The Twisp Town Council has approved a memorandum of understanding with the Methow Arts Alliance as part of an application to the state to establish a creative arts district in the town.
The joint application for creative district status goes to the Washington State Arts Commission. The state’s creative district program began in 2017 as a way to spur economic development by heightening a community’s brand as a center for arts and culture. So far, three creative districts have been recognized by the Arts Commission: Edmonds, Chewelah and Olympia.
The memorandum of understanding outlines commitments and expectations for both the town and Methow Arts as the application process moves forward. Methow Arts Executive Director Amanda Jackson Mott appeared before the town council last week to review the memorandum and a strategic plan for implementing the creative district.
Under the memorandum, the town agrees to support the application and Methow Arts as the program administrator, participate in future creative district activities; approve Methow Arts’ Strategic Program Plan for the next three to five years as required in the application process, provide staff support, and act as recipient of the $5,000 state grant that comes with creative arts district certification. The grant money would then be turned over to Methow Arts for use in implementing the strategic plan.
Methow Arts commits to promoting the program with the expectation of community involvement, putting the strategic plan into effect, providing staff support, and gathering data for annual reports to the Arts Commission.
The Strategic Program Plan submitted to the town sets several goals for the first five years after a creative district is formed: Developing “wayfinding” signage to help define and identify the district, promoting economic growth and vitality within the district, providing meaningful support for the community’s artists and other creative types, and tracking the economic impacts of the creative district.
Jackson Mott said Methow Arts intends to file the application to the state by the end of this month.
The Arts Commission’s website describes a good candidate for creative-district status as a walkable community with a clearly defined concentration of artistic or cultural activities. Creative industries recognized by the state include everything from galleries and theater companies to restaurants, landscapers and industrial designers.