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Cultural festivals are on their way to East and South Tacoma. Thank you for voting!

New cultural festivals are headed to East and South Tacoma and it’s all thanks to votes from the people who live, work or go to school there.

More than 5,000 people cast their votes in a participatory budgeting project led by our Public Health Centers for Excellence and Tacoma Creates. Thank you to everyone who voted!

Why your vote matters.

We asked you to help us decide how to spend $100,000 for your community. The money comes from Tacoma Creates, a voter approved initiative to expand equitable access to arts, culture, heritage, and science. These projects support community health and well-being.

“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.”

We used a participatory planning and budgeting process that gives communities the power to decide how to spend public money. Everyone who voted played a key role in supporting collective healing for their community.

“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.”

Festivals coming soon!

In East Tacoma, 65% of the votes were for a multicultural festival series. This will include 3 cultural celebrations: Lunar New Year, Juneteenth, and Día de los Muertos.

Each family-friendly festival will last 1-2 days and offer a wide array of performances, storytelling, food, art and activities. Tacoma Refugee Choir will develop and implement the project and work 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 Erin Guinup, Executive & Artistic Director of Tacoma Refugee Choir. “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.”

56% of community members in South Tacoma voted for the South Tacoma Heritage Festival. This 2-day event will celebrate community diversity through dance, music, cultural presentations, kids’ activities, and more.

You can also participate in science and engineering themed learning opportunities that focus on concepts and techniques and career possibilities.

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 Faaluaina Pritchard, Executive Director of Asia Pacific Cultural Center. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate and uplift the many, many cultures we have here in South Tacoma.”

Tacoma Refugee Choir and Asia Pacific Cultural Center are planning these events now so you can experience them later this year or next year.

One big, THANK YOU!

Thank you, again, to everyone who helped make this possible. We are proud of our community and city leaders agree.

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards says, “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.”

We know how important arts, culture, heritage and science are to our communities, and how important it is for asking for community input when uplifting these experiences in your neighborhood.

Picture with black background and thank you in 5 different languages