Photo of Mural by Joe Nix in Burien by Nicholas Johnson.
The application to establish Burien as a Creative District was recently submitted to ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission, a state agency formed in 1961 whose mission is to “nurture and support the role of the arts in the lives of all Washingtonians.”

The application is currently in review, and if approved will be brought before the board of commissioners for ratification at the next ArtsWA board meeting on Aug. 9, 2022.

If ratified, Burien will be certified the 12th official Washington Creative District Community. Other communities in the state with such districts include Edmonds, Chewelah, Olympia, Langley, Twisp, Port Townsend, Tenino, Issaquah, Rainier Valley, Bainbridge and South Columbia (SoCo).

Benefits will include specialized resources, grant opportunities, technical assistance, training, and networking opportunities, as well as tracked progress of our community’s creative economy to help us better grow.

This is a big step for the Burien Creative District Planning Committee, which has been working for years on this project.

The local committee – working with the Southside Seattle Chamber of Commerce – has been developing an initiative to establish a Creative District in Burien. The Committee is a coalition of around 20 local individuals and representatives of businesses, nonprofit organizations, arts, and government representatives.

“Very exciting move for our beloved city and arts community,” said Seattle Southside Chamber CEO/President Samantha Le.

The Burien Creative District Committee will reconvene Aug. 17 to review results and discuss next steps.

According to ArtsWA:

“A Creative District is a fun place to live, work, and visit. It’s geographically defined area of cultural and economic activity. It’s the heart of a community. It is a place for people to gather and enjoy their community’s arts and culture.

“It’s a place where innovation and creativity can thrive. A place that helps the community move enthusiastically into the future.”

How will certification benefit your community?
State certification endorses creative activities in your community. It recognizes the potential for growth. Certification can help you:

    • Promote your community’s creative identity
    • Grow jobs in the creative sector
    • Increase tourism and bring new visitors
    • Attract artists, start-ups, and creative businesses
    • Create opportunities for affordable housing. This may include live/work and maker spaces for artists.
    • Boost livability
    • Redevelop historic assets in your community

According to the Burien Creative District website:

“Creative districts (also called Cultural Districts, or Arts and Culture Districts) are defined as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city, with defined borders, in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction. They are a tool that supports economic development to strengthen local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity.”

Watch this video for an excellent overview of Creative districts:

Read our previous coverage of this issue here.