We are an organization of performance ensembles creating a diverse and inclusive environment for musical expression that promotes the equity and visibility of people in the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Increasing visibility of LGBTQIA+ people
- Focusing on diversity and equity in what we choose to perform
- Strengthening equity and inclusion for our members and patrons to experience music
A Performing Arts Community
Rainbow City Performing Arts (RCPA) is a group of musicians all about coming together with our common mission and engaging the community through different forms of instrumental music. We also incorporate visual and vocal performance to create exciting performances that help extend our educational message of equity and acceptance to the public.
We create a safe space for musicians to feel they belong and can be themselves. Many members came to us after feeling rejection or discomfort in other musical outlets and stayed to grow their skills in a supportive family atmosphere. Our members have strong bonds due to our shared mission and experiences that cross traditional bounds of identity.
We're committed to supporting musicians of all ages, incomes, and abilities. We direct the core of our charity work to youth-focused organizations and all-ages events. We provide programming targeted to older generations and are inclusive to their needs an abilities among our membership. Our member-funded Angel Fund allows members with income challenges to participate for free. As available, we also provide instruments for no charge to members who need one to participate. The performing arts should be open to all and we welcome anyone of any identity or ability.
We are intentional in our performances in all ensembles to focus on presenting music composed or arranged by artists of a marginalized identity. We also highlight themes that speak to the challenges of the LGBTQIA+ community. RCPA helps to fund the creation of new art thanks to our generous donors and sponsors. Initiatives such as our Amplifying Diverse Voices annual commission project have led to the composition of new art by young artists who receive less attention from other funding organizations.
Meet Rainbow City Performing Arts Board & Staff
We operate thanks to the work of over 40 volunteers and contractors who donate thousands of hours each year to keep Rainbow City Performing Arts, relevant, and visible in the community.
Our imperative of visibility extends to those often forgotten or hurt in our community. RCPA is committed to supporting a robust community of nonprofits that support the LGBTQIA+ community. We raise funds for community partner nonprofits as a part of our performances and we donate free performances to nonprofit fundraisers and community events. See our Community Engagement page to see all of the local organizations we have supported recently.
We created the Rainbow City Scholarship and have been awarding one to a student since 2012. We regularly host fundraisers for local nonprofits as a part of our events and raised over $10,000 dollars for nonprofits in the 22-23 season.
We have seven performance ensembles
Our performances span across the year and across most genres. Many members play in multiple groups! Experience what we have to offer.
Rainbow City Performing Arts History
Rainbow City Performing Arts was founded as Rainbow City Band in 1998 by Jo-Ann Christen and Scott Lewis, who saw an opportunity to provide a safe, accepting place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender musicians to participate in Seattle's rich community music scene while expressing themselves openly and honestly. That summer, 27 musicians gathered to rehearse and perform in the Seattle Pride Parade.
Following their summer debut, the group decided to continue performing indoors rather than waiting until the following summer to play again - and RCB became a year-round community music group. In 2001, we incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused on adult music education. The complementary objectives of providing a welcoming environment for LGBT people and their allies, strengthening individual and ensemble performing skills, and supporting the LGBT community as well as the greater Puget Sound community continue to serve as the foundation of the organization's vision and mission.
Over time, we have added new performing groups as members and potential members expressed interest in new opportunities. In 2002, Rainbow City Jazz Band debuted as a big band-sized group playing hits from the heyday of swing. In 2006, we added the Renegayde Pep Band to bring fun and energy to community events year-round. In 2008, we marched with a color guard during our marching season, and spinOUT was born. In 2010, we expanded into new territory as we formed Rainbow City Orchestra, which was revived in 2022 after a break. During that time we formed Reign City Riot, our pep band to support the OL Reign women's soccer team, part of the NWSL. We have ensembles to cover nearly every kind of event!
As we grew and added more members, we talked about how "band" no longer accurately expressed all that we do. After much discussion, in 2014 we officially registered our new umbrella name, "Rainbow City Performing Arts." We felt that this name reflected not only the variety of instrumentation and musical styles in our music ensembles, but the visual element that spinOUT adds and the promise of future ensembles showcasing new aspects of performance.
In the ensuing years we have matured our sense of the impact our combined power can have on the community, and how to utilize our time and resources to further our mission's impact on our community. Our mission was refocused to reflect a stronger social justice mission that we operate through musical performance. The work continues onward to grow our work and direction towards a more visible and equitable future.
Will you help us grow to the future?
We need support of all kinds, from a one-time to a recurring gift. Learn more about how we can utilize your donation to further our mission.