Velocity’s Strategic Planning process engaged more than 300 stakeholders during our city’s most rapid period of social and economic change since the Klondike Gold Rush. By 2018, Seattle had become the fastest growing American city of the decade. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2017’s determination of low income in the Seattle area is a $50,400 annual salary. Our strategic planning survey, completed by 150+ artists and audiences, revealed that 40% of our constituency earn less than $20,000 a year. During The Great Recession, nimble responsiveness and community collaboration were key to Velocity’s survival and success. We again took this approach as our community faced a new economic crisis. With the cost of living quickly rising and affordable housing diminishing, we implemented some of our proposed strategic actions prior to finalizing the Strategic Plan. For example, the need for more subsidized rehearsal space was identified in our surveys. Could a Velocity satellite space help solve the problem? When the neighborhood Value Village was vacated and slated for demolition, Velocity seized the opportunity to try-out a strategic experiment. With a $1 a year lease and support from the Seattle Mayor’s Office, we created a pop-up dance space temporarily doubling the low-cost space we provided. We also didn’t delay our commitment to equity and inclusion. By the time this Strategic Plan was written and approved one third of Velocity’s weekly classes were taught by people of color, our Indigenous Land Acknowledgement was included in every program, and the growing diversity of Velocity’s programming, artists, audiences and board was recognized by an Artsfund diversity award. 

The Staff and Board also conducted one-on-one interviews with community leaders, a Competitive Field Analysis, and a financial analysis of every program before bringing a final version of the Strategic Plan to our community. In early spring 2018, I shared the Strategic Action Plan in an interactive community forum. Attendees gave it a unanimous thumbs-up. 

Throughout the process there were also consistent findings: Velocity is recognized as Seattle’s dance hub and national dance connector with excellence in programming, faculty, and leadership. It is valued as an incubator of innovative local artists, and for its two-pronged approach of investing in community inclusion while maintaining an internationally relevant curatorial eye. Our summer festivals, Strictly Seattle and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, continue to be identified as important to Seattle and the national dance field. We also heard loudly-and-clearly that our current home studios and theater are inadequate in size and function. And Velocity needs to continue to cultivate a more diverse and inviting culture that embraces partnerships and collaborations. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the surveys, interviews, retreats and community forums that created this responsive Strategic Action Plan to guide Velocity though its next transformative chapter. 

To view the Strategic Action Plan in a new window, click HERE>>

Strategic Plan 2018-2021