WA State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
In 2021, the Washington State Legislature approved funding in the Capital Budget to establish the Historic Theater Capital Grant program. The program is intended to recognize and preserve historic theaters as an essential element to economic vitality and social health of any community – especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant program is housed within the Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP) and managed under contract by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. For this first round, approximately $300,000 in matching funds are available in the 2021-2023 Biennium, with a limit of $50,000 per request.
More than 80 operating historic theaters remain in Washington. They are scattered in both small towns and urban neighborhoods. In fact, 25% of the theaters are located in communities with a population of under 5,000, and nearly 56% are in communities under 50,000. As businesses, they contribute local economies in purchasing goods and products, employing people, and paying taxes. As venues for performances and film, they support an arts economy that ripples far beyond individual artists to include construction workers, graphic designers, electricians, and many other trades and services. Additionally, historic theaters are indispensable assets in developing cultural tourism—the fastest growing segment of the tourism market. As theater closures statewide were eminent through the last year and a half, the grant program hopes to not only offset deferred maintenance but also foster a preservation ethic for these cherished community gathering spaces.
The grant application period is open until Sunday, December 19, with award announcements scheduled early next year. More information, including the online application form can be found at preservewa.org/theater-grants or by contacting Huy Pham at the Washington Trust at (206) 462-2999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.