Arts Advocacy in the News


Following nearly a decade of hard work by arts and culture advocates, the Washington State Legislature voted to approve cultural access legislation allowing Washingtonians to vote whether their county can form a cultural access program. The legislation—passed as ESHB 2263 in the House and Senate with votes of 87-10 and 33-12, respectively, and signed by Gov. Inslee on July 6th—allows county residents to vote on whether to establish cultural access programs funded by a 7-year 0.1% sales tax increase or a similarly-sized property tax increase.

Should a county’s voters approve the measure, the county would establish a cultural access program. Such a program would allocate funds to be used for the benefit of the public to cultural organizations with a commitment to educate Washingtonians about arts, culture, science, and heritage. This would result in many significant changes leading to greater access to cultural events, particularly for underserved communities. It could mean a child finding inspiration on a field trip they may not have been able to take otherwise, more performances for the community outside of the venues, additional days with free or reduced admission, or more collaboration between cultural organizations for the public benefit. 

Cultural Access Washington, a coalition of 35 arts, cultural, science and heritage institutions, spearheaded the efforts, culminating in the bill’s signing by Gov. Inslee on July 6th and a victory celebration at the Paramount Theatre on July 20th.

Keep an eye out for updates in the months ahead as energies shift from the just-finished legislative push to the upcoming public campaign phase.


The Building for the Arts program was awarded $7.9 million, representing the full funding of 13 capital projects across the state. ArtsFund and The Boeing Company founded the Building for the Arts capital grant program in 1991 to support Washington State arts and cultural organizations with facility improvements and expansion. Since its inception, the State Legislature has awarded the program over $88 million toward the construction of more than 200 projects across the state.

The organizations receiving funding are as varied in size, location and focus as they are many, from the Nordic Heritage Museum and ACT Theatre in Seattle, to the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Southeast Washington’s Uniontown Community Development Association. Organizations spanned the state, with others receiving funding located in Olympia, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Bremerton.

Congratulations to these organizations and best of luck with their capital projects!

Below is a full list of organizations receiving funding and a link to ArtsFund’s press release announcing the funding:

ACT Theatre                                  

Admiral Theatre Foundation      

Cornish College of the Arts—Playhouse Theatre

Friends of KEXP 

Hands On Children’s Museum        

KidsQuest Children’s Museum

Kirkland Arts Center

Music Works Northwest

Nordic Heritage Museum Foundation 

San Juan Islands Museum of Art        

Seattle Theatre Group 

Uniontown Community Development Association

ArtsFund’s 2015-2017 Building for the Arts Program Press Release

For more information on these efforts, contact Andrew Golden, Program, Advocacy & Operations Coordinator,