Photo courtesy of Angelina Villalobos

Strengthening Arts & Culture

Investing in the human experience of art

We believe communities are strengthened by a sense of belonging – where arts and culture are both celebrated and accessible and where there is space to connect, create, and work toward common solutions to many of our societal challenges. Communities represent the mechanism by which we make things possible. 

Community Accelerator Grants  

What is the sign of a community that is flourishing? Access to arts and culture that inspire, educate, and elevate audiences. The lingering impact of the pandemic has hamstrung recovery for many arts and culture organizations, especially those in rural areas or serving BIPOC and LGBTQ+ audiences, as the organizations grapple with reduced public participation and significantly decreased budgets. Research indicates many organizations are operating with about half of pre-pandemic funding levels. The Community Accelerator Grant Program was designed as a community-driven program to support the sector’s adaptation and recovery through unrestricted funding.  


The 2023 pilot of Community Accelerator Grant program, administered by ArtsFund, provided $10M in funding to 671 organizations in 35 counties across Washington state. This first year provided ample proof of the program’s immediate impact on the arts community, with many lessons learned that will shape the program’s second year in 2024, including maintaining the easy and equitable application process that is informed by a community advisory panel.  Year two of this grantee-centric award will continue to help fuel the artistic possibilities that bring us all hope, joy, and compassion. 

“Cascadia Music had to cut back extensively due to the pandemic – our ensembles stopped meeting, performances ceased, and private lessons became untenable. The last few years have been a slow and painstaking exercise in resource management and virtual event planning. The Community Accelerator Grant funding arrived at just the right moment in time, allowing us a return to in-person programming on a larger scale and restore their level of visibility in our community.” 

- Elliot Ford, Cascadia Music Board President

Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King

A Danish artist who builds giant trolls out of scrap wood comes to the Pacific Northwest and installs six trolls. Fun, but why? The project amplifies the connection between art and the environment while celebrating the heritage of Coast Salish tribal communities and creating a connection to Danish and Scandinavian traditions. It reinforces the shared values that are deeply ingrained in both cultures and are evident throughout the Pacific Northwest – environmental stewardship, community building, art appreciation, and education. 

Jakob Two Trees: Issaquah

Oscar the Bird King, Vashon Island

Ole Bolle, Portland

Pia The Peacekeeper, Bainbridge Island

Bruun Idun, West Seattle

Frankie Feetsplinters, Ballard

Northwest Trolls: “Way of the Bird King” celebrates the culture and heritage of the Pacific Northwest and Denmark through six giant trolls created by artist Thomas Dambo. Made possible by our partnership with the Scan Design Foundation, these sculptures are made from natural and recycled materials to emphasize the importance of nature conservation and honoring our land. Built on efforts from site partners, community volunteers, local tribal leaders, and the amazing artistic crew from Denmark, the trolls are accessible to the public in Portland, Bainbridge Island, Issaquah, West Seattle, Vashon Island, and Ballard. There is profound joy shared by visitors as they approach these gentle giants that have big stories to tell. 

Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)

Supporting cultural and civic vitality of neighborhoods, counties, and tribal regions across the Pacific Northwest is one our key funding priorities. A strong example of our dedication to priority populations is the Tacoma-based Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), which serves a state-wide community of immigrants, refugees, youth, and seniors. Our funding contributes to the sustainability of this trusted arts, culture, and business organization.

The APCC offers services and provides programs serving Asia Pacific people from 47 different countries, representing the vibrancy of our region.
The APCC offers services and provides programs serving Asia Pacific people from 47 different countries, representing the vibrancy of our region.

APCC is constructing its new, permanent home in Tacoma’s South Park to serve its growing community of 47 distinct cultures and countries. The One Heart, One Home campaign establishes a dynamic 18K square-foot community center for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families across the Pacific Northwest, scheduled to open in late 2024. The new facility will provide an extraordinary cultural destination for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather, learn, and experience Asian and Pacific Islander art, culture, and heritage.