Crosscut Focus

Crosscut's Focus series seeks to elevate and examine some of the most significant issues facing the people and places of the Pacific Northwest through in-depth reporting and inventive multimedia storytelling.

 

Summer Artist Talks

This Q&A interview series asks artists about their latest creative work and summer goings-on.

This Black History Month, learn about pioneering Seattle artists

Black Arts Legacies

Every year, Black History Month brings a wealth of ways to acknowledge and celebrate African Americans of the past whose work continues to influence the present.

That’s also the aim of Crosscut’s ongoing Black Arts Legacies project — which we’re ramping up again for Season 3 this spring.

In the past two years, we’ve profiled 40 Northwest creatives who have made Seattle sing — sometimes literally, as in the case of jazz and blues singer Ernestine Anderson and grunge rocker Tina Bell.

Past Black artists like dancer Syvilla Fort, television producer Nate Long, sculptor James Washington, Jr., curator Zoe Dusanne and painter Milt Simons created a Seattle arts scene that stretched across decades and changed the whole cityscape.

That’s especially true in the case of architect Benjamin McAdoo Jr., profiled in Black Arts Legacies and the subject of a new University of Washington exhibit: Modern Architecture Activism: The Life and Work of Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr. (through March 15). The first Black architect registered in Washington state, McAdoo is known as much for his appealing mid-century designs as for his commitment to civil rights. 

If some of these names are unfamiliar, dive into Black Arts Legacies to learn more. (And this month, don’t miss our list of 13 recommended local shows featuring contemporary Black artists, including visual arts, music, dance, film and even a certain hockey logo.) Stay tuned for more Black Arts Legacies, coming soon.

Revisiting Series

How did the Dobbs decision on abortion affect Washington state in 2023? Whatever happened with local district plans to consolidate schools? Crosscut provides updates on top stories and more. Keep up with our Revisiting Series here.

Reviving Seattle arts

Grunge. Mystical modernism. Jazz on Jackson Street: Seattle has long been a hotbed for creativity. But it’s getting harder and harder for artists to afford to live here and continue making work. Many arts organizations were struggling before the pandemic, and are now finding it more difficult to draw people back to live shows. While precarity has long been part and parcel of the arts scene, many creatives say the pandemic has shone a light on just how unsustainable the creative sector is. What will it take for the local arts ecosystem to flourish? In this series of stories Crosscut reporter Margo Vansynghel explores the solutions that could help Seattle arts not just survive, but thrive.

Festivities in Focus

After two holiday seasons of COVID shutdowns, surges and safety precautions, many communities are coming back together this year to celebrate sacred traditions in person again. From October through February, Crosscut photographers are publishing a series of photo essays on various religious holidays and cultural celebrations in the region.

Monsters, bats, haunted hotels: 10 spooky Pacific Northwest stories

Did you know Washington has Sasquatch, serpents and flying saucers, oh my? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve compiled some Crosscut stories of the weirdest, wackiest and wildest Pacific Northwest lore. Read if you dare. 

Layers of Smoke

A birds eye view of Lake Union from the Seattle Needle
Lake Union from the Space Needle observation deck in 2018 in Seattle. Haze from wildfires caused a decrease in air quality in the area. (Sarah Hoffman/Crosscut)

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 19, Seattle was ranked as the worst city worldwide for air quality and pollution, according to IQAir. Western Washington has been under an air-quality alert since Friday, which was extended until 5 p.m. Thursday. 

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a wildfire smoke alert for the region on Tuesday, saying smoke will cause the air quality to reach unhealthy levels near active fires and reach the unhealthy-for-sensitive-groups level or worse in other areas.

If the smoke is making you concerned about yourself and your surroundings, you're not alone. Revisit these Crosscut articles to learn how wildfire smoke intersects with climate change, public health and the environment. 


 

Making Seattle Home

Crosscut explores the question: Do you have to be rich to buy a home in Seattle? In this series of stories and videos, you will meet people who found a way to buy a home in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, without the benefit of wealth behind them. We also offer a primer on the resources available to middle class buyers. And you'll meet some folks who have given up entirely on buying in Seattle.

Fall Arts Preview 2022

dancer from above

As Seattle’s theaters, museums and music venues gear up for a busy art season full of new shows, exhibits and festivals, Crosscut’s arts and culture desk brings you a curated selection of must-see fall art events and continues our coverage of the pandemic's effects on the cultural sector.

Open for Visitors

an orange-topped space needle peeks from behind a hotel building

As Washington prepares for a summer of visitors, the Crosscut news desk is exploring the economic and cultural effects of tourism in the Evergreen state.

Cops and Credibility

three images of police merged in a triptych

After the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Crosscut decided to find out how many officers in Washington state had landed on prosecutors’ lists of cops with credibility issues. These lists, commonly known as Brady lists, flag officers for issues such as lying, filing inaccurate reports, showing racial bias or using excessive force – anything that could cause an officer’s word to be questioned in court.

By examining prosecutors’ files across 39 Washington counties, Crosscut identified 183 cops who had been flagged by prosecutors as having credibility issues, yet who continued to work in law enforcement. Additional reporting revealed some of these officers had initially been fired for their actions, but were later reinstated through arbitration. Others had changed departments even after prosecutors labeled them as having credibility issues. One such officer was later elected as a city council member in the same town that had once pushed him out of its police department.

Cops, drugs and civil forfeiture

Composite image of man in chair, jewelry, cash and a house

Seattle-based journalist Eric Scigliano spent months digging into a legal process that allows police to seize and sell homes, money and other property they contend are connected to crimes, even when no charges are filed. Washington's civil forfeiture laws are among the nation's most favorable to police, and powerful police lobbies have knocked down legislative efforts to restrain them. Cities and counties in the state increasingly rely on forfeiture to underwrite policing, taking in $11.9 million in 2020, more than in any other year since 2005, even as the drug war winds down.