It’s official! Edmonds, Washington is the state’s first Certified Creative District. The announcement was made by Gov. Jay Insee during the annual Governor’s Arts and Heritage Awards.
The designation is designed to encompass a specific geographic area that is defined by its art, cultural, social and economic activity. It can include cultural facilities, artists, creative industries and other businesses that support the creative economy. The Washington State Legislature created the Creative District program in 2017 as a way to grow local arts and creative economies, creating jobs and strengthening communities in the process.
Edmonds was a natural choice, given its rich history of promoting and supporting the arts. The downtown area offers a wide range of artistic and cultural experiences in very walkable setting, including theaters, museums, galleries, performing arts centers, boutiques and quaint sidewalk cafes. Its annual events calendar is filled with art shows, performances, community celebrations and public art displays.
“We are delighted to recognize Edmonds as the state’s first certified Creative District,” said Program Director Annette Roth. “We look forward to working with the city over the next five years to really build on its successes to enhance its creative economy and achieve its objectives.”
The designation benefits communities in a number of ways. Not only is it an official state endorsement of artistic and cultural activities, but it also provides the community with a focal point that builds additional synergies, particularly in attracting new business and visitors to town.
“I couldn’t be more delighted with ArtsWA’s selection of Edmonds as the state’s first certified Creative District,” said Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. “We pulled together a robust public-engagement process over this past year that helped us create goals, objectives and milestones for an ambitious five-year program that we included in our application.”
ArtsWA supports communities with this designation, providing grant funding opportunities, technical assistance and training, wayfinding signage and more.
Creative district applications are accepted on an ongoing basis from communities in the state that are interested in achieving the designation. Interested cities can access the Creative District Community Application Guidelines to determine eligibility.