It’s Official: Edmonds Is A Certified Creative District
We are pleased to inform you Edmonds was the first city in the state to become a Certified Creative District! We’ve held the certification since 2018, and we know not all of you have dug into the details. So, that’s what we’re about to do together. Grab your favorite beverage and settle in for a fun, educational journey through what a Creative District is all about and why ours is so special.
Certified Creative Districts are part of an Arts Washington initiative to help grow the creative sector around the state. Ultimately, the program’s goal is to turn the cultural activities already alive and well in the certified districts into economic growth. Because economically strong communities are good for everyone.
As we know from living in and loving Edmonds, Certified Creative Districts are fun places to live, work, play, and visit. They’re the hearts of communities. They’re places where people gather and enjoy the arts and culture of their town. They’re walkable and easy to navigate. They’re places where innovation happens and creativity flourishes. They’re places of progress where community members move enthusiastically into the future. Sounds like somewhere you know?
Why Does Certification Matter?
An ArtsWA (aka State of Washington) certification comes with several unique benefits: special resources, grant opportunities, networking, tracked progress of the district’s creative economy, and more. A Creative District certification offers the potential to not only grow creative jobs in the area, but also increase tourism (ArtsWA partnered with WSDOT to install branded signage on state highways and freeways adjacent to districts), attract artists and start-ups, redevelop historic areas of town (see: the future Main Street Commons), and bring in affordable housing like live/work spaces.
The Edmonds Certified Creative District
Our Creative District includes the heart of downtown and all the way to the waterfront bordering the Marina. It goes up to the Wade James Theater (where the Driftwood Players perform). It includes all of the Ed! zone and more. You can see the map of it here.
Demetris Woodstone Taverna
Ed! Businesses Included In The Creative District
Several business categories qualify for the Creative District—everything from what you’d know intuitively like visual arts shops to restaurants and bars. Types of creativity that qualify? Well, anything that includes an element of art: photography and videography, painting, drawing, sketching, computer programming, brewing, distilling, cooking and feeding (e.g. the culinary arts), catering, jewelry making, book publishing, performing, interior design, architecture and drafting, cabinetry, stained glass window-making, advertising, and more.
We have a rich mix of creative businesses in Edmonds, and that mix has only continued to grow in breadth and depth since we earned our ArtsWA certification.
An alphabetical (far from comprehensive) sampling of Ed! members included in the Creative District:
- Alexander’s Bead Bazaar
- Aria Studio and Gallery
- Bench & Board
- The Church Key Pub
- Claire’s Pantry
- Cole Gallery and Art Studio
- Curious Nest
- Demetris Woodstone Taverna
- Driftwood Modern
- Frosted Cupcakes and Cakes (inside Ace Hardware)
- Girardi’s Osteria
- Glazed & Amazed
- Lowell’s Stained Glass
- MaJe Gallery
- J. Rankin Jewelers
- Rick Steves’ Europe
- Rusty Pelican Cafe
- Treasures & Teas
And tons more. See the full list—and start planning your stops to check them all out—here.
If you tune in to the weekly City Council meetings (and who doesn’t!), you may know that a key tenet of the Edmonds City Council-approved five-year Work Program is the further development of the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor between the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) and Main Street. The goal is to make that area of town more pedestrian friendly—safer, more welcoming, and more interesting, especially with the reopening of Civic Park upon us.
In the future, 4th Avenue will act as another linear gathering place that can host celebrations, events, art, and performances. We already have the beautiful “Luminous Forest” by artist Iole Alessandrini highlighting the connection between Main Street and Edmonds Center for the Arts. In the next few years, that area will be even more impressive.
Check out the history of and future plans for the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor here.
Growing The Edmonds Creative District
21 creative business owners, arts and culture fans, civic leaders, and at-large members comprise our Creative District Advisory Committee. With their support and leadership, we hope to attract even more creative businesses to our thriving downtown community.
The Creative District’s motto? Connect. Create. Inspire. Make a Splash!
Sounds like an Edmonds kind of organization, doesn’t it?
We’re In Good Company
Since our certification in 2018, several other communities in the state have earned theirs: Cheweleh, Olympia, Langley, Twisp, Port Townsend, Tenino, Issaquah, Rainier Valley, Bainbridge, South Columbia (SoCo), Moses Lake, and Burien. We’re excited to watch that list expand and to visit all of our like-minded friends!
By Whitney Popa, photos by Matt Hulbert