Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. Photo by Wildlight.
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. Photo by Wildlight.

Meany Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington fosters innovative performances that advance public  engagement, cultural exchange, creative research, and learning through the arts. Meany Center provides opportunities for diverse artists, community, students and faculty to connect in the discovery and exploration of the boundless power of the arts to create positive change in the world.



audience members served


Meany Center for the Performing Arts enjoys an international reputation as one of the Northwest’s premier centers for  performing arts presentations and arts education. As a community resource, Meany Center provides audiences of all ages access to critically-acclaimed artists of diverse cultural and artistic perspectives from across the globe. Furthermore, our presence on the University campus opens doors for exciting cross-disciplinary partnerships to explore how the arts and creative practice can combine to forge powerful learning experiences.

Meany Center presents four distinct series of visiting performing artists: World Dance, World Music & Theater, President’s Piano, and International Chamber Music. Season offerings also include special engagements with acclaimed artists, such as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma and Kathleen Battle.

Meany Center performances take place in Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, just off of Red Square on the UW Seattle campus.

Over the years, nearly 500 visiting artists from around the world have performed as part of Meany Center’s visiting artist program. This diverse programming has given Northwest audiences a broad view of the world of performing arts—from sampling unique cultural traditions that date back thousands of years, to experiencing the newest in innovative work aimed at expanding the scope and direction of contemporary performing arts.

UW Creative Research Fellow Margarita Bali and community dancers. Photo by Cynthia Mullis
UW Creative Research Fellow Margarita Bali and community dancers. Photo by Cynthia Mullis

Nearly 500 internationally acclaimed artists have appeared at Meany, including:

World Dance

  • Grupo Corpo (Brazil)
  • Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (USA)
  • Noche Flamenca (Spain)
  • Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (Taiwan)
  • Compagnie Käfig (France)
  • Mark Morris Dance Group (USA)

World Music & Theater

  • Kodo (Japan)
  • Vicente Amigo (Spain)
  • Habib Koité (Mali)
  • Lila Downs (USA & Mexico)
  • The Nile Project (North & East Africa)

President's Piano Series

  • Garrick Ohlsson (USA)
  • Simon Trpčeski (Macedonia)
  • Juho Pohjonen (Finland)
  • Angela Hewitt (Canada)
  • Emanuel Ax (USA)
  • Joyce Yang (South Korea)

International Chamber Music

  • Tafelmusik (Canada)
  • Takács Quartet (Hungary & USA)
  • Jerusalem Quartet (Israel)
  • Emerson String Quartet (USA)
  • Danish String Quartet (Denmark)
  • JACK Quartet (USA)

Meany Center Fast Facts

Annual Averages

  • 50,000 audience members served
  • 25 visiting artists.ensembles
  • 38 performances
  • 12 countries represented


Lila Downs. Photo by Marcela Taboada.
Lila Downs. Photo by Marcela Taboada.

In addition to main stage performances in Meany Hall, Meany Center presents more than 100 free education programs each season. Through this community-centered work, we hope to open people’s minds to the beauty of dance and music and to the incredible diversity of art forms and cultures around the world.

The following is a short list of some of the educational programs we provide for our community:

Pre-performance lectures. Prior to all World Dance and World Music performances, we host informal lectures by visiting artists, graduate students, UW faculty, and local historians. These free, pre-show lectures give audience members useful insights into the artists and art forms they are about to see.

Master classes for students preparing for careers in the arts. Many of the renowned visiting artists presented by Meany Center conduct master classes for arts students in our community. Classes with artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, pianist Jonathan Biss, and Mark Morris Dance Group provide valuable opportunities for students pursuing careers in the arts to learn directly from acclaimed dancers, musicians, and choreographers.

In-school artist visits for K-12 students. Recognizing the importance of sharing the performing arts with students early in their education, Meany Center is proud to offer many free in-school lecture/ demonstrations and coaching sessions each season. This program brings world renowned artists such as Step Africa! and oudist Simon Shaheen into local schools for live, interactive activities designed to give students exposure to a variety of performing arts experiences and a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds.

Free youth matinees for area school children. Meany Center invites students who might not otherwise experience internationally acclaimed performing artists to attend special youth matinees. These free matinees give students the opportunity to see performances ranging from the traditional dances of Senegal to the work of renowned choreographers such as Jessica Lang and Alonzo King. These matinees often include a post-show question-and-answer period with the artists themselves. Through these matinees, students learn about art and culture from around the world, and they have the added bonus of visiting one of the country’s leading public universities.

Community arts forums and lectures. In an effort to put our visiting artists and their art forms in a greater cultural context, Meany Center offers opportunities to converse with artists and to gain new perspectives on the arts and the changing world around us, often in partnership with other cultural and community organizations.

Creative Fellowships Initiative. In collaboration with the Schools of Music and Drama, the Department of Dance, and DXARTS, Meany Center has been engaging artists in a new interdisciplinary pilot program that explores the nature of creative research. Funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Creative Fellowships Initiative offers something truly groundbreaking: an artist residency where the focus is on the creative process rather than the finished product. Creative Research Fellows are here to dream, think, tinker, invent, collaborate, and experiment. By focusing on pure research, the Initiative advances the field of performing arts by supporting artists in the development of new work and by integrating the performing arts disciplines into the broader curriculum.

Danish String Quartet. Photo by Caroline Bittencourt.
Danish String Quartet. Photo by Caroline Bittencourt.

Community Connections

Programs offered

  • 24 UW/community master classes & workshops
  • 21 K-8 in-school residencies
  • 6 free youth matinees
  • 5 free campus concerts
  • 28 lectures by or about visiting artists

Individuals Served Annually

  • 5,200 free K-12 programs
  • 4,500 free UW student and adult learner programs


Meany Center for the Performing Arts
Box 351150
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4882


last update: December 2018