Grants for Arts and Culture as Tourism Assets

Washington Department of Tourism
Deadline: 4/14/2024

Arts and Culture Grants will support the promotion and management of artistic and cultural forms of expression as tourism assets. These include art shows, concerts, festivals and events, as well as museums, historic sites, cultural institutes, and creative districts. Arts and Culture Grants aim to boost the local economy by attracting overnight visitors who are interested in experiencing the artistic and cultural offerings of a people and a place while mitigating any negative impacts on residents, social services, and public infrastructure.

An informational webinar about the grant program will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28. Register Here.

Tourism stakeholders may request up to $30,000 in grant funding for a variety of projects, including but not limited to the following categories:

Festivals and Events 
This grant program will aid the planning and management of new (less than three years old) arts and cultural-based festivals and events that drive overnight stays and visitor spending for destination communities.

Public Art Installations 
Funding for public art projects, murals, sculptures, and other artistic displays that enhance the visual appeal of public spaces and foster a sense of place.

Marketing and Promotion 
Grants may be allocated to marketing campaigns to promote a destination as a hotspot for arts and culture, attracting visitors interested in immersive cultural experiences.

Cultural Heritage Tourism 

  • Diversifying, expanding, or enhancing cultural heritage programs and events
  • Cultivating niche markets and networks
  • Strategies to improve the management of cultural heritage tourism, such as identifying and evaluating cultural heritage resources, guide training, restoration/interpretation projects, etc.
  • Economic impact studies of cultural heritage tourism on the local economy
  • Strategies to improve the promotion of cultural heritage tourism with maps, itineraries, digital storytelling, FAM tours, etc.

Local governments, tribes, chambers of commerce, destination organizations, performing art centers, visual arts organizations, and other nonprofit organizations that support travel and tourism are eligible to apply.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to match a portion of their grant request with cash or in-kind contributions. Grant funds from SWT should not pay for staff salaries, debt, or interest payments associated with eligible projects. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to collaborate with local destination marketing organizations and industry partners on eligible projects.

2024 Application Timeline 

March 15 – April 15: Application period open.

April 15 – May 15: A review committee of industry experts will evaluate the leading applications.

May 15: Award recipients will be notified by email.

June 15: Estimated date grant funds will be made available. Grantees have one year to expend the funds.

Stipulations for Working with Contractors

Tourism Stakeholders should express an intention to seek contract work from a third party without naming a vendor. When describing the work, applicants should specify deliverables and the desired qualifications of vendors.

Applicants must also abide by the following stipulations as outlined by the Washington State Department of Commerce:

If a micro-purchase (up to $10,000) 

  • The price is reasonable based on research, experience, purchase history, or other information and must be documented.
  • For professional services, Commerce recommends creating a contract to ensure deliverables will not exceed $10,000 as a best practice.

If a small purchase ($10,001 – $30,000) 

  • Quotes were obtained from at least three sources.
  • The price is reasonable based on research, experience, purchase history, or other information and must be documented.
  • The purchase limit can reach $40,000 if using a certified small or veteran-owned business as outlined in RCW 39.26.010(22).

For purchases above $30,000 (or $40,000 if using a certified small or veteran-owned business), applicants will need to follow the federal procurement process outlined in 2 CFR 200 procurement.

Applicants awarded grant funds must submit all contracts/contractors involved with each project to SWT for review and approval. Grantees and contractors must have UEI numbers, and the latter must be billed on a reimbursement basis after services are rendered. If applicable, some eligible expenses can only be covered at OFM reimbursement rates.

Reporting Requirements

Grantees must submit two reports (an interim and a final evaluation) and comply with quarterly check-in meetings for the duration of the grant project. If awardees fail to submit an evaluation, their consideration for future grants may be adversely affected.

The project evaluation should include: 

  • A final budget
  • Proof of spending
  • Vendor tax forms (W-9 and Form 1099)
  • Photos and testimonials
  • A written account of how grant funds were used and their impact on travel and tourism.

Be sure to view the FAQ page for this grant program as well as the application portal FAQ. For additional questions, contact Tamara Rice at tamara@stateofwatourism.com.

These funds are made possible through a federal grant from the Economic Development Administration, awarded to State of Washington Tourism by the Washington State Department of Commerce for tourism industry pandemic recovery.