Upcoming Cultural Festivals East, South of Tacoma

New cultural festivals are heading east and south in Tacoma and it’s all thanks to the votes of the people who live, work or go to school there.

Through a participatory budgeting process led by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Centers of Public Health Excellence in partnership with Tacoma Creates, 5,166 community members of all ages across the east and South Tacoma have selected the cultural projects they most want to see in their communities – a series of multicultural festivals in the Eastside and a South Tacoma Heritage Festival. The Eastside and South Tacoma are among the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s focus communities. Each of the two selected projects will be supported by $100,000 in funding from Tacoma Creates and implemented in late 2022 or 2023.

“I am proud of the excellent work done by members of the Eastside and South Tacoma community in selecting these projects,” said Deputy Mayor Catherine Ushka. “The participatory budgeting process supports strong community engagement, and I am thrilled that Eastside and South Tacoma have been chosen to support local cultural celebrations. Tacoma Creates is exactly that.

“I am thrilled to see the Heritage Festival project supporting the diversity of South Tacoma and celebrating the cultural diversity and vibrancy of our region,” said District 5 Council Member Joe Bushnell. “I applaud the work of the many institutions nonprofits who have put together these incredible proposals and look forward to more Tacoma Creates-supported cultural programs in the future.

As part of this process of participatory budgeting, which helps the government better serve the community by drawing on the wisdom of the community to help implement solutions to community problems, the local advisory councils have developed three proposals project proposals in the Eastside and three initial project proposals in South Tacoma. These early project proposals emerged from thousands of ideas submitted by community members who then had a month and a half to vote.

“A great partner was the school district,” Victor Rodriquez, health equity officer for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “We went to the schools, and the principals and teachers gave us time to talk to the students about the project and the ideas they had. We did the same for the vote – going back to the schools to try to get as many places as we visited the first time.”


In the Eastside, the series of multicultural festivals garnered 65% of the vote and will include three cultural celebrations: Lunar New Year, Juneteenth and Dia de los Muertos. Each family festival will last one to two days and will offer a wide range of performances, storytelling, food, art and activities. The project will be developed and implemented by the Tacoma Refugee Choir, in partnership with local cultural groups.

“After the events of the past few years, the need for cultural celebrations that bring us together as a community is more important than ever,” said Erin Guinup, Executive and Artistic Director of the Tacoma Refugee Choir. “We look forward to building bridges and sharing laughter, songs, ideas and stories as we celebrate our shared human experiences together – which ultimately leads to a stronger, more resilient community.

The remaining 35% 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 the Permaculture Lifestyle Institute, and the Tacoma Eastside. Freewall, a dedicated venue for mural painters with workshops for youth and young adults, said to have been developed and implemented by Fab-5.


In South Tacoma, the South Tacoma Heritage Festival garnered 56% of the vote and will celebrate community diversity while promoting cross-cultural solidarity with a two-day event featuring dance, music, cultural presentations, children’s activities , etc. There will also be science and engineering-themed learning opportunities that focus on concepts and techniques as well as career opportunities. The Asia-Pacific Cultural Center will develop and implement this project, in coordination and collaboration with local grassroots organizations.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring this heritage festival to our South Tacoma community,” said Faaluaina Pritchard, Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center. “This is a great opportunity to celebrate and uplift the many cultures we have here in South Tacoma.

The remaining 44% 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 an intercultural community fresco. , a mural creation process focused on the diverse cultures of South Tacoma, said to have been developed and implemented by Fab-5.

“Arts, culture, heritage and science create spaces for cultural reflection, social connection and collective healing,” said Victor Rodriguez, health equity manager for the county health department. Tacoma Pierce. “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 fundamental to how Tacoma has evolved and will continue to evolve in the future, and I’m proud that our extended community has supported Tacoma Creates to fund cultural celebrations like these- here,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards.

Tacoma Creates is a voter-approved initiative to increase access to arts, culture, heritage and science experiences throughout Tacoma by reducing barriers to access and expanding offerings, especially for underserved youth. Tacoma Creates is integrated into the Office of Arts and Cultural Vitality of the City of Tacoma.

“Arts, culture, heritage and science create spaces for cultural reflection, social connection and collective healing,” Rodriguez said. “With COVID-19 continuing to affect our lives, this is more important than ever.”

Comments are closed.