downloadI am on a quest to figure out how to be an artist, not simply a doodler. I want to understand how people get their products of self-expression out into the world for interaction and appreciation. I didn’t go to art school, so I have been studying the arts culture on my own and posting my findings on this blog. In my research, I typed “Washington Artists” into the search engine and found the site about ArtsWA.

The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA)  is a 35-year old state government agency which promotes art in education, builds leadership and participation in arts programs, and documents the interactions between the creative economy and communities. They provide support for all art forms, from fine art to writing to performance. It turns out that there are such government-funded organizations all over the country. Other western state arts support agencies include the Oregon Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council.

Here is an overview of the kinds of services that ArtsWA provides:

ArtsWA provides grants for creative projects:

  • Arts in Education grants fund projects which strengthen arts in K-12 public schools.
  • Project Support grants funds arts projects which promote engagement and participation in the community.
  • Cooperative Partnership grants provide funding for groups that support artists through creating platforms for networking, enrichment, and resource acquisition.

The Arts Participation Leadership Initiative was a four-year project which sought to attract younger audiences and diverse cultural groups for participation in the arts, as well as teaching about using digital and social media in arts organizations. The portal link above connects with a website which provides strategies that were used by participating groups and tool kits to help your project integrate the successful strategies.

ArtsWA and other non-profit groups teamed up to explore the Creative Vitality Index. The CVI is a systems-oriented analysis of the Creative Economy, its benefits to the community as well as its needs for advancement. Employment in the Creative Economy includes occupational categories which support the arts as well as the artists themselves. The 2011 Final Report of the Creative Economy  for Washington state is available.

Other ArtsWa projects:

  • Appoints the state Poet Laureate and participates in supporting the Poetry Out Loud competition.
  • Governor’s Arts and Heritage Awards recognizes artists and supporters when they contribute significantly to the creative vitality of Washington.
  • ArtsWA supports research projects in Arts in Education, and has a list of previous research projects in arts in K-12 public schools.
  • The Teaching Artists program seeks to support experienced artists in teaching in public schools. There are training opportunities as well as a listing of artists for school districts to contact.
  • Finally, ArtsWA acquires and cares for certain works which are sited at public schools, colleges, and universities.

I learned in my research into artist and community arts support agencies that there are many opportunities to make your impression on the world. I look forward to delving further into the ArtsWA site, particularly the Arts Participation leadership Initiative portal, to learn more about how to work with my audience and other artists. Much creative imagining and work comes from solitary effort, but there is no way to share it without a community. The greatest opportunity lies is collaboration and inclusion.