Tacoma is an artsy city — and that just got recognized by two influential cultural entities at opposite ends of the commercial spectrum. The National Endowment for the Arts announced Tuesday that the city of Tacoma would receive a $50,000 Our Town grant to develop cultural and transportation plans for the Theater District. Last week, Etsy.com, the Internet’s biggest site for independent maker retail, named Tacoma one of just 13 cities to attend the Etsy Maker Cities Summit this week.
The Our Town grant is one of 64 awards, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 and totaling $4.3 million, awarded this year by the National Endowment for the Arts. It will go to the redesign of “an important gathering and transportation hub in the Theater District to increase access, improve use for cultural activities, strengthen our connection to the region, and enhance the look and feel of spaces through quality design and public art,” Tacoma arts administrator Amy McBride said in a news release.
Artists, cultural organizations and the public will be involved in the planning, McBride said.
“Our partnership with the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts and Pierce Transit will help enhance the public, semi-public and private spaces in the heart of our Theater District,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
Grants were also awarded to the Tacoma Art Museum and Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, for $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.
For a complete list of Our Town projects, visit arts.gov.
The vitality of Tacoma’s individual artists and makers was recognized by Etsy.com when it named Tacoma as one of 13 U.S. and Canadian cities to attend its annual Etsy Maker Cities Summit. Tacoma was the only city in the state to make the list, out of hundreds of applicants.
McBride and three other Tacoma makers (Stephen Jones of Tacoma Manufacturing, and Tim and April Norris of Tim+April) will travel this week to the summit in Brooklyn, New York. The summit is designed to “bring together creatives and local governments supportive of their creative community, for the purpose of creating actionable initiatives to bring home and implement throughout the year,” according to the news release.
“An Etsy Maker City recognizes that local manufacturing puts people and ideas at the center of commerce,” Strickland said. “This approach helps ensure that economic opportunity is inclusive and promotes entrepreneurship.”
More information can be found at etsy.com/makercities.