South Hudson Music Project (SHMP) develops, promotes and presents innovative musical collaborations crossing boundaries of genre, culture, generation, and neighborhood in order to strengthen and engage our community.


Music is the healing force of the universe. It is a powerful language, but it is often expressed in dialects that keep us separate. By forging opportunities for artists and audiences to communicate, share, and explore through music, we can bring people from all walks of life to transform our world.


  • Music has tremendous power: to provoke healthy reflection and debate; to bring together people from all walks of life; and, to make people think and feel.

  • Art and artists are integral parts of our community.

  • Artistic opportunities and dialogue should be accessible to all artists and audiences.

  • Professional performance venues and opportunities are crucial to the local arts ecology; to develop craft at the highest levels, and to provide space for necessary exploration and experimentation.

  • It is vital that each generation of artists support those that follow, and that artists know and be in dialogue with the history of their craft.

  • Equity of pay for artists encourages the local artistic economy and demonstrates a community understanding of artistic value.


In 2009, musician and composer Wayne Horvitz approached longtime Seattle bar, restaurant, and venue owners Tia Matthies and Steve Freeborn about partnering on a new project in Seattle. In 2011 they

opened The Royal Room in historic Columbia City.

The three partners shared the belief that small-to-medium-sized performance venues are crucial incubators for developing musical artists. Minton's Playhouse and the Five-Spot served this function for key jazz innovators such as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Seattle's own OK Hotel nurtured the growth of bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden.

This was the historical model and vision for the Royal Room: a venue that nurtures local musicians and and provides the space and opportunity for a wide range of musicians and audiences to share and interact. For six years, the Royal Room has developed and created programs that bring together different genres, generations, cultures, and communities. It has supported numerous educational, community and nonprofit groups. The Royal Room has built an accessible, comfortable and professional home for this intentionally intersectional approach to building culture and community.

Ticket revenues, however, don’t cover the cost of live music performance -- mainly when equitable access is an organizational value. The tension between the costs of presenting less commercial fare and the ability of program fees to cover those costs is significant. Non-profit theater and dance companies, museums, and public radio stations all depend on a mix of public support, foundation grants, and earned income.

South Hudson Music Project was conceived in 2016, to sustain music presentation at the Royal Room and support deepening connections with the surrounding neighborhood and like-minded musical community. In 2018, Shunpike, the 501(c)3 non-profit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their paths to sustainable success, became the fiscal sponsor, allowing SHMP to test the nonprofit sector's willingness to support this nonprofit offspring of the Royal Room. As such, the South Hudson Music Project is a not-for-profit funding model designed to sustain the music presentation, education, and community benefit activities of The Royal Room as it continues as a for-profit bar and restaurant; it seeks public funding to support music programming at the Royal Room and other venues in the region by following its mission, vision, and values.

Interested in partnering with SHMP but uncertain about where to begin? Use this the form and let us know what you're thinking about! 

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Thank you to our sponsors:

Shunpike is the 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with the services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success. 

South Hudson Music is supported by a generous grant from the Raynier Foundation, in memory of Jim Ray.

4Culture work to ensure access to cultural experiences in King County for all, from museum collections to theater productions to artists showing work in our gallery.

And thank you to our individual donors for your continued support!

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