Allied Arts of Seattle is one of the city's most influential advocates for urban design and the arts. It grew out of the Beer & Culture Society, a small circle of academics, architects, and artists who first met in early 1952. On October 3, 1954, they convened a Congress of the Arts that established Allied Arts as a permanent organization to advocate for public funding of the arts, better urban planning and architecture, and other civic improvements. Allied Arts has since played leadership roles in promoting the creation of the Seattle Arts Commission; the development of Seattle Center; the preservation of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and other historic landmarks; and other causes.
Beer & Culture Society
In early 1952, University of Washington drama professor John Ashby Conway invited colleagues Lloyd Schram and Robert Dietz, assistant Seattle Art Museum Director Dr. Sherman Lee, and architect John Stewart Detlie, to join him at his home for a discussion of the state of Seattle's arts and urban environment.
The resulting "Beer & Culture Society" convened a "Congress of the Allied Arts" on October 3, 1954, which established Allied Arts of Seattle as a permanent advocacy group and elected Detlie as its first president.
The organization formally incorporated after a second Congress in 1955. By the following year, it represented 57 local arts organizations and 55 leading artists and activists, including Kenneth Callahan, George Tsutakawa, and Lucile McDonald.
The new group prevailed on Mayor Allan Pomeroy and the City Council to create a Municipal Arts Commission on August 1, 1955. This advisory body in turn recommended a sweeping 35-point master plan on June 23, 1956. Among other reforms, the new plan proposed dedicating 2 percent of city capital funds to purchase art works; staging an annual city arts festival; hosting a world's fair;...