Arts & Culture

Pierce County has a long history of incubating and launching artists. With native talent from crooner Bing Crosby to glassblowing genius Dale Chihuly to automobile collector Harold LeMay, Tacoma has a rich history of arts and culture. In fact, Tacoma is the second-most museum-dense city in the state of Washington.

Arts & Culture Infographic FINAL

Arts & Culture Infographic FINAL

Good and Necessary for All

Arts and culture improve skills and creativity and increase our knowledge about one another. The opportunity to experience another person’s culture and its characteristics, history, values, belief systems, and behaviors through art or heritage helps to bring us together and create mutual understanding. Our overall welfare benefits through individual expression and exploration.  Even our physical and psychological well-being improves after being immersed in arts and culture. Our satisfaction in life is enhanced when we take advantage of educational opportunities in arts and culture, which builds our creative skills.

Economic Impacts

Arts and culture attract visitors, residents, and business. This fuels local economies and attracts outside investments. ArtsFund recently performed a study of the central Puget Sound region regarding the economic impact of arts, culture, and scientific organizations. In Pierce County, local residents patronize the majority of arts activities. The quality of the county’s art offerings also attracts many outside visitors and patrons. In fact, as recently as 2014, 45% of patron spending in the Central Puget Sound region represented new money to the area. To help assess the ongoing progress and fiscal influence of our creative industries, Tacoma is a participant in the Arts & Economic Prosperity by Americans for the Arts Study, which measures the financial impact of the arts in our community every five years.

Social Capital & Community Cohesion

When communities invest in arts and culture they create venues and opportunities to draw people together who would otherwise not be engaged. Civic engagement activities encourage people to come together and often create a sense of community belonging. Frequently, arts events are a source of community pride that have the benefit of providing personal learning and growth opportunities.

Arts are more than just a gallery of works or performances. Organizations such as Spaceworks Tacoma and Arts EnviroChallenger integrate the arts in other social, economic, and environmental initiatives, which creates pathways for community participation.

Examples of Organizations Showcasing Arts & Culture in Pierce County


Tacoma Art Museum
Emphasizes art and artists from the Northwest and western region

Feast Arts Center
Is a place to gather together, take classes, make art and be a part of the community

Broadway Center for Performing Arts
Energizes the community through performance art

The Grand Cinema
Shows independent, foreign and local films

Hilltop Artists
Uses glass art to connect young people to better futures

Museum of Glass
Is committed to creating space for the studio glass movement

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
Builds community through music

Lakewold Gardens
Preserves and enhances the historic estate gardens


Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Bridges communities and generations through arts, culture, education and business

Puget Sound Revels
Builds community through traditional music, dance and drama from many cultures

Scandinavian Cultural Center
Is dedicated to increasing and sharing Scandinavian history

Korean Women’s Association
Provides multi-cultural human services through education, socialization, advocacy and support

Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Center and Museum
Shares knowledge and preserves the history of Steilacoom Tribe

Pacific Bonsai Museum
Features world class bonsai from around the world

Daughters of Norway
Celebrates Norwegian heritage

Arts & Cultural Coalition of Pierce County
Works to collectively spark interest in arts, culture and heritage


Buffalo Soldiers Museum
Educates, preserves and presents the history of America’s Buffalo Soldiers

Fife Historical Museum
Ensures that the history of Fife is preserved

Foss Waterway Seaport
Celebrates Tacoma’s maritime heritage

Harbor History Museum
Creates opportunities to experience the greater Gig Harbor heritage

Job Carr Cabin Museum
Preserves the history of Tacoma’s founder, Job Carr

Lakewood Historical Society
Enhances the quality of life in Lakewood through educational programs

Washington State History Museum
Connects personal, local, regional and national stories

LeMay-America’s Car Museum
Preserves and interprets the history and technology of automobiles and their influence on culture

Learn More

Learn about more organizations supporting Arts & Culture in our community with our Nonprofit Directory

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