Fall/Winter 2013

A message from our Office of Arts & Culture:


Many ways to enjoy art in Seattle


The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture has an over 40-year history of making art work in the city of Seattle. For the majority of that time the office has acted as a granting agency, distributing nearly $50 million since its inception in 1973. The office is also responsible for the city's public art program, which is one of the first 1% for Art programs in the country. The 1% for Art ordinance ensures that all City capital projects utilize one percent of their budget in integrating art and the ideas of artists into design. The result is over 400 permanently sited artworks throughout our public spaces, and a collection of nearly 3,000 portable works that you can find in City buildings. More recently the office has also begun investing in arts education in partnership with Seattle Public Schools, space for artists and cultural organizations to live and work. The mission of the office is to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture, and we believe our work with artists and organizations makes a difference in the lives of Seattle residents by creating a place where art is plentiful and thought-provoking.

There are many great, affordable ways to enjoy Seattle's thriving art scene inexpensively. I recommend taking a tour of our public art collection - you can pick up a map in our office or download a PDF here. The Olympic Sculpture Park, full of world-renowned artists and artworks, is always free, as is the Frye Art Museum. The Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Asian Art Museum have suggested admission, so you can pay what you want. Seattle Symphony hosts a number of special senior events throughout their season that have specially priced tickets. On the 1st Thursday of every month there's a self-guided walking tour of most galleries in Pioneer Square, and other neighborhoods host their own art walks on different nights; all are free. The month of October features the annual Arts Crush Festival which, along with unique featured events, has a series of free and pay-what-you-can events. Additionally, I encourage you to call any of your favorite arts organizations and ask them about senior rates.

Seattle has a wealth of arts events that can capture the interest of most everybody. I hope you will get out and explore the possibilities!

Randy Engstrom
Director, Office of Arts and Culture

(by Randy Engstrom, Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture)

Museums for all!

Did you know...on the first Thursday and third Saturday of every month most museums across Seattle offer free admission? Please double-check each venue before you plan to attend for free.
  • In the Pioneer Square neighborhood, galleries open their doors to introduce their new exhibitions and artists on the first Thursday of each month. 
  • The Wing Luke Asian Museum, located in Seattle's Chinatown-International District at 719 South King Street, includes the very hotel where countless immigrants found a home, meal, and refuge.
  • The Museum of Flight holds one of the largest and most comprehensive air and space collections in the United States, tens of thousands of artifacts, and over 150 rare aircraft and space vehicles.  
  • The Northwest African American Museum documents and exhibits the unique historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. 
  • The Museum of History and Industry is dedicated to enriching lives by preserving, sharing and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the nation. 
  • The Seattle Art Museum collection includes Asian, African and Native American art, modern art produced by Pacific Northwest artists, and wonderful visiting exhibits.
  • The Seattle Asian Art Museum collection is housed in an Art Deco building and emphasizes Chinese and Japanese art, but also includes works from Korea, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Himalayas. 

If you'd like to do your own cultural events research check out these Web sites: Greater Seattle on the Cheap and Seattle...downtown.


(by Joan Uzelak, 55+ Employment Resource Center Counselor) 

Volunteer Kevin Patz demystifies health insurance coverage

Kevin Patz joined the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens in June 2013 to help people untangle the complications of health insurance and Medicare. He will also be helping people who have been previously uninsured who will need to choose a health insurance plan for 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In this interview, Kevin highlights some of the new and existing benefits available to lower-income individuals and provides information about open enrollment.

Question How long is the open enrollment period for the new plans? Are there penalties if someone who is eligible doesn't sign up? 
Kevin: For the plans under the Affordable Care Act, they have until March 31, 2014. If a person wants to be covered by January 1, 2014, the deadline to apply is December 15, 2013. The penalties will be $95 for the first year, $325 by 2015 and $695 by 2016. If someone has coverage through their employer and then loses their job and their insurance, they will be able to enroll through the exchange for a plan. For many seniors who aren't eligible for Medicare, this program is a godsend because they are able to get health insurance.

Q: If a person is already seeing a doctor or dentist at one of the community clinics, such as NeighborCare and pays on a sliding-scale fee, what will change? 
Kevin: Patients enrolled in Medicaid have everything covered at 100% - no deductibles or copays, so they will not need the sliding scale anymore. Those who are over the income limit for expanded Medicaid but below 400% of federal poverty level would be eligible for a qualified health plan with a premium subsidy.

Q: What happens when somebody signs up for Apple Health (expanded Medicaid)? 
Kevin: The system auto-enrolls people in a managed care plan; there are five in King County. Within about a week they should get a booklet called "Healthy Options," which gives the details for all five plans and if the client wants to switch from the one they have been auto-enrolled in, they can do so at that time.

Q: Are there any changes for people on Medicare? Can they enroll in one of these new health plans or Apple Health? 
Kevin: These plans are only available to people under age 65, and it is illegal for someone to sell one of these plans to people on Medicare. There are some immigrants over 65 that are not eligible for Medicare; they can buy a plan on the Exchange but they will not be eligible for any subsidy regardless of their income. When you are on Medicare, you have the option to get a Medicare Advantage plan, many of which have prescription drug coverage, or go with regular Medicare and add a stand-alone drug plan during Medicare open enrollment which goes until December 7. One way the Affordable Care Act has changed Medicare is that all preventative care services are being covered free, and another is that the prescription coverage gap (also known as the "donut hole") is closing and will be totally closed by 2020.

Q: What can a person do if their Medicare prescription plan premium is increasing next year? 
Kevin: I can help them shop around for prescription drug plans that may have a lower premium and that cover their prescription drugs. I can see people in person or mail them worksheets and then send them the comparison report.

Q: Any other advice?  
Kevin: One important thing is that a lot of people are eligible for Medicare premium assistance and don't realize it. At the highest level it will also pay co-pays and deductibles.

If you have a question for Kevin or need help enrolling in a health insurance or prescription plan, please leave a message at 206-233-7097 or e-mail him at kevin.patz@seattle.gov to make an appointment. 

Forward motion: persistence pays off in job search


Most people have been without a job at least once in their life. If you are in this situation, it can be scary beginning a job search again. As time goes by, how do you keep your spirits up, what can you do to keep moving ahead and keep your skills current?

Meet Mitchell Serebrenik whose last full-time job ended in June of 2010. Like many people searching for work, he was able to receive unemployment until it ran out. His survivalist skills kicked in as he accepted any positions he qualified for through various temporary agencies.

Mitch knew that no matter what the pay per hour, he would chose to accept temporary and Title V jobs which would keep him in forward motion, allowing him to retain, and most important, advance his current office and computer skills. He used his time wisely, researching a variety of organizations, and programs. He was persistent in calling and sending e-mails. He actively looked for work, not waiting for someone to contact him. He visited places that interested him, and he called and e-mailed often.

"Each contact I made and each job I have had, helped me to learn something new so that I could move forward," says Mitch.

Below are just a few of the contacts he made that helped him to continue in the right direction, stay positive, and learn from each resource.
  • Mitch learned about the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens (MOSC) from a resource at SHAG Housing. The MOSC provides various programs for seniors including the Age 55+ Employment Resource Center; Computer Classes for Seniors (for personal growth, and for seniors seeking employment); and Information and Assistance advocates.
  • Mitch also learned from the Downtown YWCA Work Source program about a program called Title V - Senior Community Services Employment Program. He registered with SCSEP, and held two Title V jobs while seeking full-time employment. To learn about Title V, contact twick@ywcaworks.org.
  • After registering online with the MOSC Age 55+ Employment Resource Center program, he was assigned to his job Counselor, Paul Valenti. Once registered he chose to take job-related computer classes with the MOSC Seniors Training Seniors in Computer Technology Program (STS). Mitch also took the advice of STS Coordinator Patti-lyn Bell, and continued to advance his computer skills through the online training tool GCF LearnFree.org, a helpful and free resource for learning and practicing new skills.
In late October, Mitch advanced from his Title V placement to a part-time, administrative position, as a temporary employee with the City of Seattle. He will be working in the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens.

(by Patti-lyn Bell, Program Coordinator, Seniors Training Seniors) 

Holiday jobs can lead to permanent positions

The holidays are a very good time to look for work - especially for the older job seeker. Probably the easiest jobs to land will be in retail or in order-fulfillment centers for larger companies like Amazon, Lowe's, and Home Depot. For example, Amazon recently announced that it will hire up to 70,000 people for the holidays and many of those positions will become permanent. Target plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers and Kohl's anticipates hiring about 53,000 staff. Walmart will hire 55,000 seasonal workers and plans to add 45,000 employees to its stores and distribution centers. There will be scores of individual jobs available at small businesses.

Don't overlook holiday parties and gatherings as resources to move the job search forward! It is appropriate and acceptable to mention that you are seeking work at family gatherings, parties and networking events during the holidays. Be sure to say yes to any invitations you get - personal and professional - the more people who know you are looking, the better your chances that they will tell someone who can help you.

A few more ideas....Temporary agencies often seek additional staff for their clients during the holiday season. The IRS and state tax departments need help in processing tax returns starting in early January. Governmentjobs.com has links to federal, state and local governmental agencies. The major package delivery firms will also be hiring en masse for the holidays. UPS, FedEX and their competitors will all need drivers and package handlers. Recreational sites such as ski resorts will be hiring hotel and restaurant staff.

In all, over 28% of managers say that they are planning on keeping their holiday staff around and will be offering them full-time positions after the holiday rush! And keep in mind, attitude is everything - 91% of managers said that the most important characteristic they are looking for in a potential team member is a friendly personality and customer-oriented attitude.

(by Paul Valenti, 55+ Employment Resource Center Counselor) 
Upcoming Events


Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Coffee Hours
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Speaker: TBD
Time: 10-11 a.m.
Location: Central Building, 1st Floor Conference Room, 810 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

The Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Coffee Hours bring community elders closer to City officials and they explore a variety of topics of interest to older adults. Coffee Hours are held downtown on the third Thursday of every month, and at a variety of locations in Seattle.

More Events
  • November 29, Macy's Parade. The annual parade begins at 7th Ave. and Pine St., loops through downtown streets ending at 4th and Pine. The parade features more than 25 floats, marching bands and drill teams. The Macy's Star will be lit for the holiday season that evening at 5 p.m.
  • November 29, 5 p.m., Westlake Tree Lighting Celebration, Westlake Center.
  • November 29-Janurary 4, 5:50-8:30 p.m., Woodland Park Zoo's Wildlights. New displays this year, showcasing wild places and animals. Although most of the animals will be tucked away for the evening, there will be a few exhibits open and on the weekends, a zoo keeper will give talks at the Raptor Barn. Tickets: Adults (13+) - $9.50, Adult Zoo Members (Sun-Wed only) -$7.50, Children (3-12) -$6.50, Toddlers (0-2)-Free Woodland Park Zoo.
Senior Centers
  • Ballard NW Senior Center: On December 7th, join seniors for a Santa Breakfast. For more information and more events, please visit this Web site
  • Greenwood Senior Center: December 13th, 7-10 p.m. Bingo/Karaoke Night. For more information, visit this Web site.
Seattle Center Winterfest: November 29-December 31
  • November 29-January 5, Winterfest Ice Rink. Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, $2 children ages 5 and under, includes skate rental. Cash only. Fisher Pavilion.
  • November 29-January 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Winter Train and Village Armory. Members of the public can take a turn controlling the model train, 10:30 a.m.-noon, 1-2:30 pm. and 3:30-5:30 p.m. daily. $2 suggested donation. Armory.
  • Saturdays beginning November 30 through December 28, noon-2 p.m. Winterfest Ice Sculpting. Watch internationally acclaimed, award-winning artists at work. Free. Fisher Apron.
  • December 1, 2-3 p.m., One World Taiko presents a contemporary style of Japanese taiko drumming that incorporates dynamic and fluid movement as well as heart pounding percussion. Free. Armory Stage.
  • December 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m., nationally renowned Garfield High School Jazz Band performs holiday concert. Free. Armory Stage.
  • December 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Bailadores de Bronce: Mexican folkloric dances and beautiful costumes from a variety of regions in Mexico. Free. Armory Stage.
  • December 22, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Captain Smartypants and Sensible Shoes: Captain Smartypants is a vocal comedy group from the Seattle Men's Chorus. Sensible Shoes, is an outreach ensemble of Seattle Women's Chorus.
  • December 31, 8-11:45 p.m., New Year's Eve Celebration with The Nines: Seattle Center's annual New Year's Eve celebration. This fun five-piece band takes you through the sounds of the '70s to current hits.
HSD logo 
Catherine Lester, Interim Director

HSD's mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site.