• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data


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 were encouraged to attend a free workshop, which explained and addressed questions about the application and funding process. The workshop was 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.


Access the online application and apply now


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



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

Prairie Line Trail - Public Art & Interpretation

Part of PLT

Prairie Line Trail, Tacoma, WA

Four Public Art Opportunities


Call to Artists

Download the Call to Artists for more project details.



$55,000, all-inclusive for each opportunity (four total opportunities)



November 10, 2016, 11:59 PM


Project Summary

The City of Tacoma is seeking four (4) artists or artist teams to each create artwork along the City’s segments of the Prairie Line Trail (PLT), a former rail line being converted to a linear public park, running through the heart of downtown Tacoma. Each artwork should draw from extensive historic research gathered by the existing project team, and provide historic interpretation for an important location or theme in an artful way. Artworks should include interpretive text related to the narrative of the PLT, either integrated into the artwork, or as associated signage. Selected artists will be encouraged to represent less told stories along the trail, and artists with diverse cultural perspectives are encouraged to apply.



  • Applicant(s) must live in Oregon, Idaho, or Washington State; or British Columbia, Canada.
  • Applicant(s) can apply as a single artist or as an artist team.
  • Applicant(s) cannot be a member of the Tacoma Arts Commission or an employee of the City of Tacoma.
  • Applicant(s) must be 18 years or older and not a full-time student.

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


Prairie Line Trail

The Prairie Line is historically significant as the west coast terminus of the Northern Transcontinental Railroad. The former BNSF railway travels through the Brewery District, University of Washington-Tacoma campus, past Tacoma Art Museum, and down to the Thea Foss Waterway. The Trail is located in a vibrant area of downtown, adjacent to the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Tollefson Plaza, restaurants, and retail. The Sound Transit Light Rail crosses the Prairie Line Trail and Museum of Glass and Washington State History Museum are nearby.


Once completed, this rail to trail conversion will create a linear park and active transportation gateway to the waterfront; build on downtown Tacoma's natural, historic, and cultural assets; and become an integral component of the vision of an attractive, livable, and revitalized downtown.


To date, roughly one third of the overall trail (the section running through the University of Washington-Tacoma campus) has been completed. Construction by the City of Tacoma of the next third of the trail has recently started, and the City is currently finalizing the design for the third segment. www.cityoftacoma.org/PLT.


Project Background

In 2015, the City of Tacoma received a Heritage Capital Projects Fund Grant to document and provide an interpretation plan for the city-owned portions of the PLT. The City of Tacoma is currently working with Artifacts Consulting, Inc. (http://www.artifacts-inc.com/) to develop an interpretation plan for the trail, identify historic themes, and assemble a reference archive. This work is meant to inform, inspire, and directly support historic interpretation along the trail, including the artwork. The plan will summarize design goals and concepts for the PLT, identify pertinent examples and precedents, inventory existing and planned design and interpretive features along the corridor, inventory available materials and features which could potentially be integrated into an artwork, and identify constraints and opportunities based on land ownership and physical conditions. The plan will also articulate key interpretive strategies and goals. The overall goals are to create artistic installations that connect people, including children, of many cultural groups to the stories and significance of this historic corridor in an engaging, interactive and dynamic way.


Conditions, materials and opportunities for synergy with adjacent public and private buildings and spaces vary substantially along the corridor. These include opportunities at various locations to focus on children as a primary target audience, to incorporate existing rails and railroad features, and to integrate water and vegetation. Therefore, the plan will identify promising locations for interpretive features along the corridor as well as site-specific themes or design opportunities. There are some Historic and/or salvaged materials that may be available for use in this project. Artists are encouraged to consider integrating them into their work.


In addition, the grant is funding development of an Historic Resources Assessment which will characterize the historic context, frame historic development periods and areas of significance, summarize a physical survey of historically significant and character-defining features, and identify historic resources and artifacts including images, oral histories, artifacts and pertinent documents. The assessment will be a resource for artists to inspire, inform and potentially provide materials for use in artworks.


Finally, in 2011 Urban planner Todd Bressi and the design team of Lucy Begg and Robert Gay (Thoughtbarn) developed a public art plan for the Prairie Line Trail, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. The plan should be used as a resource for developing artwork along the PLT: http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/CEDD/TacomaCulture/arts/TA_PrairieLine_Plan032712.pdf.


The interpretation plan and historic resources assessment are currently under development and will be finalized prior to the final selection of artists. Background information is available at www.cityoftacoma.org/PLT


Art Opportunities

Each artist or artist team will coordinate with other interpretive efforts occurring on the trail to ensure a cohesive and coordinated interpretive approach. The final artworks should help provide historic interpretation for one location or theme along the PLT. While this historic interpretation can be broadly defined, final artworks need to have a clear relationship to source material assembled as part of the reference archive, and the final artwork shall include interpretive text, either integrated into the artwork, or as associated signage.


A copywriter will be made available to each artist/artist team to ensure a consistent voice in the interpretive messaging.


A successful project will:

  • Contribute to and help interpret the historic narrative of the PLT, especially less known stories
  • Be made of durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain
  • Be site responsive, and create synergy with adjacent buildings, spaces and activities, and physical features
  • Relate to multiple types of viewers, including children
  • Be engaging and interactive
  • Contribute to a more engaging and cohesive experience of this public space
  • Contribute to a more welcoming environment for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Complement the vision of the Prairie Line Trail
  • Include interpretive text, either integrated into the artwork, or as associated signage

Selection Criteria

Artists will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic quality as exemplified in past work
  • Ability to work with durable, low-maintenance materials
  • Experience working in the public realm
  • Ability to think and work in a scale and with materials appropriate to the site
  • Ability to engage a broad audience
  • Ability to create artwork that tells a story, or relates to the narrative of a place
  • Ability to contribute to the overall diversity of perspectives, when considered with the other selected artists/artist teams


November 10, 11:59 PM    Deadline for submissions
Week of November 28, 2016  Review of submissions and selection of finalists
Week of December 5, 2016  Site visits with finalists
Week of December 12, 2016 Interviews with finalists and selection of artist/artist teams


Submission Process

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

  1. Short Responses (answer the following questions in 250 words or less each):
    • Why are you interested in this project? 
    • What is your approach to public art? 
    • How have you used storytelling or source material in a past project? 
    • How can you bring a unique perspective to this project?
  2. Work Samples with Descriptions 
    10 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
    Three pages or less, including three professional references. Artist teams should submit a resume for each artist.


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

Tacoma Arts Commission Volunteer Opportunity

Application Deadline

October 23, 2016



The Tacoma City Council invites individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about the literary, visual and performing arts to apply for the Tacoma Arts Commission. If you are interested in supporting, enhancing and providing leadership for the arts in Tacoma, this is a great opportunity.


The Tacoma City Council is looking for applicants to fill the following positions on the Tacoma Arts Commission:

  • Professional positions 1 and 2
  • At-Large positions 2, 3, and 7 
The Commission consists of 15 volunteer members who are appointed by the Economic Development Committee and confirmed by the City Council to serve three-year terms. Members are Tacoma residents who are arts advocates and artists. 

The Tacoma Arts Commission provides leadership in supporting and enhancing the arts for the benefit of the City and its residents. The primary responsibility of the Commission is to create policies to support the ongoing development of arts programs and projects in Tacoma. Its primary programs include the funding of artists and arts organizations to provide services for the citizens of Tacoma, Tacoma Arts Month, and oversight of public art as part of the Municipal Art Program. The Commission's functions are outlined in Chapter 1.28A and 1.28B of the Tacoma Municipal Code.


Meetings are held from 5 - 7 PM on the second Monday of each month, in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16 (728 St. Helens Ave., 1st floor). Beyond monthly meetings, commissioners are asked to sit on at least one committee and one funding panel. Commissioners are also asked to periodically attend and evaluate programs produced by artists and organizations the Commission funds and are expected to attend and assist with all major programs the Commission produces.


To Apply

Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by October 23, 2016. To apply, please visit cityoftacoma.org/cbcapplication or contact Amanda Punsalan at (253) 591-5178 or via email, or visit the City Clerk’s Office, Room 11, Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Tacoma, WA 98402.



For additional information on the Tacoma Arts Commission, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or via 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

Tacoma Arts Month activity photosSubmissions accepted on a rolling basis


The Tacoma Arts Commission is seeking submissions of arts activities happening during our 15th annual Tacoma Arts Month this October. We are looking for a variety of activities spanning all categories of art and culture including but not limited to music, visual art, literary art, dance, theater, and film.

If you will be hosting an exhibition, performance, class, workshop, reception, lecture, tour, artists’ market, celebration, meeting, presentation, or any other programming, let us know. We will list your arts event in an interactive and searchable online calendar of events on the Tacoma Arts Month website. There is no cost to you. We will be promoting the many events going on throughout the month through newspaper and magazine advertisements and articles, electronic newsletters, television ads, radio ads, and through a variety of social media outlets.

To Qualify

Your arts activity must be located within the City of Tacoma limits and occur during the month of October. 

How to Apply

  1. Fill out the online Tacoma Arts Month Activity Submission form. Note: If you are submitting multiple events, please fill out a form for each event.
  2. Optional - Email a digital photograph to be used for promoting this event to tacoma.submissions@cityoftacoma.org. Image must be at least 150 ppi. Please put “Activities_Your Event Name” in the subject line.


Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.

Subscribe for updates


Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191