Certified Creative Districts

  • Artist Jean Whitesavage works on a project at Cascade Middle School, Sedro-Wooley.
    Artist Jean Whitesavage works on a project at Cascade Middle School, Sedro-Wooley.

The Certified Creative Districts program works to help communities throughout the state thrive. It is a legislative initiative designed to support the state's creative economy. 

A state-certified Creative District provides a strong base for communities to grow the arts and creative economy. They can grow jobs and provide educational, and cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.

What is a Creative District?

It's a geographically defined area where art, cultural, social, and economic activity takes place. It includes cultural facilities, artists, creative industries and other businesses that support these activities.

It's a vehicle to grow jobs and create opportunities in the arts. It can make the most of a community's arts and cultural heritage. It's the heart of a community - a focal point for people to gather and enjoy vibrant and vital acitvities. And it showcases the innovation and entrepreneurship Washington is known for.


How would a Creative District designation benefit my community?

The state-certification is designed to help your community organize arts and cultural activites. With certification, you can:

  • Strengthen your local economy
  • Promote your community’s identity and values
  • Attract new visitors and increase tourism
  • Create jobs and long-term career opportunities
  • Pursue creative industry-related grants
  • Attract creative entrepreneurs and new industries
  • Improve and/or redevelop historic or community assets
  • Attract additional investment
  • Create opportunities around live/work and maker space for artists
  • Strengthen your community by bringing artists, businesses, nonprofits, local government and citizens together to develop your future

How will ArtsWA support my community?

ArtsWA’s role is to guide communities as they seek District certification and implement their programs. We  provide a support system so that you can create long-term economic and cultural opportunities in your community. We:

  • Provide resources to help you plan your program
  • Offer guidance throughout the planning process
  • Administer a rigorous and fair application process

If your community becomes a Certified Creative District, we will:

  • Provide ongoing support and advocacy
  • Provide access to training programs
  • Provide and develop continuous technical assistance
  • Establish networking opportunities
  • Identify and create grant and/or additional funding opportunities
  • Promote your success stories to the public, elected officials, and other stakeholders

Program Timeline Through 2018

4 Step Process for Certification


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