Cultural Access Washingtons would be used to expand cultural experiences in Washington state
From Arts To Zoos
Cultural Access Washingtons would be used to expand cultural experiences in Washington state
Cultural Access Washingtons would be used to expand cultural experiences in Washington state

Jill Barnes, Executive Director, Washington Center for the Performing Arts   |    Patty Belmonte, Executive Director, Hands On Children's Museum   |    Putter Bert, KidsQuest Children’s Museum   |    Ronda Billerbeck, Cultural Programs Manager, City of Kent Arts Commission   |    Gloria Bornstein, Artist   |    Caroline Bowdish, Community Concerts of the Tri-Cities   |    John Bradshaw, Managing Director, Seattle Shakespeare Company   |    David Brewster, President, Board of Directors, Edmonds Center for the Arts   |    D. David Brown, Chairman, Culture PAC   |    Phillip Butler, Sr. Advisor, visionSynergy   |    Karen Bystrom   |    Ellen Clark   |    Theresa Clymer, Board President, Renton Historical Museum   |    Julie Custer, Pratt Fine Arts Center   |    Robert Davidson, President/CEO,Seattle Aquarium   |    Lauren Domino, Development Director, Seattle Shakespeare Company   |    Chuck Eaton, Arts Center Task Force   |    Paddy Eger, retired educator, volunteer trainer and author   |    Gary Fuller, Director of Accounting and Finance, Nyhus Communications   |    Paul Gjording, Seattle Symphony   |    Nancy Gottwald, Administrative Assistant, Olympic Ballet Theater and School   |    Nancy Halberstaad, Executive Director, Spokane Arts Fund   |    John Haynes, PACE   |    April Heding   |    Karen Hirsch, Karen Hirsch Consulting   |    Melinda Hord, Board of Trustees, Seattle Children's Theatre   |    Cynthia Huffman, President, Board of Trustees, Intiman Theatre   |    Kevin Hughes, Owner, Hughes and Associates   |    Marcia Iwasaki   |   

Brian Johnson, Executive Director, Admiral Theatre Foundation   |    Melody Kadlub-Barr   |    Deborah Kasindorf, Director of External Relations, Seattle Children's Theatre   |    Susan Leavitt, Board of Trustees, Intiman Theatre   |    Alexis Madison   |    Daniel Mayer, Executive Director, Kirkland Performance Center   |    Monica McAlister   |    Joseph McIalwain, Executive Director, Edmonds Center for the Arts   |    Andrew McMasters, Artistic Director, Jet City Improv - Wing-It Productions   |    Anna Miller, Executive Director, Federal Way Symphony   |    Katie Oman, Senior Consultant, Arts Consulting Group   |    Nikki Parish, Managing Director, Studio East Training for the Performing Arts   |    Joan Rabinowitz, Executive Director, Jack Straw Cultural Center   |    Ann Ramsay-Jenkins, Founder, College Success Foundation   |    Charlie Rathbun Arts Program, 4Culture   |    Paul Reeder, Booking chair, Community Concerts of the Tri-Cities, WA   |    Andrew Russell, Producing Artistic Director, Intiman Theatre   |    Gary Severin, Board of Directors, Gallery One Visual Art Center   |    Christopher Shainin, Executive Director, Museum of Northwest Art   |    Elizabeth Stewart, Museum Manager, Renton History Museum   |    Nida Tautvydas, Executive Director, McIntyre Hall Performing Arts Center   |    Bonnie Towne, 5th Avenue Theatre   |    Evan Tucker, Business Director, Intiman Theatre   |    Kelly Tweeddale, Executive Director, Seattle Opera   |    Joanna Vance, Taproot Theatre Company   |    Frank Video, Legislative Aide & Visual Artist   |    Rick Walling, Arts Center Task Force (Tri-Cities)   |    Thomas Walsh   |    Steven Wiley, Chairman, Arts Center Task Force   |    Alexandra Wiley, Chair, Bellingham Arts Commission   |    Alleson Buchanan, Arts Entrepreneur   |   

Cultural Access Washington

Arts, science and heritage organizations help make Washington a great place to live, work and play. Whether you are visiting an aquarium, attending a play, or learning about the history of your community at a heritage museum, you are benefiting from access to cultural experiences. Access to arts, heritage and science experiences advances education, enhances the economy, enriches our quality of life and strengthens our communities. Cultural experiences have the power to transform lives.

New policies are needed in Washington to enable local governments to increase access to these educational experiences. A coalition of business, non-profit, educational, labor and government leaders across the state are supporting legislation that would make this possible. The goal is to increase access to cultural experiences (including arts organizations, science centers and zoos) for children and adults across Washington. Funds would be used to provide cultural education programs for students and residents, and to pay for school transportation to these venues.

This initiative is modeled after other successful programs. It gives voters a tool to ensure the preservation and stability of these institutions. There are currently several states that have adopted legislation authorizing the use of special tax districts. St. Louis, Missouri established the first such district in 1969, using its funds to support the art museum, the zoo and the museum of science. For 23 years, the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area has distributed approximately $40 million annually to scientific and cultural organizations through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Please help us in this effort! To read and sign the letter of support, please CLICK HERE and provide your name, organization (if appropriate), and preferred email address.

Cultural Access Matters

Access to vibrant science, cultural and arts experiences benefits individuals, communities and the state. Benefits of access include:

Improved educational outcomes

  • Students who are engaged in cultural activities are more likely to graduate from high school and score 120 points higher on their SATs. (Americans for the Arts, 2008)

Greater economic prosperity and competitiveness

Quality of Life



Key Features of the Cultural Access Washington Proposal

Increased Public Access

  • Reduced or free admission to scientific and cultural educational organizations
  • Creation of new or expanded programs for families and individuals
  • Increase cultural activities in both rural and urban areas
  • Sustain organizations that provide regional cultural benefits

Increased Public School Student Access

  • Expand experiences at schools or on-site at cultural or scientific educational organizations
  • Leverage in-school education through cultural, scientific and heritage activities
  • Fund transportation for every public school student to attend or participate in cultural or scientific educational organizations, once a year]
  • Focus on schools in economically-disadvantaged areas


  • Sunset funding sources after seven years unless reauthorized by a public vote
  • Oversight of funds would be by a board of directors appointed by counties and cities
  • Cap administrative costs by counties (scaled to population)

In the News

Proposed culture access legislation would help communities fund arts (Bellingham Herald, 3/11/14)

Viewpoint: Cultural access bill would enrich state (Puget Sound Business Journal, 3/7/14)
King County Council unanimously supports funding mechanism for cultural programs (Maple Valley Reporter, 2/25/14)
Whatcom County Council supports new tax for arts, but only if voters want it (Bellingham Herald, 2/4/14)
Initiative could lead to free or reduced admission to arts in Tri-Cities (Tri-City Herald, 12/9/2013)
Just a tiny tax would make museums, zoos available to most kids (The Olympian, 1/30/2014)

Crosscut names Cultural Access a top priority for Mayor-elect Murray! (See #9) (Crosscut, 11/26/2013)

What is Cultural Access Washington?

A coalition of business, non-profit, educational, labor and government leaders across the state are working together to increase access to cultural experiences for all Washingtonians. State legislation is needed to give local governments the ability to create publicly funded Cultural Access funds. Funds would be used to enable students, families and individuals to attend, participate and experience cultural organizations -- from arts organizations to zoos and aquariums.


Board Login
Join Our Mailing List
For Email Marketing you can trust