Seattle, WA
October 2, 2023

Staff Spotlight: Grant P.H. Barber

Name: Grant P.H. Barber

Position: Development Manager

How long have you worked at Town Hall?

I’ve been here just over two years and have held a few different roles. As Development Manager, I steward all our awesome members.

What attracted you to working at Town Hall?

The commitment to accessibility and the breadth of awesome programming.

What book could you read over and over again?

2001: A Space Odyssey. Arthur C Clarke’s surreal depictions of space and time blow me away every single read-through.

Who would you most like to see presented at Town Hall?

Michael Pollan. He’s such an educated and articulate food writer—his thoughtful critiques of our relationship with food would be perfect for Seattle’s gastronomes.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I love to take advantage of our gorgeous city and natural spaces, so you’ll often find me running, biking, and traveling. I also take my culinary hobbies seriously. I bake a lot of bread, brew my own beers, and I’ve taught workshops on traditional Nordic brewing methods!

The Renovation Continues

If you’ve passed near our historic First Hill home on 8th Ave and Seneca in the last few weeks, you may have seen the scaffolding that’s gone up around Town Hall’s façade. It’s been thrilling to see the bustling activity around our building as the renovation progresses, and after only a few months and a handful of hardhat tours, many of the upgrades are already starting to take shape.

The Great Hall looks particularly expectant with the relocation of many of its iconic features. The stained glass windowpanes, decorative molding, and stately mahogany pews have been transferred into the careful hands of restoration experts.

The unique terra cotta façades are getting a thorough revitalization as well. Pioneer Masonry will spruce up the terra cotta throughout the winter, leaving the building’s exterior newly restored and gleaming while the interior is still under construction through 2018.

The first major addition to the interior came in the form of a reassuringly imposing rebar scaffold to help stabilize the structure against earthquakes. Seismic retrofits are crucial for the longevity of a historic building like Town Hall—which was originally constructed in 1916 from unreinforced masonry. The seismic stabilization system is already being integrated into the building’s new interior, adding a solid foot of robust concrete around a thick steel framework throughout all four corners and secured into the foundation. These rebar frames will be joined by hefty beams integrated into the floors and ceilings throughout the building!

On the lobby level, the walls have been removed from the old staff offices. That space is currently being used by our friends at RAFN construction as a base camp and staging area for their workers, but it will become our newest performance space, the West Lounge. Plus we’ve seen the removal of the previously-unused vomitorium stairway in preparation for our 17 new gender-neutral restrooms.

We look forward to sharing future construction updates with you! If you’re interested in following our progress, we’re curating a blog to keep a running update of the renovation, complete with photos and notes about the latest additions. You can also find the latest photos in our renovation gallery on facebook. We’re excited to keep you informed our building’s transformation as Town Hall becomes a modern home for inspired conversation in Seattle—and remains a landmark for another century!

Thank You for Your Civic Action

We want to extend a huge and heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to all our members, donors, and fans who supported the King County Access for All campaign this summer. While the measure didn’t quite garner enough votes, it was still encouraging to see so much passionate support and collaboration from our whole cultural community.

Below is a message from the Executive Director of Cultural Access Washington, which conveys our shared  gratitude and optimism.


Dear Supporter of Access for All,

On behalf of Cultural Access Washington, thank you again for your financial support of the Access for All campaign. As you have seen, the measure came within about 7,500 votes of passing out of more than 437,000 votes cast. It is a blow to lose, particularly by such a narrow margin.  Still, with your support, our campaign accomplished much.

Although the measure was defeated, the effort to broaden access to cultural activities is very much alive. The board of Cultural Access Washington is now at work with a task force to analyze election results and recommend a path forward which may include another run at the ballot for Access for All.

This effort started more than a decade ago. It is obviously challenging, but the benefits of passing a measure—especially one that incorporates all that has been learned through these past months—is a goal very much worth pursuing.

We will continue to keep you posted on next steps. Thank you for your strong and inspiring support. We are confident that together we will pass a program that will serve all members of this region for many years to come.

Best Regards,

James A. Kraft

Executive Director

Cultural Access Washington

Staff Spotlight: Amanda Winterhalter

Name: Amanda Winterhalter

Position: Event Manager

How long have you worked at Town Hall?
Almost one year!

Who/what has been your favorite Town Hall event?
David Duchovny with Jess Walter back in February was one of my favorites, and I also loved Ijeoma Oluo’s and Ahamefule Oluo’s conversation in June.

What are you most excited for during Inside/Out?
Inside/Out provides a unique opportunity to bring our programming into other communities in Seattle and introduce it to people who haven’t experienced Town Hall yet. I’m excited to connect with members and new attendees in their own neighborhoods.

When you are not working, what are you doing?
Performing and writing music! I’m a musician and a songwriter, so I spend most of my free time feeding that art.

What is something people may not know about you?
I am really good at rolling out the lefse.

What book could you read over and over again?
Shrill, by Lindy West.

An Update from Wier

Dear friends,

We’re finally here: our 2017–18 season is underway. As you’ve heard we’re going Inside/Out, bringing our events to neighborhoods across the city while our First Hill home is being renovated. Town Hall’s already at a full sprint—we don’t really know another speed—but I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and thoughts over these last months, and to update you on my health and role here at Town Hall.

In May I shared that I was dealing with a complicated cancer diagnosis and would step back from many of my day-to-day functions to focus on treatment. The support I received from every direction—at home from Barbara and my daughters, from friends far and wide, colleagues at work and in the cultural community, and from so many of you Town Hall members—has been humbling. And I promise you it has had the power to heal.

Throw in a brand new targeted therapy/wonder drug, and I’m happy to share that my progress has been remarkable. I’m back at my desk and life has returned to a version of normalcyonly everything feels heightened. Bigger. Brighter. I am so lucky to live in this city, within this community, and to have Town Hall as a place for my energy.

I’m approaching my 13th year here, and we’ve been planning our major renovation and Inside/Out season for six of those years—it’s all starting right now, and I’m not going to miss a moment of it.

My doctors have concurred that work can be an important part of my healing, so I’ve resumed all (OK, most) of my usual duties. I’ll make as many events as I can, offstage and on, and you’ll see me on the occasional hard hat construction tour. You’ll continue to hear from me in spaces like this, and I might make an occasional appearance in our podcasts. Once I figure out how Stitchr works.

This is a once-ever moment in the life of Town Hall and in our community. And I have never felt luckier, or been more grateful, to share this work with you.

See you Inside/Out,

PS: Two other proofs that human energy and will is a mighty thing—I’m nearly finished with Jo Marchant’s provocative 2016 Cure, a cautious, data-fueled inquiry into the power and limitations of the mind’s role in healing. And I’m just beginning to live with Pieces of Sky, the exquisite, fragile-but-purposeful new record by our 2015 Artist in Residence Tomo Nakayama. “Only so much that we can do, All we have is our given moment, Hit the lights when we clear this room, Leave it cleaner than when we found it…”

Staff Spotlight: Ashley Toia, Director of Strategic Projects

How long have you worked at Town Hall?

2.5 years

What attracted you to working at Town Hall? 

The diversity of programming and the building. It was magnetic – we had just moved to Seattle and were walking by Town Hall, and felt this pull that we needed to be here, that this space was special.  Once we learned what all Town Hall offered, we were hooked!

What book could you read over and over again?

I have a 2 year old, so I literally read the same books over and over again nightly.  Current favorites include Pout Pout Fish, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Press Here, Green Eggs and Ham.  My personal choices would include  Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood.

Who would you most like to see presented at Town Hall?

Lin Manuel Miranda, Jeff Tweedy, Rachel Maddow

When you are not working, what are you doing?

Spending time with my family, snowboarding, traveling when we can, and knitting – so much knitting!

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I love live music, but have spent so many years working in entertainment and doing events that I sometimes struggle with being an audience member – I always find myself standing behind the sound engineer!

What aspect of your job do you never get tired of?

Getting to meet new people and feeling connected to my community.

Make a difference in King County–Advocate for Access for All!

Ten years in the making, Access for All is a King County ballot initiative to increase funding for arts, science, and heritage organizations throughout King County. Access for All is a county-wide continuation of the multi-year, state-wide campaign called Cultural Access Washington, or CAWA. Last summer, CAWA advocates were successful in advocating for the passage of new legislation that would allow counties in Washington State to vote on a sales tax levy of 0.01% (one penny per $10) for art and culture funding in their county—just $2 per month for the average taxpayer.

Now, Access for All is building on that success by leading a campaign to put an arts funding measure on the August 2017 ballot for King County. This moment is critical for the future of arts, science, and heritage education in King County and we need your help! The King County Council is deliberating right now on whether to send this issue to a public vote. Your voice can have tremendous impact at this moment!

1) Write and call your King County Council members this weekend,
and tell them you support Access for All! You can look up your county district councilmember here, and write them directly through Access for All’s website.

2) Write a letter to the editor of your local news outlet about why arts, science and heritage education is important for our community. (It’s important to talk about all three disciplines, not just one!)

3) Use your own social media! Talk to your personal networks about arts, science and heritage education and why Access for All matters.

Time is of the essence: April 17 is a key deadline. That’s when the Council will be meeting to vote on whether this measure will be included on the August 2017 ballot. If we’re voted down, we’d have to try again for the next ballot cycle and risk losing critical support and momentum while we waited.

Nonprofit arts, heritage, and scientific organizations of every size throughout the county would receive significant support to increase their public benefits, access, equity and education activities. At a time when arts and humanities funding is threatened across our nation, Access for All represents a critical opportunity to stand up for cultural expression, to advance our county’s arts and culture ecosystem, and to close the opportunity gaps for marginalized students and families all across King County.

Town Hall stands strongly in support of Access for All. In addition to strengthening partnerships with organizations throughout King County, this initiative would provide Town Hall reliable, sustainable, and significant support to expand access to our programs and fund more youth and in-school education.

Town Hall is Recruiting Neighborhood Steering Committee Members!

Poised on the edge of our highly-anticipated capital renovation, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to undertake a citywide initiative—the most ambitious, collaborative endeavor Town Hall has ever undertaken in its 18 years of ambitious, collaborative endeavors. And we can’t do it without you.

While our building is being renovated, we’ll turn Town Hall “Inside/Out.” We’re taking the programs you love from our historic stages and pouring them into neighborhoods across Seattle. With your help, our programming will be more community-led, more relevant, and more timely than ever.

We’re inviting 12-15 people from each of our Inside/Out neighborhoods to serve on Neighborhood Steering Committees, volunteering as formal advisers, ambassadors, and co-curators. Do you work or live in Phinney Ridge/Greenwood, University/Ravenna, Capitol Hill/Central District, or Columbia/Hillman City? Teach us about your neighborhood and work with us to develop hyper-local programs!

  • What topics and issues are most important to your community?
  • What can Town Hall add to the landscape?
  • What should the rest of Seattle know about your neighborhood?

If you are interested in collaborating with other community-minded folks, please click here to tell us more about yourself.

Questions, or want more details on the Neighborhood Steering Committees? Email our Community Programs Curator

Special Offer: Says You! on June 24 and 25

The wildly popular and entertaining live-radio quiz show Says You! returns to Town Hall on June 24 and 25! The show’s producers, Pipit and Finch, and local radio station KUOW have been longstanding partners here at Town Hall, and we’re excited to celebrate their 10th Seattle show with an exclusive Town Hall member discount.

Click here and use promo code STHmember to receive 10% off reserved seating (100 discounted tickets are available for each show date).

AND, you have the first opportunity to join the Says You! cast in a very special after-party—the next 50 members to make a donation of $250 or more to The Campaign for Town Hall will receive two complimentary tickets to the 1:30 pm matinee show on June 25 and two invitations to the private after-party. This is only available by making a new donation online ( or by phone at 206) 652.4255 x36. Help us renovate Town Hall and close our 20th century doors in style!

The Says You! live-taping kicks off a full week of celebrations (June 25 – 30) as we celebrate everything Town Hall has become and break ground on everything it will be. Keep an eye on your email for more information about the revelries!

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