City of Tacoma announcement.
TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Creates, the first cultural access program in Washington state, funded 51 organizations whose missions are to advance arts, culture, heritage, and/or science in 2021-2022. With $4.2 million in funding distributed through a competitive process, those 51 organizations provided more than 1,000 cultural programs and events for the community.
“Our community’s support for Tacoma Creates made this possible,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “The wealth of cultural programming and events that has emerged through Tacoma Creates has given us an opportunity to reflect on the way our community has evolved over time and on our shared identity as a city.”
“When funding was distributed in the spring of 2021, there was still a mask-mandate in place, and many cultural organizations were limited to virtual programming,” said Tacoma Creates Advisory Board Chair Sheree Cooks. “Tacoma Creates funds were especially critical as organizations continued to navigate the extraordinary challenges of recent times, while remaining focused on engaging with the community, and keeping creatives and cultural workers employed in Tacoma.”
With 74 percent of the programs and events produced by Tacoma Creates-supported organizations offered free of chargeto the community, more than a third focused on youth education and nearly two-thirds were produced for general audiences.
“The work cultural organizations do – providing opportunities for learning, creating, and reflecting – is a part of our community’s collective health and vitality,” added Cooks. “As more in-person programming became possible in the first half of 2022, cultural organizations provided especially relevant opportunities for public gatherings and shared experiences. Tacoma Creates funds are also supporting the equity-informed shifts that many organizations are making to better serve more people across our city.”
Cultural organizations’ work related to equity and access included expanding location and language access, centering historically under-represented voices in programming choices, investing in technology and services to improve experiences for people with disabilities, and updates to policies and practices that make organizations more inclusive for employees and volunteers.
In addition to programming that brought people to cultural facilities downtown, Tacoma Creates funds also supported programming in neighborhoods across the city. Youth and families, in particular, had increased access to cultural learning programs through partnerships with the Tacoma Public Library and Tacoma Public Schools, including a pilot effort to support bus transportation for Tacoma Public Schools’ school-day field trips which has been expanded for the current school year.
To download a copy of the full 2021-2022 Annual Report and to learn more about Tacoma Creates, visit tacomacreates.org.