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Creative Economy Strategic Plan

Washington’s creative economy is vast and growing. It includes creative technology, music and performing arts, and visual arts, as well as many other sectors and professional occupations. It also has a ripple effect throughout our communities, both as a result of increased access to arts and culture and in financial value for primary and secondary economic functions. However, it is not well understood as its own economic engine.

In 2022, the state embarked on an ambitious initiative to develop a Creative Economy Strategic Plan, which will drive this key industry sector in the state and be an example nationwide. During the 2022 legislative session, Section 129(107(e)) of Chapter 297, Laws of 2022 instructed the Department of Commerce to contract with a nonprofit organization with demonstrated expertise in the creative arts to establish a Washington creative economy work group, and to then develop a strategic plan to improve the creative economy.

Commerce contracted with the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) to complete this work. In 2022, WESTAF established the work group and established the research framework necessary to better understand, define, and support Washington’s creative economy.

Key Milestones

WESTAF’s work in 2022 focused on Creative Economy Work Group formation and initial qualitative and quantitative insights and research.

Activities include:

        • Creative Economy Work Group Established
          March – April  2022 
        • Working Definition of WA Creative Economy
          April – July 2022
        • Virtual and in-person consultation meetings
          Summer 2022 – Spring 2023
        • Creative Economy Strategic Plan Work Group meetings
          Fall 2022 – Fall 2023
        • Economic Data Analysis and Ecosystem Model
          July – September 2022
        • Initial Consultation Findings and Policy Research
          October 2022 – December 2022
        • Strategic Plan Development and Comment Period
          Draft Strategic Framework and Key Consultation Findings
          January – October 2023
        • Strategic Plan Launch
          December 2023
        • Strategic Plan Final Report
          January 2024

Workgroup Members


David Holland, Deputy Director, WESTAF
Martin Cohen, Partner, Creative Planning Group

Creative Economy Workgroup Members

royal alley-barnes, Acting Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle
Jonathan Baker, Founder, eqpd, Twisp
Mary Big Bull-Lewis, Indigenous Entrepreneur, Wenatchi Wear, Wenatchee
Squire Broel, Founder, Broel Studio, Inc., Walla Walla
Sarah Brown, Executive Director, TwispWorks, Twisp
Manuel Cawaling, Executive Director, Inspire Washington, Seattle
Matt Chan, President, Chanster LLC, Seattle
Daryll Crews, CEO, The January Group, Tacoma
Davin Diaz, President, DrewBoy Creative, West Richland
Colleen Echohawk, CEO, Eighth Generation, Seattle
Jacob Ewing, Special Projects Coordinator, Association of Washington Cities, Tumwater
Horace Francis. CPA, Francis & Company PLLC, Seattle
Shannon Halberstadt, Creative Economy Sector Lead, Washington Department of Commerce, Seattle
Karen Hanan, Executive Director, ArtsWA (Washington State Arts Commission), Olympia
Virl Hill, Head of Worldwide Business Development, Media & Entertainment, Microsoft, Mercer Island
Angie Hinojos, Executive Director, Centro Cultural Mexicano, Woodinville
Roni Holder-Diefenbach, Executive Director, The Economic Alliance, Okanogan
Amber Knox, Executive Director, Tieton Arts & Humanities, Selah
Amy Lillard, Executive Director, Washington Filmworks / Whipsmart, Seattle
Jiemei Lin, Illustrator, Pullman
Mariella Luz, Working Artist, Studio Potter, and Instructor, Board president, Artist Trust, Olympia
Jennica Machado, Economic Development Manager, Thurston County/WSAC, Olympia
Ed Marquand, Founding Director, Mighty Tieton, Tieton
Monica Miller, Executive Director, Gallery One Visual Arts Center, Ellensburg
Katie Oman, Chief Operating Officer, Northwest Maritime Center, Nordland
Betania Ridenour, Maker, Bristle and Stick, Twisp
Lisa Smith, Executive Director, Washington Microenterprise Association, Olympia
Gina Stark, Economic Development Project Manager, Port of Bellingham, Sedro Woolley
Joseph Todd, Commissioner, Commission on African American Affairs, Renton
Laura VerMeulen, Director, Longhouse Education & Cultural Center, The Evergreen State College, Lacey
Umi Wagoner, Co-Owner, eTcTacoma, Tacoma
Emily Washines Scholar, Native Friends, Toppenish

office hours

M-F: 8am - 5pm


2001 Sixth Ave., Suite 2600, Seattle, WA  98121


(206) 256-6100