Creative Washington: Growing and Strengthening the Creative Economy

In 2022, the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce), inspired by legislative leadership in SB 5238 (2021–2022), initiated a sector focus on the creative economy and launched a planning process to guide

the newly established key sector office at Commerce. The creative economy in Washington is a dynamic and multifaceted sector encompassing industries such as arts, culture, design, media, fashion, and a range of creative products and services fueled by technology.
It has emerged as a significant element in economic growth in the state and is poised for continued growth and expansion. Washington’s creative economy leads the nation in terms of its size and scope.

A collaborative team from the Western States Arts Federation, Cultural Planning Group, and Third Way Creative was selected to produce a strategic plan for Washington’s creative industries, guided by a statewide working group of creative economy practitioners. Over an 18-month process, a wide range of stakeholders—artists, creative entrepreneurs, technology leaders, investors, educators, and other civic

leaders—from every corner of the state were engaged to inform and shape strategies for growing and strengthening Washington’s creative economy. More than 400 people reflecting a wide range of communities, identities, and affinities shared their knowledge, lived experience, and aspirations for the creative economy, and their perspectives have shaped the themes, findings, and strategies presented in this plan. With their input, the plan has been designed

to make a material difference for Washington’s creative economy, supporting new jobs and increased economic contribution to the state.

The plan includes four priorities, ten strategies, and nine state investment recommendations for the next biennium that will expand statewide support of the creative economy ecosystem.

The plan aims to contribute to job creation and small business success reflecting the importance of the creative workforce and creative entrepreneurship to the growth and sustainability of the creative economy.

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