Arts & Entertainment:  Art at Work Month kicks off in style

  • ART APPRECIATION. Artists and patrons gathered at the Foss Waterway Seaport on Monday to celebrate the role art plays in Tacoma's economy and quality of life. (Photo by Steve Dunkelberger)

Tacoma artists and art lovers kicked off Tacoma’s 12th annual Art at Work month at an event on Oct. 28 at the Foss Waterway Seaport celebrating all things art-related around the 253.

Amid Barefoot Collective’s “movable human statues” swishing and swaying with a simple touch, and jazz from the Taxi Driver band, attendees saw highlights of local arts that are increasingly becoming economic engines around the city. While contributing to the city’s quality of life, the arts also play a role in Tacoma’s economic health. An economic impact study about the arts conducted two years ago concluded that nonprofit arts and culture comprise a $64.72 million-a-year industry that supports 1,735 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $6.58 million in local and state government revenue.

“The arts are about economic development as much as about culture and history,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said.

The night also included the awarding of the city’s annual AMOCAT Awards to artists and art programs that made positive impacts to the arts community in the past year. The AMOCAT Arts Awards recognize those in our community who provide distinctive contributions to the arts. Awards honored Ervan and Helga Haub as Art Patrons for the Haub family donation to Tacoma Art Museum of landmark Western Art pieces and an endowment that also includes the construction of a 16,000-square-foot gallery at the museum, it breaks ground next week.

Puget Sound Book Artists was honored with the Community Outreach by an Organization award for its ongoing efforts to create a spirit of community among book artists and those who love books. Tacoma Public Library’s David Domkoski took home the outreach award for his efforts at bringing notable authors to the area as well as for his production of plays after founding Assemblage Theater to produce provocative, quirky and challenging plays that celebrate language and engage, inspire, entertain and challenge audiences.

Art at Work Month is dedicated to showing off the community through more than 400 arts activities during November that include music, dance and theater performances; visual art exhibits; literary readings; lectures; workshops; film screenings and cultural events. Learn all about it at

The 12th Annual Studio Tours will be held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring some 60 artists and collaborative studios and allowing the general public the opportunity to see the spaces in and tools with which local artists create their work. Check out for the full list of artists, schedule, and an interactive map where you can plot your own custom tour course.

More information is available at

There will be a Tacoma Arts Conference at University of Puget Sound on Nov. 16, hosted by the Arts Leadership Lab Tacoma as an opportunity to connect arts professionals and forward the growth of the local creative economy. The conference will serve working artists, creative entrepreneurs, and arts professionals who are making or would like to make a living as a part of the cultural sector. Sessions and forums cover topics such as arts education, funding, online engagement, public art, creative small businesses and arts careers. Visit for more information.


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