The new generation of the HPIC Board

We are proud and honored to introduce these advocates of community in our neighborhood who have joined the team to rebuild HPIC. They bring vital new energy and vision to the rebuild, and to the future of HPIC.

From left to right: Ellen Powers, Amy Durgin, Nick Montrond, Adrien Demelier, Alex Wheeler, Silva Ianev and Rachel Chernin. Leading the ceremony is Martha Mallett, right foreground, long-time HPIC board member who kept HPIC alive by reaching out to the neighborhood at another challenging time in its history, in the early 2000’s.

Current board members who remain: Rhonda Smith, President; Shannon Harris, Julie Schickling, Kay Kirkpatrick, Billy Stauffer and Nickie Jostol.

Together, with so many of our neighbors and supporters through the years and into the future, we will bring back our community gathering place.

We are thankful for the many years of dedicated service given by departing board members Gretchen Heiden, Billy Markham and Shawn Mazza.

PERMIT Status - Master Use Permit approved!

Now that the Master Use Permit has been approved, and we know that we can rebuild in our current footprint, we can finally remove the damaged building. The MUP approval was just in time for us to apply to the Seattle Dept of Neighborhoods Community Partnership Fund, which could grant up to $50,000 to the demo. It is also a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant – we are planning reclamation projects so that we can re-use materials that will be salvaged from the building.

The grant award notification date is the week of April 22. The project must begin within two months of the award notification, which would be no later than late June. The contractor estimates 4-6 weeks for the demo.

>>>So we are looking at building demolition this summer. Look for volunteer opportunites and celebrations to come!<<<

Art for Brighter Days

HPIC and Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery will be installing three vibrant 5′ x 8′ banners displaying the art of three local artists: Raquel Garcia, Jake Prendez and Rolando Avila. The art was curated by Nepantla and will be installed on the construction fences facing Holden on a weather-friendly day sometime between Christmas and New Years, and will remain in place indefinitely, or until the building demolition occurs.
We thank the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture for their support of this project with the C.A.R.E. (Centering Art & Racial Equity) grant HPIC received.

Funding news

Building for the Arts has been fully funded! That means we really do have the $400k grant for the HPIC Rebuild. We are so grateful that the funding is available for us and for other Arts and Culture organizations state-wide. Thanks to all who wrote letters when needed and to our trusty trustee Kay Kirkpatrick for testifying to our state House of Representatives, who had to make many hard decisions about funding for many worthy causes. We’re honored that our neighborhood gathering place has been recognized as an important part of our local community and our state, for bringing people together to build community through arts and culture and the shared resource of HPIC, powered by volunteers who are neighbors and friends.

In fact, not only did our representatives champion full funding for BFA, Sen. Joe Nguyen’s office suggested that we apply for funding through the Local and Community Project Funds that are available to legislators to support projects in their district. Rep. Emily Alvarado signed on from the House of Representatives. After we heard about the BFA grant, we were shocked and thrilled when we found out that we’d received additional funding in the amount of $500k!

That is $900,000 from the State of Washington to rebuild HPIC.

We have lots of thanks to give to our 34th District representatives: Senator Joe Ngyuen, and Representatives Emily Alvarado and Joe Fitzgibbon. We thank them for this significant financial support, and also for their trust in HPIC to get the Rebuild done and create welcoming, inclusive programming that brings people, and the neighborhood, together.

Grants and Fundraising

Centering Art & Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) Grant
HPIC is honored and excited to have been recommended by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for funding through their Centering Art & Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) Grant. This is a 3-year grant, funded annually. Our funding for 2023 is $3000.

from the Office of Arts & Culture:
“The C.A.R.E. grant awards three consecutive years of funding to Seattle arts and culture, heritage, and arts service organizations with a minimum three-year history of providing accessible programming for Seattle residents and visitors. To create a more equitable, vibrant, and relevant arts sector, ARTS prioritizes support for organizations with an arts-focused mission that are taking action to be anti-racist and who value, implement, and uphold inclusive practices through an intersectional racial equity lens.

We are at a turning point in our long history, and this opportunity for partnership and guidance with the Office of Arts & Culture and other leadership resources will help us to set a path that fosters equity, social cohesion and anti-racism as we begin to think about programming and partnerships in our new building.

Community Accelerator Grant – ArtsFund of Washington
Funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and administered by ArtsFund, the purpose of the grant is to provide essential capital to Washington’s cultural organizations and invest in a stronger, more inclusive and thriving arts and cultural sector. This award is unrestricted. HPIC has received $5,900 which will help fund outreach events and other fundraising efforts.

New Capital Campaign Consultants – RJZ Connections
We have brought on the highly respected team of RJZ Connections to help us with our fundraising campaign – and more. RJZ Connections has years of experience and success helping non-profits like us accomplish their capital fundraising goals, as well as helping to structure volunteer-led organizations to be sustainable and inclusive. We’ve begun working with them to build a fundraising plan to rebuild HPIC the building and also the administrative side of the organization.

Links to the town hall recordings

Time for reflection and transformation

During this time, as we make sure the physical space is safe and secure, we are also considering our internal structure and how we can rebuild and refresh that too – board structure, volunteer coordination, the meaning of membership and more. We will be reaching out to the community for your input as we begin to envision the revived physical space and what it might embody. Stay tuned!

Diversity and Inclusion at HPIC

Change is occurring on all levels at HPIC. Now, as we recover from the fire that closed our building June 25, 2021, we are also examining the club’s own history, processes and programming in order to better represent and celebrate the diversity of our community, and foster inclusion throughout all that we do as an organization.

The HPIC board cares deeply about the people of our community, and we want to be explicit about our stand for social justice. We have a lot to learn, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you. If you have ideas or suggestions of what you would like to see, please reach out to be a part of the change.

The Story of our BLM Banner

In the Summer of 2020, Members of Highland Park Improvement Club eagerly created and installed a large Black Lives Matter banner on to the garden fence to show support for the rise of the movement and to acknowledge the long overdue attention to this human issue.

Soon after, the banner was stolen and destroyed; pieces were found on surrounding streets near HPIC. In early July, the West Seattle Blog covered the story and asked for the community to keep an eye out and give any information they had regarding the theft. A local sign shop owner saw the article and graciously offered to make a replacement banner. He thoughtfully made two banners, just in case there was another theft.

The new banner was hung on the fence but vandalized with graffiti soon after. The third banner was also destroyed; sliced in a few places that were able to be repaired and re-hung, but then once again, shredded beyond repair.

With this more permanent attempt at a show of support we acknowledge that we continue to proudly believe that Black Lives Matter and that we refuse to succumb to the fear of destruction. HPIC stands proudly with the BIPOC community


The Highland Park Improvement Club (HPIC) – the heart of our community since 1919.

HPIC belongs to our neighborhood and is powered by volunteers.

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Highland Park Action Committee: All volunteer & not for profit. Our role is to be an advocate for Highland Park and to affect positive change in our neighborhood. Currently meeting via Zoom. Check our website https://hpacinfo.wordpress.com/ or email hpacchair@gmail.com.