We’re on the search for the next Tacoma Poet Laureate

10 Jan
2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen performs at B Sharp.

2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen performs at B Sharp.

Call to Artists for 2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate

Application Deadline: February 27, 2017, 11:59 PM

Stipend: $4,000


  • Must live in Pierce County and be actively engaged in Tacoma’s creative community
  • Practicing artist, dedicated to producing poetry (in any form, genre, or style) on a regular basis
  • 18 years or older
  • Not a previous Tacoma Poet Laureate title holder
  • Not a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, City of Tacoma staff member, or Tacoma Poet Laureate selection panel member


The Tacoma Arts Commission announces the seventh annual Tacoma Poet Laureate competition, the winner of which will be named Tacoma Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.

The Tacoma Poet Laureate will hold the title for a period of two years, from May 2017 to April 2019, and receive a stipend of $4,000. The individual will actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects; participate in Tacoma Arts Month each October; and help produce the 2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate ceremony to announce the next Poet Laureate.

In keeping with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, the Tacoma Poet Laureate should actively strive to engage the breadth of Tacoma’s citizenry, expanding access to the literary arts to underserved/underrepresented audiences including people of different races/ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation and identity, ability, and income.

People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are encouraged to apply.

Current Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen will curate and host a poetry event at which the winner of this year’s Poet Laureate competition will be awarded. The event is will be held on Saturday, April 29, 6 PM. The event location will be announced.


The artist selected as Tacoma Poet Laureate must be willing and able to:

  • Offer a minimum of two free public workshops in Tacoma each year relating to poetry (four workshops total.)
  • Actively contribute to and advance Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications, special projects, etc. as negotiated with the City’s Arts Program staff.
  • Participate in Tacoma Arts Month programming each October.
  • Competently handle administrative duties including being the point of contact for all programming inquiries from the public, managing a schedule, arranging details for programs, and coordinating press releases with City’s Arts Program staff.
  • Help produce, with the assistance of the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program, an event in Tacoma in April 2019 to announce the winner of the 2019-2021 Tacoma Poet Laureate program.

How to Apply

Visit www.cityoftacoma.org/artsopps for all the details and apply at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit.


Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.

Now on view! Seventh episode of Tacoma’s ‘artTown’ TV show

6 Jan
30 Americans at Tacoma Art Museum

30 Americans at Tacoma Art Museum

The City of Tacoma’s Media and Communications Office – in partnership with the Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality – has released a new episode of artTown, a cultural documentary-style TV initiative exploring Tacoma’s emergence as a major creative hub in the Pacific Northwest.

Dancers Kate Monthy and Joel Myers perform

Dancers Kate Monthy and Joel Myers perform

In this episode:

  • Learn about the critically acclaimed exhibition 30 Americans, which made its West Coast debut at Tacoma Art Museum and showcases an influential group of prominent African American artists who have emerged as leading contributors to the contemporary art scene in the United States and beyond
  • Explore how Symphony Tacoma brought Tan Dun’s groundbreaking and challenging Water Passion to life
  • Visit the shared studio of printmaker Dorothy McCuistion and ceramicist John McCuistion and learn how they work together
  • Catch Kate Monthy and Joel Myers as they discuss their dance careers and the dance scene in Tacoma
  • Take a look at the inspiration behind the curious paintings and illustrations of Michaela Eaves
  • Find inspiration and joy in the playful mobiles and found object sculptures of the late Randy Jones

Launched in 2013, the series has earned numerous awards and features diverse perspectives on a variety of creative disciplines. Offering a more holistic look at creativity in Tacoma, artTown stretches beyond what people might traditionally think of as “creative” – such as fine art, music or dance – to spotlight other creative areas of interest that have flourished in Tacoma like fashion, innovative education practices, architecture and more.

Online viewing:
Watch “artTown” anytime at cityoftacoma.org/artTown

Watch segments or the full episode anytime on the City of Tacoma’s YouTube Channel

Symphony Tacoma performs Water Passion by Tan Dun

Symphony Tacoma performs Water Passion by Tan Dun

TV Tacoma air times:
Mondays at noon
Tuesdays at 1 a.m.
Wednesdays at 8 a.m.
Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 5 p.m.
Sundays at 5 a.m.

TV Tacoma is aired on both the Click! and Comcast Cable systems. On Click!, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where TV Tacoma can be found on Channel 21. On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma city limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County. TV Tacoma is not on the Comcast system in University Place, but is accessible anywhere on the Internet at tvtacoma.com.

Call to Pierce County Visual Artists

5 Jan

HUE Collaborative artists Devaunte Shelton, Whitney Brady, Byron Ellison, Denis Maina. Photo by Christopher Paul Jordan.

Portable Artworks Purchase for People’s Community Center

Application Deadline: February 13, 2017, 11:59 PM

Budget: $10,000 in total purchases, including any required framing . No single artwork can cost more than $1,500.

Eligibility: 18 years or older; must live in Pierce County, WA. Panel will prioritize artists of color with a tie to the Hilltop community

How to Apply: Read the Call to Artists for more information and apply at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit.

Are you a Pierce County artist with existing portable artworks you’d like to sell? The City of Tacoma is accepting applications now through February 13 for existing portable pieces of artwork to be considered for purchase and installation at People’s Community Center. Artists of color are encouraged to apply. Portable artworks include two-dimensional pieces that fall within certain eligibility guidelines. Media can include, but is not limited to: painting, drawing, works on paper, photography, printmaking, digital, collage, mosaics, fiber, mixed-media, and wall-mountable low-relief sculpture.

“People’s Community Center has become such a focal point for the rapidly evolving, highly diverse Hilltop neighborhood. This is a special opportunity for artists of color from the local area to help build and sustain the already welcoming environment of this facility.” – District 3 Council Member Keith Blocker

Funding for this portable works purchase opportunity comes from Metro Parks Tacoma and the City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Program which dedicates 1 percent of construction costs from public capital projects to the creation of public art. Artworks purchased through this opportunity will become part of the City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Collection.

Contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.

19 Arts Projects funding recipients announced

27 Dec
Arts Projects funding supports the Hilltop Street Fair. Photo courtesy of Hilltop Business Association.

Arts Projects funding supports the Hilltop Street Fair. Photo courtesy of Hilltop Business Association.

The Tacoma Arts Commission recently awarded $50,000 in Arts Projects funding to 19 Tacoma organizations in support of 2017 public outreach projects in the fields of theater, visual, dance, music, literary, film, cross-disciplinary, and cultural arts. The awards range in value from $1,000 to $4,500.

“We were blown away by the diverse group of community and arts organizations, several of whom were first-time applicants,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Mike Sweney. “This is a strong indicator that the arts are thriving in Tacoma. We’re pleased and honored to be able to support these projects for artists and communities throughout the city.”

Arts Projects funding helps support Write253's Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam. Photo courtesy of Write253.

Arts Projects funding helps support Write253’s Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam. Photo courtesy of Write253.

Funded projects include the production of six diverse cultural and arts festivals, historical arts and crafts demonstrations, visual art programs for families, three dance workshop series, one film festival, one theater production, three music performance series, poetry writing and performance workshops for youth, poetry readings, and visual art exhibits.

Arts Projects funding supports Tacoma Wayzgoose: Letterpress and Book Arts Festival. A student from Charles Wright inks a linoleum plate for Steamroller Printing.  Photo by Scott Haydon.

Arts Projects funding supports Tacoma Wayzgoose: Letterpress and Book Arts Festival. A student from Charles Wright inks a linoleum plate for Steamroller Printing. Photo by Scott Haydon.

Funded organizations include Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Barefoot Collective, Centro Latino, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Old Town Business & Professional Association, Destiny City Film Festival, Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council of Tacoma, Fort Nisqually Foundation, Foss Waterway Seaport, Hilltop Business Association, King’s Bookstore, Morgan Family YMCA, Northwest Repertory Singers, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Salishan Association, Tacoma Concert Band, Toy Boat Theatre, Washington State Historical Society, and Write253.

The Arts Projects Funding Program supports high quality community projects with a strong focus on arts that are accessible and affordable to the public. Arts Projects is one of three funding programs administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. For a complete listing of funding programs and information about the Tacoma Arts Commission, visit cityoftacoma.org/funding.

Funding for Tacoma Artists – Apply Now!

30 Nov

2015-16 TAIP funding recipient Whitney Henry-Lester produced the Destiny and Grit podcast series. Letterpress promo piece printed by Springtide Press.

The City of Tacoma is now accepting Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) funding applications from eligible Tacoma artists who wish to create new artwork in any discipline and present that work through a free public component. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on January 23, 2017.


“Tacoma’s arts and culture contribute significantly to why we choose to live here, and TAIP is a key investment in our creative community. TAIP supports innovative, talented artists by helping them fulfill specific goals, contributing to their artistic growth while engaging communities with free performances, exhibitions, and workshops.” – Mike Sweney, Tacoma Arts Commission Chair


2015-16 TAIP funding recipient Christopher Paul Jordan is curating and exhibiting work in an inter-media art exhibit, COLORED, of 20 Black artists and poets.

The Tacoma Arts Commission has allocated $40,000 for TAIP funding, and each selected artist will be awarded $2,500. Funding for TAIP is determined through a competitive application process. A panel comprised of Tacoma Arts Commission members, community members and past TAIP awardees will review applications and make funding recommendations. Those recommendations will go to the Tacoma Arts Commission for approval. All projects selected for TAIP funding must be completed by December 31, 2018.

Eligibility extends to artists who are residents of Tacoma, practicing artists who are dedicated to producing artwork on a regular basis, are at least 18 years of age, and not a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in an arts-related degree program. Artists who have received TAIP funding between 2013 and 2016 are not eligible to apply.

Please see the TAIP guidelines and application instructions for full details.

Applicants are encouraged to attend a free workshop which explains and addresses questions about the application and funding process on December 15, 2016, from 5:30-7 p.m., in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 728 St. Helens, Room 16.

Apply by Nov 7 for 2017 Arts Projects funding

1 Nov
Language of Clay family art workshop with SPUN at Children's Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Language of Clay family art workshop with SPUN at Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Will your organization or group be producing publicly accessible arts programming within Tacoma city limits in 2017? If so, you might want to take a look at our Arts Projects funding program. Arts Projects funding ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, and supports community projects that focus on the arts.

Applications are due by Monday, November 7, 11:59 pm!

Flutist Rona Yellow Robe (Chippewa Cree) plays flute and sings at the In the Spirit Festival. Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society.

Flutist Rona Yellow Robe (Chippewa Cree) plays flute and sings at the In the Spirit festival. Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society.

Past funding has supported a variety of projects including, but not limited to, arts components of neighborhood festivals; arts workshops or demonstrations; dance, theater, and music performances; youth-focused arts programming; arts-focused cultural and historical events; visual art exhibits; and literary events. Funded events must take place between Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2017.

Fort Nisqually visitors learning how to make a cyanotype photo print during Crafts of the Past. Photo courtesy of Fort Nisqually Foundation.

Fort Nisqually visitors learning how to make a cyanotype photo print during Crafts of the Past. Photo courtesy of Fort Nisqually Foundation.

Eligibility extends to private non-profit agencies with a 501(c) designation; organized groups of community volunteers, such as a business district or neighborhood council with an advisory body, business license and organizational bank account; and educational institutions or for-profit businesses wishing to produce not-for-profit arts functions. Applicants are required to have offices within Tacoma or, if they have no office, a majority of the applicant’s activities must take place within Tacoma city limits. Other eligibility requirements apply. See guidelines for complete terms.

Funding for Arts Projects is determined through a competitive application process. Actual contract amounts will be based upon availability of funds and the review of each application as measured against evaluation criteria detailed in the guidelines.


Check out the Arts Projects guidelines and application instructions.


Emerging Artist Workshop – November 5th!

19 Oct

Date and Time: Saturday, November 5th, 2016, 1:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Olympic Room, Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave S.
Cost: FREE, refreshments will be provided

Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality is hosting a workshop to build capacity among emerging artists, and to increase access to arts projects and funding. Learn about upcoming opportunities in Tacoma and Seattle from local arts organizations. Hear from established artists on how they built their careers, and ask questions during an open panel discussion. Network with participants, and make connections with presenters. This free workshop is open to everyone, artists working in all media are welcome, and people of color are especially encouraged to attend.

RSVP and receive updates through our Facebook event.

1:00-1:10              Welcome by Amy McBride, Tacoma Arts Administrator
1:10-2:00              Arts organizations present and answer questions
2:00-3:00             Artist panel presents and answers questions

Artist Panelists:
Ryan Feddersen
Christopher Paul Jordan
Satpreet Kahlon

Artist Trust
City of Tacoma Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality
CultureShock Collective
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation
Spaceworks Tacoma

Contact Asia Tail at atail@cityoftacoma.org or 253.591.5206




2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 9

12 Oct

Still looking for something to do this weekend? Join us for the Tacoma Studio Tour! Visit, see, learn, create, shop. It’s free and for all ages.

What: Tacoma Studio Tour
Where: 34 studio locations around Tacoma
When: October 15 & 16, 11 am – 5 pm
Cost: FREE!

You are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All studios will feature demonstrations or will have hands-on activities for visitors. It’s family friendly and free!

Check out TacomaArtsMonth.com for the full list of artists, schedule, your Tacoma Studio Tour Passport, and an interactive map where you can plot your own custom tour course.

Or, sit back and let the ART BUS do the driving while you enjoy a guided tour of 6 artists’ studios plus lunch. The ART BUS tour will run on October 15, 11 am – 3 pm. Find out more about the ART BUS Studio Tour here and purchase a ticket here.

Here are this week’s highlights:

Katie Dean
kdean_poppies kdean_wayzgoose2016 kdean_redrose
Katie Dean’s recent work focuses on floral and nature themes. She loves studying, experimenting, and exploring unique combinations of color. She enjoys technical challenges and working with her hands so letterpress printing has become a perfect medium for her. She begins with a detailed sketch of her idea and then hand-carves the detailed line work into a linoleum block, which allows her to experiment with color ideas before settling on a direction for each piece. Each color is separated onto its own linoleum block for printing.

Joe Becker, Seldom Seen Photography
Calm Morning, Banks Lake Morning Thanks at Hale Passage Night at Palouse Falls
Joe Becker is a freelance photographer and author living in Tacoma. A Washington state native, Joe’s photographic skills are largely self-taught; his formal education is in geology. His photography has won both local and international awards and has been published by National Geographic, Northwest Travel Magazine, and Washington State Tourism, among others. His first book, Scenic Seattle: Touring and Photographing the Emerald City, was published in 2016.

Dorothy McCuistion
dmccuistion_3 dmccuistion_4 dmccuistion_5
Dorothy McCuistion uses a variety of printmaking techniques to layer shapes, textures, and colors, creating a place where they merge. She makes monotype prints, small print editions, and handmade books. Fusing the local with the foreign or the personal with the universal, her artwork comments on topics ranging from human environmental impacts to the fusion of cultures in contemporary society.

Yoshiko Yamamoto, The Arts & Crafts Press
yamamoto_05 yamamoto_04 yamamoto_02
Yoshiko Yamamoto is known for her Japonesque blockprints and letterpress note cards. She always admired the artistry and craftsmanship of traditional woodblock prints of Japan, where she grew up. Her other influence – the Arts & Crafts Movement in England and America from the 1900s – continues to inspire and challenge her to make “objects of functional beauty.”

Lisa Kinoshita, Moss + Mineral
untitled icon dinner-for-none
Lisa Kinoshita is a Tacoma artist whose mediums include live plants (moss) and raw gemstones (mineral). Currently, she is exploring the possibilities of interactive projects that connect people from different parts of the world. Lisa is an independent curator who specializes in unusual sites (e.g., Tacoma Food Forest, Seymour Botanical Conservatory, Foss Waterway Seaport museum) and subject matter.

Nadine Hamil, Artful Dreamers Studio
4 3 5
Nadine Hamil creates sacred space for adults and children to dive into their creativity with joy and have fun in her expressive arts workshops. Intuitive painting classes are a favorite. She loves creating art with paint, wire, crystals, beads, and discarded treasures. Magic happens at Artful Dreamers Studio!

Check out these other artists on the tour:

Studio Tour Preview: Part 1
Studio Tour Preview: Part 2
Studio Tour Preview: Part 3
Studio Tour Preview: Part 4
Studio Tour Preview: Part 5
Studio Tour Preview: Part 6
Studio Tour Preview: Part 7
Studio Tour Preview: Part 8

Tacoma Studio Tour Passport – Visit and Win!


Make sure to have your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each studio location you visit this weekend. Once you’ve collected at least 8 stamps, send us the page and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of several fabulous prize packages containing artwork hand-crafted by a selection of artists on the tour including:

RR AndersonTacomic drawing kit
Joe BeckerNotecards
Shirley BentonAbstract painting
Bill ColbyFramed print
Kris CrewsPhoto cards
Ann Darling – Gelatin printed clutch purse and hair clips
Katie DeanPrint and greeting cards
Michaela EavesGreeting cards
Jennifer EnglishCeramic sculpture
Lynne Farren – Painting, collage, and cards
Becky FrehsePainting
Marie FriddleArt tin
Nadine HamilWire heart
Henry HanedaPhoto print
Hilltop ArtistsGlass beads or marbles
Mark HudakMug
Marie JensenPunk doll
Randy Jones – Mobile
Fumiko KimuraCards and matted artwork
Lisa KinoshitaPendant
Gina KlingRaku pottery
Lyz Kurnitz-ThurlowCrystal-beaded necklace pendant
Mark LarsonPrint
Steve LawlerBox or magnet
L. Lisa LawrenceBowl
Dorothy McCuistionHandmade book
John McCuistionSet of tiles
Naarah McDonaldClutch purse and gift certificate
Chandler O’LearyNotecards
Reid OzakiVase
Karen Perrine – Marbled mirror
Claudia RiedenerTile
Jessica SpringTacoma stamps
Lorraine TolerSigned print
Elayne Vogel – Pair of earrings
Yoshiko YamamotoMatted note card
Lois YoshidaBox of hand-painted cards

The Tacoma Studio Tour Passport can be found in the Tacoma Studio Tour brochure (available at all studio locations during the tour and at many cultural institutions ahead of time) or download and print your own Tacoma Studio Tour Passport.

Tacoma Arts Month Sponsors

Premier Sponsors: Click! Cable TV, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation
Media Sponsors: Crosscut, KNKX, Northwest Public Radio, ParentMap, Sounds Fun Mom, South Sound magazine, Tacoma Weekly, Weekly Volcano
Social Media Sponsor: ARCADE magazine

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