The Public Health Centers for Excellence at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in partnership with Tacoma Creates, 5,166 community members of all ages across the Eastside and South Tacoma, have selected the cultural projects they most want to see in their communities – a Multicultural Festival Series in the Eastside and a South Tacoma Heritage Festival. The Eastside and South Tacoma are among Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Communities of Focus. Each of the two selected projects will be supported with $100,000 in Tacoma Creates funding and implemented in late 2022 or in 2023.
“I am proud of the great work done by Eastside and South Tacoma community members in selecting these projects,” said Deputy Mayor Catherine Ushka. “The participatory budgeting process supports strong community engagement, and I’m thrilled that the Eastside and South Tacoma have chosen to support local cultural celebrations. That is exactly what Tacoma Creates is all about.”
“I am excited to see the Heritage Festival project support the diversity of South Tacoma, and celebrate the cultural diversity and vibrancy of our area,” said District 5 Council Member Joe Bushnell. “I applaud the work of the many non-profit institutions that have put together these amazing proposals and look forward to more cultural programming supported by Tacoma Creates in the future.”
As part of this participatory budgeting process, which helps government better serve the community by leveraging community wisdom to help implement solutions to community problems, local advisory boards had developed three initial project proposals in the Eastside and three initial project proposals in South Tacoma. These initial project proposals emerged from thousands of ideas submitted by community members who then had a month and a half to vote.
In the Eastside, the Multicultural Festival Series netted 65 percent of the vote and will include three cultural celebrations: Lunar New Year, Juneteenth, and Dia de los Muertos. Each family-friendly festival will be one to two days long, and offer a wide array of performances, storytelling, food, art, and activities. The project will be developed and implemented by the Tacoma Refugee Choir, working in partnership with local cultural groups.
“After the events of recent years, the need for cultural celebrations that bring us together as a community are more important than ever,” said Tacoma Refugee Choir Executive and Artistic Director Erin Guinup. “We are looking forward to collaboratively building bridges and sharing laughter, songs, ideas, and stories as we celebrate our shared human experiences together – which ultimately leads to a stronger and more resilient community.”
The remaining 35 percent of votes in the Eastside were split between two other project proposals: Light Up the City, a series of pop-up light shows and interactive workshops, which would have been developed and implemented by Permaculture Lifestyle Institute, and the Tacoma Eastside Freewall, a dedicated location for mural painters with workshops for youth and young adults, which would have been developed and implemented by Fab-5.
In South Tacoma, the South Tacoma Heritage Festival netted 56 percent of the vote, and will celebrate community diversity while promoting cross-cultural solidarity with a two-day event featuring dance, music, cultural presentations, kids’ activities, and more. There will also be science and engineering themed learning opportunities that focus on concepts and techniques as well as career possibilities. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center will develop and implement this project, in coordination and engagement with local grassroots organizations.
“We are so excited to be able to bring this Heritage Festival to our South Tacoma community,” said Asia Pacific Cultural Center Executive Director Faaluaina Pritchard. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate and uplift the many, many cultures we have here in South Tacoma.”
The remaining 44 percent of votes in South Tacoma were split between two other project proposals: Rock the Block, a series of friendly competitions to showcase local talent, which would have been developed and implemented by Real Art Tacoma, and a Cross-Cultural Community Mural, a mural-creation process focused on the diverse cultures of South Tacoma, which would have been developed and implemented by Fab-5.
“Arts, culture, heritage, and science create spaces for cultural reflection, social connections, and collective healing,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Health Equity Manager Victor Rodriguez. “With COVID-19 continuing to affect our lives, this is more important than ever.”
“The contributions of our vibrant and diverse community of creatives have been foundational to the way Tacoma has evolved and will continue to evolve into the future, and I am proud that our broader community has supported Tacoma Creates to fund cultural celebrations like these,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards.