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2017 Arts Projects Funding

Online application deadline

November 7, 2016, 11:59 PM


The City of Tacoma is now accepting Arts Projects funding applications from eligible organizations producing publicly accessible arts programming within Tacoma city limits in 2017. Arts Projects funding ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, and supports community projects that focus on the arts. Funded events must take place between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.



Eligibility extends to private non-profit agencies with a 501(c) designation; organized groups of community volunteers, such as a business district or neighborhood council with an advisory body, business license and organizational bank account; and educational institutions or for-profit businesses wishing to produce not-for-profit arts functions. Applicants are required to have offices within Tacoma or, if they have no office, a majority of the applicant’s activities must take place within Tacoma city limits. See guidelines for complete eligibility requirements.


Application Workshop

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop, which explains and addresses questions about the application and funding process. The workshop will be held October 13, 2016, from 12 – 1:30 PM, at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, 9th floor, Visibility Center conference room.


Guidelines and Application Instructions 

Download the 2017 Arts Projects Guidelines and Application Instructions (PDF) for complete information on the funding program and how to apply.


Download the 2017 Arts Projects Budget Page only (PDF).



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

Eastside Community Center - Design Team Artist & Community Engagement Lead

Design Team Artist & Community Engagement LeadImages of Students at Eastside Community Event

Eastside Community Center, Tacoma, WA

Request for Qualifications J2016-22
Metro Parks Tacoma Public Art Program 


Call to Artists

Download the Call to Artists for more project details.



$30,000, all-inclusive


October 11, 2016, 11:59 PM


Project Summary

Metro Parks Tacoma is seeking an artist or artist team to create an art strategy for the new Eastside Community Center (ESCC), informed by community engagement with young people in the neighborhood. The artist will become part of the larger project team, and will work with the design team to leverage planned site work in late stages of design. In addition, the artist will be expected to participate in youth engagement sessions facilitated by Metro Parks; design and implement additional youth engagement opportunities; create an Art Brief (mini art plan) that identifies opportunities for public art within the ESCC campus; and act as an advisor for the implementation of the Art Brief.

  • Applicant(s) must live in Washington or Oregon.
  • Applicant(s) can apply as a single artist or as an artist team.
  • Applicant(s) must be 18 years or older and not a full-time student.
  • Applicant(s) cannot be an employee, board member, council member, or commissioner of Metro Parks Tacoma or the City of Tacoma.

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

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria on which artists/artist teams will be judged:

  • Artistic quality as exemplified in past work
  • Ability to think and work in a variety of scales, materials, and media appropriate to a site
  • Ability to contribute to a planning process and create an Art Brief (mini art plan)
  • Experience working collaboratively with architects and design teams to leverage design and construction
  • Experience creating site integrated and responsive artworks in public settings
  • Experience implementing community engagement strategies that are innovative and artful, including with youth participants
  • Ability to meet regularly with the design team and steering committee
  • Willingness to work with community partners and process to date
  • Ability to meet the project timeline, as described in this document

Submission Process

Eligible artists and artist teams interested in this opportunity must submit the following items via Submittable:

  1. Short Responses (answer each the following questions in 200 words or less):
    • Why are you interested in this project?
    • How have you successfully engaged the community to influence a project, especially youth?
    • As an artist, what is your approach to public art?
    • What is your experience working with design or planning teams?
    • Anything else you’d like us to know?
  2. Work Samples with Descriptions
    Please provide ten digital images of past work with concise descriptions. If available, work samples should include documentation of similar past public projects. Artist teams are encouraged to submit work that was previously completed as a team.
  3. Resume & References (must be three pages or less)
    Include a resume and three professional references. Artist teams should submit a resume for each artist.
  4. Optional Submission
    If available, artists and artist teams may also submit one completed art plan, or other document that demonstrates experience with a planning project via Sumittable.

If you have trouble submitting or would prefer to submit via email or hardcopy, contact Rebecca Solverson at (253) 591-5564 or by email.

Timeline (all dates subject to change)


October 11, 2016,

11:59 PM

Deadline for Submissions 
Week of October 24, 2016 Finalist Selection
Week of October 31, 2016 Finalist Interviews  
November – December 2016   Contracting and Project Orientation 
January-April 2017     Community Engagement
May 2017 Art Brief Due
June 2017-June 2018    Art Brief Implementation



ESCC is planned to open in 2018, and is a partnership between Metro Parks Tacoma, City of Tacoma, Tacoma Housing Authority, and Tacoma Public Schools. The partnership that is supporting the ESCC was created to address concerns about the reduction of community services on the Eastside, combined with undersized and aging facilities in the area. This effort is driven by a strong grassroots movement and community buy-in, and inspired by a vision of Billy Ray Shirley III, a youth leader whose life was cut short before he could pursue his dream of building a community center on the Eastside. The agencies have committed to building the new facility to house a wide variety of recreational, enrichment, and learning opportunities for people of all ages. ESCC will be an addition to the First Creek Middle School campus. By working together, the project partners hope to more efficiently serve a multi-generational, multi-cultural community that is chronically underserved.


To inform the design of ESCC, Metro Parks Tacoma and Greater Metro Parks Foundation have developed an innovative educational partnership program to gather youth input for specific spaces in the center. As part of this program, youth from the Eastside Boys & Girls Club, YMCA Eagle Center, and local public and private schools actively engaged in planning for the digital music studio and teaching kitchen in multi-week, multi-part planning processes. Youth participated in workshops, site visits, and guided design brainstorming with industry professionals and students from higher education institutions, and had the opportunity to share their work in a public setting. Besides influencing the design, this process is intended to foster ownership in the center and create relationships between local youth participants, professionals, and higher education institutions in the area.


Goals of the project
  • Give kids a safe place to grow, which was a vision of Billy Ray Shirley III, a youth leader whose life was cut short before he could pursue his dream of building a community center.
  • Provide a welcome place for adults to improve their physical fitness and learn new life and business skills.
  • Build an aquatics center that draws people into this neighborhood that has so much potential.
Project Information and Images

For more information, including planning documents, visit Metro Parks Tacoma's Eastside Community Center webpage.

Artwork Opportunities

The artist or team will develop an Art Brief that identifies a conceptual framework for artwork implemented as part of the ESCC campus, informed by community engagement with young people and other community members in the neighborhood. Specifically, the Art Brief should identify opportunities to both integrate artwork within the center complex at late stages of design, and commission site–specific artworks by additional artists. The artist is encouraged to include opportunities for training local artists in the Art Brief. 


Integrated artworks, design enhancements, and artwork opportunities for additional artists will be supported by a separate budget, and the artist will act as an advisor through implementation to ensure consistency with the vision laid out in the Art Brief.


The Art Brief should be informed by community engagement with local youth. In January 2017, Metro Parks Tacoma will facilitate a third iteration of the educational partnership, focused on public art and design. The artist will have the opportunity to participate in at least two of the sessions, and should also design and implement their own community engagement strategies, either as part of the existing educational partnership, or as a separate series. Throughout this community engagement work, the artist will have the opportunity to build on the community process to date; strong existing partnerships with local agencies, community members, design team, and the steering committee; and logistical support from project staff.

About the Eastside Community Center

ESCC is a public-private partnership that will bring a swimming pool, gym, playground, after-school activities, cooking classes, nature hikes, and more to residents of the neighborhood and beyond. Major partners include: Metro Parks Tacoma, City of Tacoma, Tacoma Housing Authority, Tacoma Public Schools, and Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. The project is being led by Metro Parks Tacoma, and closely monitored by a highly engaged steering committee of interested residents. 

About Metro Parks

Incorporated in 1907, the award-winning park district is one of only a handful in the country that exists as a separate municipal corporation with the ability to collect property taxes for support.


Metro Parks Tacoma believes that good parks, open space, and program services contribute to economic development by fostering economic benefits and promoting tourism. Environmentally, they provide green infrastructure and help manage climate change. Socially, they revitalize communities, create safer neighborhoods, help children learn and grow, improve public and environmental health, and support smart growth. Culturally, open space and program services can nurture a sense of place in the community, and provide opportunities to engage the public of diverse backgrounds.



Contact Rebecca Solverson at (253) 591-5564 or by email.



2016 Tacoma Arts Month Activities

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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191