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.

How the Certification Works

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

1. Gather your community planning team.

Gather your community planning team.

This team should be made of a broad group of community members. They will work together to develop a plan for your Creative District. Team members may include:

  • Artists
  • Local business owners
  • Arts and culture activity administrators
  • Local government
  • Business or downtown associations
  • School districts and/or colleges
  • Economic developers
  • Community members at-large

2. Plan your District.

Plan your District.

We’ve created a Community Readiness Toolkit to help you plan your District. The amount of time planning takes will vary from community to community. We provide technical assistance and guidance along the way. Please refer to the Pre-Application Checklist to confirm that your District meets minimum requirements. Once you meet all the requirements, you can apply for certification.

3. Apply for Creative District Certification.

Apply for Creative District Certification.

After you’ve created a plan for your District, you can submit a formal application to ArtsWA. Please review the Application Guidelines to make sure you are following the process. Once you apply, a review panel will meet to discuss your application. The panel then decides whether to grant certification.

4. Begin your Creative District activities.

Begin your Creative District activities.

Once you receive certification as a Creative District, put your plan into action.  Start tracking the progress of your Creative District. We will continue to provide technical assistance along the way as you increase the vibrancy of your community. Your District certification will last for five years, when you can apply for recertification.

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 Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA). The award is given to programs that significantly improve a community’s ability to attract and keep investment.

What is a Certified Creative District?

A Creative District is an exciting place to live, work, and visit. A 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. Your district is a place where innovation and creativity can thrive. A place that helps your 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:

  • Grow jobs and opportunities for your citizens
  • 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 for residents and visitors
  • Redevelop historic assets in your community
  • Promote your community’s creative identity
How does ArtsWA support your community?

We provide close guidance for 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

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

1. Gather your community planning team.

Gather your community planning team.

This team should be made of a broad group of community members. They will work together to develop a plan for your Creative District. Team members may include:

  • Artists
  • Local business owners
  • Arts and culture activity administrators
  • Local government
  • Business or downtown associations
  • School districts and/or colleges
  • Economic developers
  • Community members at-large

2. Plan your District.

Plan your District.

We’ve created a Community Readiness Toolkit to help you plan your District. The amount of time planning takes will vary from community to community. We provide technical assistance and guidance along the way. Please refer to the Pre-Application Checklist to confirm that your District meets minimum requirements. Once you meet all the requirements, you can apply for certification.

3. Apply for Creative District Certification.

Apply for Creative District Certification.

After you’ve created a plan for your District, you can submit a formal application to ArtsWA. Please review the Application Guidelines to make sure you are following the process. Once you apply, a review panel will meet to discuss your application. The panel then decides whether to grant certification.

4. Begin your Creative District activities.

Begin your Creative District activities.

Once you receive certification as a Creative District, put your plan into action.  Start tracking the progress of your Creative District. We will continue to provide technical assistance along the way as you increase the vibrancy of your community. Your District certification will last for five years, when you can apply for recertification.

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.
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