Seattle, allocating more than $1 million in tax revenue to set up the festival in November promoting musicians emerging from the pandemic. The festival featured more than 150 musicians in 68 performances in 28 countries.
“We knew we got the venues through the recovery, but we didn’t get the musicians through the pandemic,” Becker says of Cloudbreak’s genesis. “Continuing our tourism is vital for our musicians.”
She has also been the driving force in remodeling the former Fisher Flour Mill on Harbor Island in South Seattle into a state-of-the-art soundstage with the ambition of drawing film and television productions from around the world. Becker provided $2.2 million to remodel the first soundstage of its kind in the region since “Northern Exposure” was filmed at a Redmond studio in 1995.
The Amy Poehler-produced comedy Three Busy Debras filmed two seasons at the renamed Harbor Island studio, with more productions in the works.
“If we’re going to grow our film industry, we’re going to need a world-class soundstage,” says Becker.
She also helped establish the King County Office of Economic Opportunity and Creative Economy, including support for arts and entertainment.
“You have to really understand the importance of the creative economy. Not every public leader is willing to take that bold stand,” says Becker, who previously served as director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Film + Music. “(King County Executive) Dow (Constantine) had made it really clear for me to come and join him in advocating for the creative economy.”