Washington state’s first Certified Creative District has officially been assigned to downtown Edmonds. The designation, which was announced recently by Gov. Jay Inslee, was awarded through a program that helps local economies grow through arts and culture called the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA).

A Creative District represents an area where cultural, social, and economic activity takes place. Downtown Edmonds, which has a long heritage of culture and arts, fit the bill for this definition so well that it was unanimously selected by the Creative District review committee. The downtown area is home to theaters, museums, galleries, restaurants, cafés, art shops, boutiques, and more. The city of Edmonds also has a five-year work program intended to enhance the creative sector and build upon the previous successes of its long-term commitment to the arts.

Edmonds, creative district

Courtesy of city of Edmonds.

“We are delighted to recognize Edmonds as the state’s first certified Creative District,” program director Annette Roth said in a statement. “(We) look forward to working with the City over the next five years to really build on its successes to enhance its creative economy and achieve its objectives. Edmonds is the first Creative District, and we are working with other communities around the state that we hope will be able to join them as Creative Districts in the coming months.”

The designation can help attract more artists, entrepreneurs, and creative businesses to an area while also celebrating the artistic activity already taking place there. It also helps to bring in more visitors from the surrounding areas and from out of state as well.

“I couldn’t be more delighted with ArtsWA’s selection of Edmonds as the State’s first certified Creative District,” Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said. “Edmonds has a long history of support for the arts and culture sector, with our Community Cultural Plan, dating back to the 1990s, one of the first in the state. My thanks go out to the review committee and ArtsWA staff for selecting Edmonds, and to Governor Inslee and the State Legislature for authorizing the Creative District program.”