Arts in Communities

  • UMO Ensemble, Vashon Island, “Fail Better” by Samuel Beckett
    UMO Ensemble, Vashon Island, “Fail Better” by Samuel Beckett

ArtsWA improves community vitality and aesthetics by supporting arts, arts education, arts research, statewide arts initiatives, accessibility to the arts, and special projects. Our current and most recent projects are summarized below.

Arts Participation Leadership Initiative

The Wallace Foundation and the Washington State Arts Commission partnered on an innovative, four-year arts funding partnership designed to develop the skills and expertise of leaders of arts organizations to build arts participation. The inititiative ended in June 2013, but we continue to maintain the resources and promote the dialogue the project produced.


Poet Laureate: In 2007, Washington joined 40 other states in establishing a Poet Laureate.

Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards: For more than 40 years, Washington State Governors have recognized the valuable role that artists, and arts and heritage supporters and organizations have played in our state.

Creative Vitality Index Pilot Projects

The Creative Vitality Index is an ongoing project which measures the health of the creative economy in Washington State. The Creative Vitality Index continues to evolve as a community resource and an informational tool.

Folk Arts

Created in 1991, the Washington State Arts Commission’s Folk Arts program helped to preserve, present, and protect the traditional arts of Washington’s many diverse cultures. Program goals were to document, identify, honor, and perpetuate these traditions by encouraging public awareness and appreciation of folk arts. Due to budget constraints, the program was discontinued in May 2013. However, resources are still available via links on our Folk Arts page.

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