December 11, 2023 Natalie Greenberg

How Artists Add Value to City Planning with Alisa Sargsyan

Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast Episode 56

What’s the value of including artists in city planning? Simply put, it makes our cities stronger! In this podcast episode, NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha Weidmann explores the role of artists in planning with Alisa Sargsyan, the Cultural Arts Commissioner for the City of Kirkland, Washington and a distinguished artist, composer, piano player, and educator. They discuss their collaboration on the recently installed public art sculpture at Kirkland Fire Station No. 22, where the artist team Tooza Design helped honor the fire department’s history through creative interpretations of service, hope, and resiliency. The pair discuss the process of curating this installation, from administering a public call for artists to evaluating, selecting, and unveiling the final piece. Throughout this process and other city planning efforts, Alisa proves why artists are needed to give voice to new perspectives, offer creative solutions, build connections with locals, and ensure plans aren’t made in a silo. Tune in to learn more about the value of involving local creatives in both public and private projects that impact the built environment.

Streets of Service by Shelly and Rob Beishline of Tooza Design for Fire Station 22 in Kirkland, WA

Alisa Sargsyan is an Armenian-American artist, award winning composer, piano player, and arts educator. A University of Washington alumna, Alisa holds a Master of Music degree in Composition and a Doctor of Arts degree from the Armenian Academy of Arts and Science. As a Cultural Arts Commissioner for the City of Kirkland, Alisa advises the City Council on strategic art planning and acquisition and collaborates with other stakeholders to develop and implement policies, programs, and initiatives that foster artistic expression, cultural awareness, and civic engagement. Some of the projects she has contributed to include the Park Lane Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, the Cross Kirkland Corridor Public Art Integration Plan, Kirkland Fire Stations, and Utility Boxes Art wraps.

As a professional musician, Alisa actively collaborates with various arts organizations and  cultural audiences, such as the Women in Music Foundation, the London Silent Film Festival, the Armenian Musical Assembly, and the Armenian Cultural Association of Washington. One of the latest fruitful collaborations resulted in a classical ballet, “The Little Prince,” composed by Alisa Sargsyan and premiered by Karin Kirkland School of Dance at the Meydenbauer Theatre in Bellevue, WA. Alisa is also a co-founder of GALA Violin and Piano Duo, performing classical and modern music worldwide. Their pilot CD “Armenia! Timeless Musical Journey” has been successfully sold online. Since July 2023 Alisa has served on the Board of Directors of the Gallery Concerts cultural organization, presenting chamber music to the Seattle community. With over 20 years of experience in arts and culture, Alisa is passionate about promoting and supporting cultural diversity, creativity, and education in her community.

Dot Dot Dot is the continuing conversation around art and placemaking in the built environment. Hosted by NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha Weidmann, episodes explore art, culture, community, and more with a range of reputable business leaders. Tune in biweekly wherever you get your podcasts!