Future of Arts and Culture Project: Phase 1 Segment Assessment
Snohomish County, Washington

In May 2022 post pandemic, the Snohomish County Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Cultural Arts Network signed a contract with Better City to conduct the first phase of the Future of Arts and Culture Project. This project entailed grass-roots programs of outreach, education and advocacy. These programs support cultural workers, leaders, volunteers, for and non-for-profit businesses during recovery.

The objectives of Phase One encompassed the identification of opportunities within the Arts and Culture Industry. Furthermore, strategies for the industry to effectively prioritize and navigate post-pandemic recovery activities were determined. This phase aimed to characterize and quantify the roles and impacts of these industries on the County economies. Additionally, the exploration led to the identification of opportunities aimed at enhancing the quality of life for local Snohomish residents.

The desired goals and outcomes were to provide the Arts Commissions the economic data and metrics to monitor industry growth and decline, and to be equipped to plan accordingly.

“Better City helped Snohomish County, WA take a major step forward to understanding its industries of arts and culture. In 2022, during recovery, the county arts office and commission retained Better City to frame up support for disproportionately impacted cultural non-profits and businesses. We went to Better City asking for help to quantify an industry that is wonderfully irregular, organic and ever changing. It was a very difficult project - but we got there in the end! This unique project, (the first of its kind in the county's recent history), required technical, and curious mindset, superior active listening skills and kindly patience. Jason, Eric and Mone't committed to our cause as if it was their own. They waded full force into the muddy weeds to help us winnow down and prioritize what information would benefit arts and culture over the long-term. I am so proud of the Future of Arts and Culture Industry Segment Assessment the team created. I hope other counties, cities and towns who are confused about what, where and how to invest, or what "arts and culture" means will use the framework Better City created first for our county. There are specific industry performance metrics, priorities, resources and outcomes for these industries that can be monitored for health over time. We all know thriving arts and culture makes communities strong, but now, thanks to Better City, Snohomish County knows what it takes for arts and culture to be strong in communities.”
Annique Bennett
Communications Specialist, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Snohomish County, Washington
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