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Tacoma Creates

What is Tacoma Creates?

Tacoma Creates is a voter-approved initiative to increase access to arts, culture, heritage, and science experiences throughout Tacoma by reducing barriers to access and expanding offerings, particularly for underserved youth. Eligible non-profit arts, culture, heritage, and science organizations are able to apply for funding that helps them expand equitable access to public programs, increase opportunities in neighborhoods throughout Tacoma, expand educational options for youth, and build sustainability for ongoing cultural programs that provide value for residents throughout the City of Tacoma.


Tacoma Creates is administered by the City of Tacoma's Arts & Cultural Vitality Division.


For more comprehensive information on Tacoma Creates, please visit our website at tacomacreates.org

Keep in touch with us on Facebook and Instagram.

2023-24 Tacoma Creates Funded Organizations

The Tacoma Creates Advisory Board approved funding for the 2023-24 funding cycle to 65 arts, culture, heritage, and science organizations in Tacoma, totaling approximately $5.6 million. This funding cycle covers work from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024, and includes a range of public programming for all ages, youth education programs, and a commitment to equitable and inclusive access for people throughout the City of Tacoma. The full press release has more information about this funding. To learn more about the two funding categories, click on the “Funding Categories” link below.


The 65 organizations that will receive 2023-24 Tacoma Creates funding are: 

  • Alchemy Skateboarding
  • Arts First
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Center
  • Barefoot Collective
  • Buffalo Soldiers Museum
  • Capoeira Vida
  • Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation
  • Classical Tuesdays in Old Town
  • Communities for a Healthy Bay
  • Cousin Collective
  • Das Biest Performance Project
  • Destiny City Music Collective
  • Esperanza Mobil Family Resource Center
  • FabLab Nonprofit
  • Foss Waterway Seaport
  • Golden Bamboo
  • Greentrike
  • Hilltop Artists
  • Hilltop Business Association
  • Job Carr Cabin Museum
  • Latinx Unidos of the South Sound
  • LeMay-America's Car Museum
  • Mi Centro
  • Museum of Glass
  • Music and Heart in Wright Park
  • Northwest Sinfonietta
  • Oasis Youth Center
  • Orchestral Recital Series of Tacoma
  • Pacific Northwest Dance Foundation
  • Permaculture Lifestyle Institute
  • Playground KiKi
  • Puget Sound Revels
  • Queer Northwest
  • Rainbow Center
  • Residual
  • Sixth Avenue Business District
  • Spaceworks Tacoma
  • Swan Creek Art Academy
  • Symphony Tacoma
  • Tacoma Art Museum
  • Tacoma Arts Live
  • Tacoma Boat Builders
  • Tacoma City Association of Colored Women's Clubs
  • Tacoma Concert Band
  • Tacoma Historical Society
  • Tacoma Light Trail
  • Tacoma Little Theatre
  • Tacoma Music Academy
  • Tacoma Musical Playhouse
  • Tacoma Opera Association
  • Tacoma Photo Center
  • Tacoma Refugee Choir
  • Tacoma Sister Cities
  • Tacoma Tree Foundation
  • Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, T.U.P.A.C.
  • Tacoma Youth Symphony Association
  • Tahoma Indian Center
  • Ted Brown Music Outreach
  • The Grand Cinema
  • The Kareem Kandi World Orchestra
  • The Night Media Foundation
  • Toolbox Laboratories
  • Truth Movement Innertainment
  • World Affairs Council of Tacoma
  • WayOut Kids
  • Write253

Funding Categories

Tacoma Creates funding supports public programming in arts, culture, heritage, and science, with a strong focus on equity, access, and public benefit. Funding is allocated with five primary funding goals in mind:

  • Supporting public programs in arts, culture, heritage, and/or science that engage community members in Tacoma
  • Increasing access to these programs, and reducing barriers to participation, especially for historically underserved populations, and within neighborhoods across Tacoma
  • Supporting programming by and for culturally or ethnically specific communities, and/or other underrepresented groups
  • Expanding access to youth education programs in arts, culture, heritage, and science
  • Supporting the sustainability of cultural sector organizations in Tacoma

In 2025, eligible organizations may apply to one of two Tacoma Creates funding categories:

  1. Comprehensive Organizational Support: Open to organizations that meet all five eligibility requirements, as described on the Eligibility for Comprehensive Organizational Support page on the Tacoma Creates website. Organizations that apply in this category may request up to 15 percent of their total annual budget, based on actual income in their most recently completed fiscal year, up to a maximum of $400,000 per calendar year. Applicants in this category must demonstrate organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as strong programming work in all three of these public benefit areas: Neighborhood Programming, Increasing Public Access, and Educational Programming for Youth.

  2. Impact Funding: Open to organizations that meet all five eligibility requirements, or that meet the eligibility exceptions, as described on the Eligibility for Impact Funding page on the Tacoma Creates website. Organizations that apply in this category may request a minimum of $3,000, and up to $60,000 per year for a single program or multiple programs. Applicants may propose general public programs, or youth education programs, or both, and must demonstrate a commitment to Tacoma Creates’ vision for vibrant, equitable, and inclusive cultural programs. The funding request may be a maximum of 50 percent of the total cost of the proposed programming; applicants must demonstrate at least a 1:1 match of other resources to support the project, which may include volunteer time and donated materials and space.


    There are two application forms within the Impact Funding category:

    • Level A: for organizations requesting between $3,000 and $19,999, or for organizations only proposing Beyond the Bell / Club B classes

    • Level B: for organizations requesting between $20,000 and $60,000

Organizations can submit only one application. Funding is determined through a competitive application process. The number of contracts awarded, and the funding amount for each contract, is based on availability of funds and review of each application by a review panel, based on the evaluation criteria detailed in these guidelines. Funding from year to year is not guaranteed. 


Application Deadlines

Tacoma Creates is no longer accepting applications for the 2024-25 funding cycle. Please check in January 2025 for information on the 2025-26 funding cycle.


Tacoma Creates Advisory Board

The Tacoma Creates Advisory Board serves in an advisory capacity to the Tacoma Creates administration on funding programs to support public benefit in arts, culture, heritage, and science programs throughout Tacoma.

The Advisory Board consists of 12 volunteer members appointed by City Council. All members are residents of Tacoma, and have interest in, and familiarity with public programming in arts, culture, heritage, and/or science, as well as interest in Tacoma Creates goals regarding equity, access, and programs that provide public benefit for residents across Tacoma. Monthly meetings are held 5:30-7:30 PM on the first Monday of each month.

Currently all Tacoma Creates Advisory Board meetings are held on Zoom. You can find the meeting information on the Agendas and Minutes page on the City of Tacoma’s website. Please click on the meeting agenda to find the Zoom link and other relevant information.


Visit the Tacoma Creates Advisory Board web page.


For more information, contact Lisa Jaret, Tacoma Creates Program Manager, at (253) 591-5161, or LJaret@cityoftacoma.org.  

Benefits of Tacoma Creates

The Washington State Legislature authorized counties or cities to create Cultural Access Programs in recognition of the numerous public benefits cultural organizations provide, including:

  • Enhancing and extending arts, culture, heritage, and/or science education for Tacoma’s youth and school-age children. Cultural organizations will partner with Tacoma Public Schools and other community-based or non-profit organizations to provide both in school, after school and summer programs in every Tacoma neighborhood and offer more field trips to arts, culture, heritage, and science programs and facilities.

  • Expanding access to cultural venues and programs by economically and geographically underserved populations. Tacoma Creates support will allow organizations to expand access to free and reduced-priced admission programs, leading to increased and more equitable public participation. Everyone in Tacoma should have the opportunity to access arts, culture, heritage, and science programs and facilities, regardless of their economic means.

  • Increased services throughout our city. Tacoma Creates will support and promote cultural activities in neighborhoods that reflect our diverse cultures, lifestyles and interests, such as community festivals and street fairs, that celebrate community, provide more opportunities for creatives and cultural groups to engage, and create authentic placemaking that engages community participation.

  • Economic development. The overall economy of Tacoma will benefit given the increased economic activity generated by an enhanced arts and culture sector, greater tourism and attraction of visitors to Tacoma for cultural activities, and promotion and support for jobs in creative fields and enterprises.

History of Tacoma Creates

Tacoma Creates is the first voter-supported Cultural Access Program in Washington State! Read more below about the history of this initiative, and the legislation that supports it.

Washington State Legislation
In 2015, the Washington State Legislature granted local governments the authority to create a Cultural Access Program in their county or city (RCW.36.160). Under such authority, revenue raised from a voter-approved sales or property tax increase, can be used to strengthen access to cultural organizations and their public programming. 

Development of Tacoma Creates
Tacoma Creates is the Cultural Access Program created specifically for Tacoma. Read the City of Tacoma Resolution No. 40046 and City Council Action Memorandum. In June 2018, the Tacoma City Council unanimously passed Resolution 40046, which put Tacoma Creates on that fall’s ballot as Proposition 1.

Tacoma Voter Approval
In November 2018, Tacoma voters approved Tacoma Creates by 67.2%, passing in every reporting precinct. Tacoma Creates is the first Cultural Access Program under RCW 36.160 to be enacted in Washington State. The sales tax increase, authorized under Tacoma Creates, went into effect April 2019. The tax will be in place for seven years, at which point it must be renewed by Tacoma voters. 

City of Tacoma Legislation
On December 3, 2019, the Tacoma City Council passed the Tacoma Creates Ordinance which confirmed Tacoma Creates operations as a City of Tacoma program, administered by the Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality. This ordinance added chapter 1.55 to the Tacoma Municipal Code, which defines the program purpose, funding eligibility, and the Tacoma Creates Advisory Board, along with other definitions and processes. 

Tacoma Creates Timeline

  • June 26, 2018 – Tacoma City Council unanimously passes Resolution 40046 to put Tacoma Creates on the ballot
  • November 6, 2018 – Tacoma voters approved Tacoma Creates (Proposition 1)
  • April 1, 2019 – Sales tax collection begins within the City of Tacoma to fund Tacoma Creates 
  • July-August 2019 – Tacoma Creates staff hired
  • July-October 2019 – Tacoma Creates launches pilot programs
  • Fall 2019 – Development of local legislation to support Tacoma Creates operations
  • December 3, 2019 – Tacoma Creates Ordinance (Title 1, Chapter 1.55) is passed
  • January 2020 – Applications released for first round of Tacoma Creates funding 
  • May 2020 – Tacoma Creates announces first cohort of 58 funded organizations
  • September 2020 – Inaugural members of the Tacoma Creates Advisory Board appointed by City Council

Contact Us

Lisa Jaret

Tacoma Creates Program Manager


(253) 591-5161


Clarissa Gines

Tacoma Creates Coordinator


(253) 591-5174


Elm McCrummen

Tacoma Creates Program Assistant


(253) 591-2038