Thomas Grant Richardson (right), Director of the Center for Washington Traditions, with Governor's Arts & Heritage honoree Deepti Agrawal (center) and the Center's Violeta Martin.

Center for Washington Cultural Traditions

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions (CWCT) began in 2016. It is a partnership between ArtsWA and Humanities Washington. The CWCT surveys, studies and supports folk and traditional arts and other cultural traditions. Our research and programs increase access to Washington’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

We host a number of live events and media offerings across the state. CWCT programs are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program

The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program (HAAP) helps artisans to learn a traditional trade, craft, or skill. It teaches important job skills. It helps master artists and tradition bearers foster a new generation. It encourages communities to carry on cultural traditions important to their heritage and identity.

Master Artists and apprentices apply to be part of this yearlong program. Selected pairs receive honoraria and some funding to help offset the cost of travel, and supplies.

Learn more about the apprenticeship program.

📣 2023-24 Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Pairs announced

The 2023-24 Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Pairs (HAAP) were announced on August 31. Cultural practices range from West African dance to mariachi music, Nooksack language preservation, canoe making, and more.

Cultural Traditions Survey

The Cultural Traditions Survey is a multi-year project to study local cultural traditions throughout the state. Each year, staff at CWCT conducts research on cultural traditions in a new region of the state. Survey findings help to develop programs that support local communities.

Learn more about the Cultural Traditions Survey.

Past Folk Arts Project Archive

In 1991, ArtsWA began the Folk Arts program to preserve and protect the traditional arts in Washington’s diverse cultures. The program ended in 2013 due to budget constraints.

Northwest Heritage Tours. These audio tours and guidebooks profile the cultural history of ten Washington regions.  The ArtsWA Folk Arts program published these guides in partnership with Northwest Heritage Resources.

Folk Arts and Senior Living Communities. The oldest members of our state preserve a wealth of traditional arts knowledge. The Folk Arts program interviewed seniors, who shared valuable information about forms of traditional arts.

Folk Arts Archives. A $25,000 grant from the NEA supported digitizing our collection of folk and traditional images through a partnership with State Archives. We digitized more than 8,000 images, which are now stored at the State Archives.

Folk & Traditional Arts in the Parks Program was a partnership between ArtsWA and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. The partnership supported programs to attract more ethnic and racial diversity to state parks. We aimed to interest young people of color in outdoor recreation and recreation-related careers.

ArtsWA American Masterworks. This series of five short films focus on five Washington Master artists. Laughing Dog Pictures and Sparkworks Media of Seattle produced these films. They are part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius, an initiative of the NEA.  Click on the links below to watch the films on our YouTube channel.

Salvador Baldovines

Ross Palmer Beecher

Phillip McCracken

Alan Moe

Moly Sam

The Center for Washington Cultral Traditions is a program sponsored by ArtsWA and Humanities Washington.