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2017-18 Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) Funding

Online Application DeadlineJanuary 23, 2017, 11:59 PM

Award Amounts: $2,500 each


The City of Tacoma is now accepting Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) funding applications from eligible Tacoma artists who wish to create new artwork in any discipline and present that work through a free public component. 


TAIP Guidelines and Application Instructions

Download the full TAIP guidelines and application instructions


About TAIP Funding

The TAIP was established in 1999 to encourage the contributions made by individual artists within the City of Tacoma. The goal of the program is to recognize high quality talent of the artists in our community and assist them in generating new work and presenting that work to the community through a free public component.

Artists working in all disciplines including literary, performing, new media, and visual arts are encouraged to apply. Cross-disciplinary approaches are also encouraged. Only one application per artist will be accepted.


The Tacoma Arts Commission has allocated $40,000 for TAIP funding, and each selected artist will be awarded $2,500. Funding for TAIP is determined through a competitive application process. A panel comprised of Tacoma Arts Commission members, community members and past TAIP awardees will review applications and make funding recommendations. Those recommendations will go to the Tacoma Arts Commission for approval. All projects selected for TAIP funding must be completed by December 31, 2018.


To be eligible for TAIP funding, applicant must:

  • Be a resident of the City of Tacoma
  • Be a practicing artist, dedicated to producing artwork on a regular basis
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • NOT have received a TAIP award in the past two cycles (2013-2016)
  • NOT be a member of the TAIP selection panel
  • NOT be a full time undergraduate or graduate student in an arts-related degree program
  • NOT be a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, or City of Tacoma employee

Application Workshop

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop which explains and addresses questions about the application and funding process on December 15, 2016, from 5:30-7 PM, in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 728 St. Helens Avenue, Room 16.


To Apply

Download the 2017-18 Tacoma Artists Initiative Program Guidelines and Application Instructions (PDF) for complete information on the funding program and how to apply.


Access the online application and apply now


Download the 2017-18 TAIP Project Budget Page only (PDF).


Have questions about how to fill out the budget? Take a look at this example budget sheet.



Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or by email.

Arts Anchor Fund

Online Application Deadline: January 23, 2017, 11:59 PM

The City of Tacoma is now accepting Arts Anchor Fund applications from eligible Tacoma arts organizations. The Arts Anchor Fund supports Tacoma's largest community-based arts organizations that significantly improve the quality of life for the citizens of Tacoma, “anchor” the cultural scene in Tacoma, have a solid history of financial stability, offer artistic work of exceptionally high quality, draw artists to the community, and significantly strengthen the mix of artistic offerings available locally. See guidelines for eligibility requirements and application instructions.


To be eligible for the Arts Anchor Fund, applicant organization must:

  • Have a mission that is primarily arts centered
  • Show evidence of leadership, contribution and advancement in its field
  • Have a record of at least five years of ongoing paid employment of professional administrative and artistic personnel
  • Have an annual operating budget of at least $250,000 per year
  • Exhibit ongoing stability of management, staff, board, fiscal operations and community support
  • Be headquartered in Tacoma with major venues located within Tacoma city limits
  • Be a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization not receiving other support from the City for the same services
  • Have a City of Tacoma Business License
  • Have a business plan
  • Match the City’s Arts Anchor Fund contract at least $1:$1 with other cash support

About the Funding

The Tacoma Arts Commission has allocated $255,000 for the Arts Anchor Fund, and each selected organization will be awarded between $20,000 - $40,000 for the 2017-2018 biennium. Funding is determined through a competitive application process and previous funding from the program does not guarantee future funding. 

How to Apply

The 2017-18 application is comprised of three items:

  1. 2017-18 Arts Anchor Fund guidelines (PDF)
  2. 2017-18 Financial Forms (Excel)
  3. 2017-18 Event Forms (Excel)

Access the online 2017-18 Arts Anchor Fund application form.  


Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or by email.

Portable Artworks Purchase for People's Community Center

Portable Artworks Purchase for People's Community Center


Call to Artists

Download the Call to Artists for details.


Application Deadline

February 13, 2017, 11:59 PM



Up to $10,000 in total purchases, including any required framing



Pierce County artists are encouraged to submit existing original portable artworks for consideration of purchase and installation at People’s Community Center in Tacoma. Artists of color are encouraged to apply. The selection panel will use the theme “Beginning. Moving Forward.” to select artwork for the space. Media can include, but is not limited to: painting, drawing, works on paper, photography, printmaking, digital, collage, mosaics, fiber, mixed-media, and wall-mountable low-relief sculpture. Portable artworks include 2-dimensional pieces that fall within Artwork Eligibility guidelines as listed below.


Artist Eligibility

  • Must live in Pierce County
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Panel will prioritize artists of color with a tie to the Hilltop community
  • Cannot be a member of the Tacoma Arts Commission or a panel member for this purchase opportunity

Artwork Eligibility

  • Submit up to six pieces of existing artwork available for purchase.
  • Content/subject matter must be suitable for a general audience.
  • Must be able to be hung on a wall. 
  • Artwork should be no smaller than 8” x 8” and no larger than 4’ x 4’. Artwork cannot extend further than 6” from the wall. Artwork may be composed of multiple pieces hung together.
  • Work should be submitted unframed. The Tacoma Arts Commission will take care of any required framing.
  • Must be an original artwork or signed and numbered limited edition.
  • Must be durable and require little maintenance.
  • Cannot require a power source or utilities such as an electrical outlet, batteries, or running water.
  • Price cannot exceed $1,500 per artwork submitted (excluding taxes).

Selection Criteria

Artwork will be selected on the basis of:

  • Artistic quality
  • Appropriateness for a public setting
  • Ability of work to create a more welcoming environment at the community center
  • Relevance or relationship of artist and/or artwork to the Hilltop community
  • Relationship to other selected works and ability to contribute to the theme “Beginning. Moving Forward.”
  • Diversity of work and artists represented in the City’s artwork collection

To Apply

Eligible artists interested in this opportunity must submit the following three items via Submittable at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit

  1. Digital Images with Descriptions 
    Up to six digital images of a maximum of six existing artworks available for purchase (one image per artwork available). Submit only high quality JPEG files. In the Description field for each image submitted, include: title of artwork, medium, dimensions (H” x W” x D”), year work was completed, and purchase price unframed (without tax included).
  2. Connection to Hilltop
    Indicate your connection to Hilltop in 100 words or less. 
  3. Artist Bio
    Provide an artist bio of 250 words or less that describes your work and artistic practice.


February 13, 2017,
11:59 PM
Deadline for submissions 
By March 10, 2017 Notification of Image & Application Review decisions
March 20, 2017,
9 AM – 5 PM
Delivery of selected artwork for Artwork Review and Selection
By April 14, 2017 Notification of Artwork Review and Selection decisions 

Selection Process

  • Part I:  Applications are due by 11:59 PM on February 13, 2017. 
  • Part II: Image & Application Review
    Applications will be reviewed by a panel that includes community stakeholders and representatives of the Tacoma Arts Commission and Metro Parks Tacoma’s Arts & Heritage Advisory Council. The panel will select a list of artworks to review in person for consideration of purchase.
  • Part III: Artwork Review & Selection
    Artists whose work is being considered for purchase must deliver or ship the actual artwork to the Tacoma Arts Commission office on or by March 20 for final review and possible selection for purchase. Artists whose works are not recommended for purchase will be asked to pick up their artwork, at the cost to the artist. 

    Selected artwork should be mailed/delivered to:
    Tacoma Arts Commission
    Portable Works Purchase
    747 Market Street, Room 900
    Tacoma, WA 98402
  • Part IV: Purchase
    Artists whose work is selected for purchase must complete a Purchase, Limited Copyright & Warranties Agreement and a Conservation Record.


Located at 1602 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, People's Community Center was built as a result of strong community organization and effort. A small community building was constructed on the site in the 1960s and eventually named the Malcom X Center. In the early 1970s, after the community began expressing concern that the site amenities were not adequate, the City of Tacoma pursued a federal development grant to fund a new, larger building. The new People's Center opened in 1978. Since then, People's Center has served as a cornerstone of the community for meeting and social functions. 

With a primary focus on youth and after school programming, this central Tacoma "Hilltop" location is popular with adults and the many children and youth in the area and features a swimming pool, gymnasium, meeting rooms and other amenities.

In 2015, after years of planning and public input, construction began on a new People’s Community Center pool. The updated pool, which opened for use in September 2016, has a bigger footprint and improved amenities to help serve the needs of the Hilltop neighborhood and surrounding community. The City of Tacoma owns the building and Metro Parks operates it. The organizations worked together with a steering committee of local residents and stakeholders to plan for the pool’s return.

Funding for this portable works purchase opportunity comes from Metro Parks Tacoma and the City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Program that dedicates 1% of construction costs from public capital projects to the creation of public art. Artworks purchased through this opportunity will become part of the City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Collection. More information about the Municipal Art Program can be found at: www.cityoftacoma.org/arts


Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or by email

2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Call to Artists

Download the call to artists for details


Application Deadline

February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM





The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the seventh annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2017 to April 2019, and receive a stipend of $4,000. The individual will actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects; participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October; and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate. 

In keeping with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, the Tacoma Poet Laureate should actively strive to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry, expanding access to the literary arts to underserved/underrepresented audiences including people of different races/ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation and identity, ability, and income. 

People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are encouraged to apply.

Current Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year's Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event is will be held on Saturday, April 29, 6 PM. The event location will be announced.


  • Applicant must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community. Staff will verify addresses against an official Pierce County map. 
  • Applicant must be a practicing artist, dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis. 
  • Applicant must be 18 years or older.
  • Applicant cannot be a previous Tacoma Poet Laureate title holder. 
  • Applicant cannot be a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, City of Tacoma staff member, or Tacoma Poet Laureate selection panel member.

Selection Criteria

  • Artistic Quality (as exhibited in written and recorded work samples)
  • Demonstrated history of involvement and activity within the literary arts
  • Ability to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry in meaningful ways to further the literary arts in our community 


The artist selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate must be willing and able to:

  • Offer a minimum of two free public workshops in Tacoma each year relating to poetry (four workshops total.)
  • Actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, special projects, etc. as negotiated with the City’s Arts Program staff.
  • Participate in Tacoma Arts Month programming each October.
  • Competently handle administrative duties including being the point of contact for all programming inquiries from the public, managing a schedule, arranging details for programs, and coordinating press releases with City’s Arts Program staff. 
  • Help produce, with the assistance of the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program, an event in Tacoma in April 2019 to announce the winner of the 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate program.

To Apply

To be considered, applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit the following five items via Submittable

  1. Proof of Residency
    A copy of your Washington State ID, Driver's License, or current utility bill in your name to indicate your current residency within Pierce County. 
  2. Short Responses 
    Answers to the following five questions. Limit each answer to no more than 250 words. 
    • Describe your relationship to Tacoma.  
    • What do you see is the role a Poet Laureate should play in a community?
    • How would you serve the community as Tacoma Poet Laureate?
    • Outline your proposed community engagement strategy. How will you encourage others, especially underserved/underrepresented poetry audiences, to participate in the literary arts? 
    • Briefly summarize two sample workshops or projects you think might appeal to public audiences that you would consider presenting as Tacoma Poet Laureate. 
  3. Resume
  4. References
    Names and contact information for two references who can speak to how you would serve in a public role promoting poetry.
  5. Work Samples with Descriptions 
    • Five written poetry samples of your own composition, and
    • One to two recorded poetry samples - submit URLs or digital video or audio recording samples of you reading or performing your own compositions. At least one recorded piece should be the same composition as one of the written poetry samples you are submitting. 

Tacoma Poet Laureate Background

The Tacoma Poet Laureate position was founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church as a way of focusing attention on Tacoma’s literary talent by organizing and hosting public readings and workshops in local schools and community events. 

In 2011, upon the request of Urban Grace Church, the administration of the Poet Laureate program transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program. Urban Grace Church is recognized as the founding partner of the program. Past poets laureate include William Kupinse; Antonio Edwards, Jr; Tammy Robacker; Josie Emmons Turner; and Lucas Smiraldo. The current poet laureate is Cathy Nguyen.  


 Application deadline  February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM
 Notification  By April 14, 2017
Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony  April 29, 2017, 6 PM
 Term of service  May 2017 – April 2019



For questions or assistance, please email Naomi Strom-Avila or call (253) 591-5191.

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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191