Arts and culture fare well in Legislative Session

ArtsWA is thankful for the support of the legislature during this past legislative session. Several ArtsWA budget items have been included in the Operating and Capital budgets and are pending governor Inslee’s approval of the FY21 budget. Other statewide arts/cultural items are also included. Here’s a summary:

In the Capital Budget, ArtsWA received funding in the next fiscal year for two projects. The first is $200,000 for the Creative Districts program. This will fund capital projects for a number of Certified Districts. The number of Certified Districts to receive funding will be determined over the coming months. The second project is $80,000 to evaluate and plan the Art in Public Places Yakima SunDome repair project. The funding will help us determine how much it will cost to replace thousands of the reflectors that make up artist Dick Elliott’s “Circle of Light” around the Yakima SunDome.

In the Operating Budget, ArtsWA received funding for several items, including an office lease increase, tenant improvements for expansion of our offices, and leave buyout for a separating staff member. We were also given permission to move funds from FY 20 to FY21 four our brand-new Creative Start (arts integration) program.

Additionally, two other initiatives we were paying attention to that affect arts and culture in Washington saw positive movement. HB 2352 (Building for the Arts) passed the house but did not make it out of the Senate. Budget writers were asked to include requested changes to the program in the budget, which will be good for the next fiscal year. Changes included: reducing the required project match from 4:1 to 2:1, and increase the overall cap of the program to $16M from $12M. The second initiative was SB 5792 (Cultural Access Washington), which amended language to ensure all counties were operating the same way. This brought King County in line with all the other counties in Washington.

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