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Tacoma Arts Commission Volunteer Opportunities

Application Deadline

October 15, 2018



The Tacoma City Council invites individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about the literary, visual and/or 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:

  • One At-Large position – A person representative of acknowledged accomplishment or persons working outside of professional practice in the arts but who demonstrate a deep interest in and appreciation of cultural and artistic activities

  • Two Professional positions - Persons with professional experience or training related to the arts, originating from employment or study within the following disciplines: arts or art history, arts administration, architecture, art criticism, art education, curation, conservation, heritage arts, literature, music, new media, performing arts, public arts, visual arts, or a related field. 
  • One Working Professional Artist position– A person working as a professional artist

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/or 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 Tacoma residents, 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.


Monthly 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 each year. 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 15, 2018. To apply, please visit cityoftacoma.org/cbcapplication or contact the City Clerk's Office at (253) 591-5178 or via email, or stop by the City Clerk’s Office, Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 11, Tacoma, WA 98402.



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

2019 Arts Projects Funding


The Arts Projects program financially supports a variety of high quality arts projects throughout Tacoma. This funding can be used for artistic presentations, activities, workshops or projects that are accessible to the general public. Admission may be charged to these projects, as long as the application demonstrates public benefit (see definition in ‘About the Money’ section). The arts activity may be a one-time event or a small number of events that are closely related. It may also be an ongoing project or neighborhood public art project.


Application Workshop (optional)

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 5:30 - 7 PM, Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market Street, 2nd floor, Room 248). First time applicants are strongly encouraged to send a representative to the workshop. 


Preliminary Application Feedback Deadline (optional)

October 29, 2018


Application Deadline

November 5, 2018, 11:59 PM


Funding Application Guidelines and Budget Page

Download the 2019 Arts Projects application guidelines (PDF) for complete funding information including eligibility.

Download the 2019 Arts Projects Budget Page (Excel document) to attach to your application.


About the Money

Applicants can apply for anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 for their project. Typically, contracts average around $2,500. Contracts will specify a specific public benefit that will be provided to the citizens of Tacoma in exchange for the funding. 


Funding for Arts Projects is determined through a competitive application process. Actual contract amounts will be based upon the availability of funds and review of each application as measured against the evaluation criteria detailed in these guidelines. Funding from year to year is not guaranteed. No funding is guaranteed until official approval of the budget by Tacoma City Council.

Applicants must employ a variety of revenue sources and in-kind support to fund their project. The full Arts Project funding amount will not be available to recipients until after their project is completed. Recipients should be prepared to cover the costs of the project until that time, but the City will work with each awardee on a case-by-case basis to try and stagger payment phases to lessen financial strain.

How to Apply

Please submit the following at www.tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit:

  • Basic contact and project information including a brief (40 words or less) overview of your project and its intent
  • Budget Page (Download the 2019 Arts Projects Budget Page), fill it out, and attach it to your electronic application) 
  • Narrative Responses (see the 2019 Arts Projects application guidelines for a list of narrative questions)
  • Written permission (email or letter) from the property owner to indicate their willingness to host the proposed project. Or, a written explanation of the preferred location along with a clear plan to secure the necessary sites/partnerships should funding be awarded. A letter is not needed if applicant organization is hosting project at a location they own.
  • Artistic Work Samples and descriptions 


For assistance, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

Portable Artworks Collection Purchase


The Tacoma Arts Commission is seeking to expand its Municipal Art Collection by purchasing colorful original portable artworks from Tacoma artists. Portable works can include two-dimensional pieces and small-scale three-dimensional pieces that fall within Artwork Eligibility guidelines as listed below. 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.


Call to Artists

Download the complete Call to Artists. 



Up to $20,000 in total purchases, including any required framing

Application Deadline

October 15, 2018, 11:59 PM

Artist Eligibility 
  • Must live in Tacoma, WA (Check this map to verify that you live within Tacoma city limits) 
  • Must be 18 years or older

  • Cannot be a member of the Tacoma Arts Commission or a panel member for this purchase opportunity

  • Panel will prioritize artists that are not currently represented in the portable collection, emerging artists, and artists from communities underrepresented in the collection

Artwork Eligibility
  • Submit up to three 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 add color and/or visual impact to a professional workplace
  • 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: https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit

  1. Digital Images with Descriptions  - Up to 3 images of existing artworks that are available for purchase (1 image per artwork)
  2. Artist bio in 250 words or less, describing yourself and your work

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

2018 Tacoma Arts Month Activities

Preferred deadline: August 6, 2018 – Late submissions accepted on a rolling basis

The Tacoma Arts Commission is seeking submissions of arts activities happening during our 17th 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 art programming in Tacoma, we will list your event on the Tacoma Arts Month online calendar. 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, e-newsletters, television ads, radio ads, and a variety of social media outlets.


This month would not be possible without the participation of local businesses, organizations, and community members. We encourage you to participate by hosting your own arts activity or event.


The deadline for the first round of submissions is August 6, 2018. We will accept activities on a rolling basis after that but submitting your information by August 6th will ensure that your activity is included in the first round of information that will go out.


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

To Participate
Fill out the online submission form via Submittable: https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit. Please note: If you are submitting multiple events, please fill out an individual form for each event.



Contact Rachel Betron at (253) 591-5191 or rbetron@cityoftacoma.org.

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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191