Olympia is the Regional Center for Arts & Culture -- Ushering in a new Renaissance

It’s about Enhancement and Investment-

Busking.jpgGreat Cities, that draw talented workers, all have something in common- a strong commitment to Culture and the Arts. We need more arts and entertainment venues, both Downtown and elsewhere. The City has a variety of tools to encourage this type of development and build upon Olympia’s adopted Downtown Strategy. Let’s use these tools to create the City we want.

Let’s expand support for existing cultural events, AND add new events and
festivals to the annual calendar. An artful community cannot help but be full of the Arts.

It’s about Preservation -

Capitol_Theater.jpgA century ago, our community built three great performance spaces. We lost the Liberty- but gained the Washington Center in its place. The other two historic theaters- the Capitol and the State- still stand, operated by local non-profits. The City has a clear role of partnering with these non-profits to ensure these precious assets are maintained, enhanced, and stay available to the public long into the future.

So much of our local culture is tied to our historic sites. We must do more, investing tangible resources, into historic and cultural preservation. No, it’s not cheap. Nor is it simple. But it is worth doing.

It’s about the Cultural District -

Squaxin_art.jpgThis year, Olympia was the 3rd “creative district” recognized by the state. We have something special here. And now we need to think big. Special cultural districts work in other cities, and we can do this in Olympia. Here’s what they say about Cultural Districts in Louisiana:

Cultural Districts grow local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen our cultural capacity. The program enlivens places by fueling creative activities, artisan production, and the educational aspects of arts and culture.

Within locally designated districts, one-of-a-kind works of art are exempt from state and local sales tax. Cultural Districts succeed best when local governments work with neighborhoods, artists, businesses, and citizens to make places better.

support_local_art.jpgYes, original works of art sold within the District are exempt from state and local sales tax. And it would take new State legislation to authorize this. Who better than the Capital City, to propose such an idea? And what better neighborhood to pilot such a project than Downtown Olympia, already home to many owner-operated galleries? The tax exempt district can only enhance a local economy by focusing on creative activities, artisan production, and unique products that are less likely to be purchased online. Let’s get this done.

It’s about Education -

Armory.jpgThe 2004 Parks Plan called for a community arts center and gallery. Today, the need is greater than ever. There is growing demand for additional classes, but no available classroom or workshop spaces.

A Center for the Arts and Humanities is essential to retain Olympia’s cultural focus. The historic National Guard Armory on Eastside Street is being decommissioned. With City and the Community support, we can secure this historic property and create a vibrant Center for the Arts and Humanities, filling an essential community need.

It is time to stop putting an Arts & Cultural Center into our plans and then forgetting about it until years later. It is time to invest in the Arts and Culture of Olympia. Let’s get serious and acquire and redevelop this historic gem.

It’s About Access -

Cultural Access is a sales tax measure jurisdictions can use to support education and arts and culture in a community. I support working with our community partners and the school district to get cultural access successfully approved by the voters by 2021.

A Vibrant Arts & Cultural Community 

Starts with Community Investments-

Let’s do this, together.

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