highway sign
ArtsWA partnered with WSDOT to provide a comprehensive program-branded signage package to be installed on state highways and freeways adjacent to Districts. This sign above is the first in Washington to be installed, on northbound Hwy 395 in Chewelah.

How the Certification Works

Graphic of Creative Districts 4 step process

Getting your community certified as a Creative District is a simple process and can be achieved in four basic steps:

Creative Districts

Creative Districts helps Washington communities thrive. This award-winning program works to grow the creative sector. It helps communities turn cultural activities into economic growth.

In March 2019, ArtsWA received the Innovation in Economic Development Award from WEDA. The award is for programs that significantly improve a community’s ability to attract and keep investment.

What is a Certified Creative District?

A Creative District is a fun place to live, work, and visit. It’s geographically defined area of cultural and economic activity. It’s the heart of a community. It is a place for people to gather and enjoy their community’s arts and culture.

A district is a place where innovation and creativity can thrive. A place that helps the community move enthusiastically into the future.

 How will certification benefit your community?

State certification endorses creative activities in your community. It recognizes the potential for growth. Certification can help you:

  • Promote your community’s creative identity
  • Grow jobs in the creative sector
  • Increase tourism and bring new visitors
  • Attract artists, start-ups, and creative businesses
  • Create opportunities for affordable housing. This may include live/work and maker spaces for artists.
  • Boost livability
  • Redevelop historic assets in your community

How does ArtsWA support your community?

We provide guidance to communities during and after certification. We are able to provide:

  • Specialized resources
  • Grant opportunities
  • Technical assistance, training, and networking
  • Tracked progress of your community’s creative economy

How the Certification Works

Graphic of Creative Districts 4 step process

Getting your community certified as a Creative District is a simple process and can be achieved in four basic steps:

The first Certified Creative District in Washington
The City of Edmonds was designated the state's first Creative District in December 2018. Photo courtesy of the City of Edmonds.

Creative District Spotlight

Tenino, Washington

Tenino is one of the newest Creative Districts, gaining certification in June 2020. In response to the effect that COVID-19 has had on their local economy, the city has come up with a creative way to support residents and small businesses. They are getting international attention for their approach, which takes a page from their city’s history to help make their community resilient for the future. Watch the video that aired July 19, 2020, on CBS Sunday Morning, to learn more.

 

Listen to an interview with Tenino’s mayor, Wayne Fournier, on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast about how Tenino’s Wooden Money is impacting the community.

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