Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare (SMASH), a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost health services to Puget Sound area musicians, is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Washington, for a Communications and Outreach staff position. The grant will fund the new position and programmatic growth over a three-year period and will improve SMASH's ability to reach more musicians and communicate about SMASH.
"The vibrancy of our region's culture is built on artists and musicians who often face many barriers accessing necessary health resources and services" says SMASH's Executive Director Denise Burnside. "Paying for and navigating the labyrinth of the American health system is hard enough for people with a 9-5 job and an HR department, and is often insurmountable for those working in the gig economy. That's why SMASH exists - to amplify currently available resources and fill the gaps in health insurance, if the musician has any, and address the health and wellness needs of our music community."
SMASH was founded in 2016 and has already grown its membership by 67% in 2021 as compared to the end of 2020. The organization connects working musicians with mental health, dental, primary care, vision, hearing protection, and other services that support musicians' health. The organization expects to double its membership over the next year.
Music connects us and brings us together. The Seattle area has been, and is, home to some of the greatest musicians, trailblazers who have transformed the industry. As our region grows, it's increasingly difficult to live on a musician's salary. In 2019 the City of Seattle published the Seattle Creative Economy Report, stating "...the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro has the highest-paid creatives in Computer occupations ($48.88/hr) and the lowest-paid creatives in Arts, Design, Entertainment, and Media occupations ($11.87/hr)."
As musicians struggle to make ends meet, healthcare takes a backseat to expenses like rent and food. SMASH knows that the only way our Pacific Northwest music scene will thrive is if ALL our musicians are cared for. That's where SMASH comes in. SMASH supports musicians in the PNW region by prioritizing their health and their lives through providing access to free and low-cost medical, dental, and mental health services, and other services that support musicians' health.
SMASH is honored to be a Trust recipient and work with an organization whose mission is to support the region's economic and cultural base.