Thank you Dan Warn and the Chronicle for the nice article about the Tenino Creative District. I also want to recognize and thank the Tenino Creative District key partners in everything we do: Tenino Arts and Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce specifically Donna Mayo, Jenny Walton Hall of Tenino Arts and the leadership of the Chamber Cheryl Akin Pearce, President, Joyce Worrell Vice President, Linda Patnude Gotovac Secretary and City Council Liaison along with rest of the Board of Directors. They help raise more than $10,000 to assist with Creative District projects.
Under the leadership of Mayor Wayne Fournier, the Tenino City Council created the Tenino Creative District when it adopted Resolution 2018-01 on January 9, 2018. It was the first city in the State of Washington to establish a Creative District.
In January 2019 City of Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier convened the Tenino Creative District Taskforce to prepare the application to become a Washington State Arts Commission Certified Creative District. The Taskforce spent the first five months of 2019 meeting as a group as well as with the community stakeholders and partners, researching and utilizing the Washington State Arts Commission Creative District Community Readiness Toolkit, Application Guidelines and Pre-Application Checklist. Representatives of the Taskforce conducted a site visit with Annette Roth, Washington State Arts Commission Creative District Program Manager in May 2019 to finalize the boundaries of the Creative District and the information for the application for certification.
The Creative District Boundaries begin at the corner of Sussex and McArthur streets and extend to the corner of Sussex and Hayden Street. The boundary includes all of Tenino City Park, Quarry House, Quarry Pool, the Tenino Depot Museum, and Tenino High School. The City approved updating Resolution 2018-01 to include the new boundary.
On June 11th, 2019 The Tenino City Council approved the proposed Tenino Creative District Boundaries, Executive Summary and budget from the Tenino Creative District Taskforce. The City of Tenino amended the Tenino Municipal Code to add Chapter 2.70, Arts, Recreation, Culture and History (ARCH) Commission through Ordinance 904. It was adopted at the July 23, 2019, City Council Meeting. The Tenino Creative District Taskforce was transitioned into the Tenino Creative District Strategic Steering Committee in the fall of 2019. And then the pandemic hit in early 2020….
The official name of the Creative District is: Tenino Creative District
The Tenino Creative District is organized and operated by the City of Tenino.
The vision of the Tenino Creative District is the creation of a vibrant pedestrian-oriented business district that respects and builds on the historic character of downtown Tenino and attracts and supports creative industries. The mission of the Tenino Creative District is to develop and implement a program of work that will support the vision for the district.
We are proud that Tenino gained Certification by the Washington State Arts Commission in June 2020. We were excited to unveil the new Tenino Creative District wayfinding sign on Saturday, July 4th. The Tenino Creative District encompasses our downtown business area and includes the Tenino City Park, the Quarry House, the Quarry Pool, the Tenino Depot Museum, Tenino City Hall, and Tenino High School. The District extends along Highway 507 approximately a ¼ mile east and a ¼ mile west of downtown. The Creative District is home to the Master Stone Carvers and the Sandstone Historic Walking Tour. The District is also made up of small businesses such as restaurants, a cider maker, a chocolatier, a pharmacy & gift shop, a grocery store, salons, photographers, metal and glass artists, boutiques and antique stores. Wooden hand-carved way-finding signs lead the way around the Creative District. Our annual Festivals and Events including the Tenino Farmers Market and the new Tenino Arts Markets take place within the Creative District. The District is the kickoff point to more than 20 miles of bike and nature trails.
Our vision for the Tenino Creative District is the realization of a vibrant pedestrian-oriented business district that respects and builds on the historic character of Tenino and attracts and supports creative industries. Tenino’s authentic small-town feel, with our walkable district built of local stone, and surrounding natural and working lands are the key components we desire to maintain and emphasize into the future.
Strategies to enhance the characteristics intrinsic to Tenino include:
Preserve the historic character of Tenino through the restoration of historic structures and the construction of new buildings that complement older buildings.
Showcase the industrial character of Tenino through the use of old-time industrial feeling materials such as steel, wood, and stone.
Accentuate the artisan and handmade character of Tenino through the use of design elements such as carved sandstone, hand-painted signs and art, and local metalwork.
We believe that the Tenino Creative District has the potential to attract more residents, visitors and business activity while enhancing the quality of place and life. We are committed to providing annual funding support of the district to ensure its success.
I encourage all citizens to participate in the development of the Tenino Creative District by attending festivals and events, supporting our business community and sharing their ideas and information as they learn more about the program in the months ahead.
We live in a beautiful little city full of amazing and talented people and if we can all rally around that? There’s no limit to what we can do.
The City of Tenino Creative District in 2021 received a $5,000 operating grant that was used to match the contract with the Thurston EDC for George Sharp to serve as the Creative District Manager. The City received a $26,414 grant to pave the City-owned parking lot behind the Sandstone Café. Because of the increased cost of doing the project and product delays we switched the grant to build a Visitor/Community outdoor covered space next to the library for those who visit the Tenino Farmers Market and visitors on the Tenino-Rainier-Yelm Trail.
We will receive a $2,000 operating grant in 2022 and have applied for a $13,800 Capital Project grant from the Washington State Arts Commission. We are proposing to use Tenino World Class Metal Art creator Stew Waldrop of Creative Iron Works to create beautiful custom designed metal art banners to go onto the light/electrical poles in the Creative District, and 1 iconic Metal Art image/sign people will want to have their picture taken in front of in the City of Tenino. The project will be located on the light poles on HWY 507 and Sussex Avenue in Tenino and at the Tenino City Park on the Tenino-Rainier-Yelm trail. The project will consist of 23 Metal Art Banners with brackets approximately 2′ wide x 4′ tall and 1 Iconic Metal Art image/sign. The art will depict scenes of the history and attractions of the Tenino area.
The project will run the entire length of the Tenino Creative District. It will feature the history and attractions in the Tenino area. Each art piece will be numbered and we will create a scavenger hunt that will have people get out of their cars to view each art piece and learn the history of Tenino and about the attractions in the area. We believe it will be a catalyst for future metal art, murals, sculptures and public art.
The Tenino Creative District started out with a Bang with the new Tenino Creative District Sign Unveiling on July 4, 2020, with Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier, Thurston County Commissioner Tye Menser, Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce President Joyce Worrell and representatives from the Tenino Farmers Market, Tenino Stone Carvers, Tenino City Council and Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. See video at https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1177203969303012
We then worked with the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce and Tenino Arts Non-profit to hold a “test” Saturday Creative Market in downtown Tenino on September 26, 2020. It was very successful and on that day we decided to hold a Tenino Holiday Market in November and December 2020 and Spring Market in 2021 in downtown Tenino at the event center. Then markets were very successful and generated revenue for area artisans. The Artisans were very appreciative as many of them had most of their revenue sources of Festivals and Events canceled due to COVID. The Markets were also a fundraiser to help support and match the Washington State Arts Commission Creative District Capital Pilot Project Grant for the proposed Tenino Parking lot. The Chamber provided $9,500 to have the parking lot project engineered. Unfortunately, the cost estimate to finish the project came in higher than anticipated and we had to switch to the Creative District Visitor Kiosk Area near the Tenino Library and Tenino Farmers.
We had a very good partnership with the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce, Thurston Economic Development Council and Tenino Arts Non-profit to work on implementing the Holiday/Spring/Summer Markets as well as support the Tenino Oregon Trail Days, Tenino Music Festival, Olympia Symphony Orchestra Concert at the Quarry Pool, and The Tenino Young-At-Heart Theatre Group with the promotion of their Summer Play at the Quarry Pool and assisting with the planned development of their proposed new Theatre building in the heart of the Tenino Creative District.
We helped administer the City of Tenino COVID Small Business Grants that many of our artisan businesses received.
We participated in Washington State Arts Commission Rural Collaborative Monthly Meetings.
Thanks to the Washington State Arts Commission’s support we met with Art Space to brainstorm potential next steps and opportunities for Tenino and the Creative District.
We worked with the Thurston Economic Development Council on the landing of Shiplap Quilt Shop and Coffee House located in the heart of the Creative District in Downtown Tenino.
We encouraged and coordinated Creative Industries entrepreneurs and organizations to work together in as many ways as possible including Co-op opportunities, Tenino Holiday-Spring-Summer Markets, Oregon Trail Days and placing products in local businesses.
We supported Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business and Innovation Small Business Training Programs and Resources to inform Tenino Area Businesses of the opportunities.
We marketed Tenino as a Creative District Area through social media and public relations
We are working with the Tenino Stone Cutters to help them develop into a Non-profit organization.
Our Goals for 2022 include:
Coordinate Monthly Meetings of the Strategic Steering Committee and established and hold quarterly meetings of the ARCH Commission. Hold a brainstorming session to establish additional goals and opportunities for the ARCH Commission, Creative District and collaboration with other organizations.
Work with the Washington State Arts Commission on the continued development of the Creative District and apply for grants that will help us be successful.
Partner with the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce, Tenino Depot Museum, Thurston Economic Development Council, Tenino Arts, Tenino Young-At-Heart Theatre, Tenino School District and other organizations to plan and implement Creative Markets, Contests and support Festivals and Events in the Creative District
Continued coordination of Marketing, Public Relations and Promotion of the Creative District with Experience Olympia and Beyond, Thurston Economic Development Council STEDI program, the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce, Tenino Arts and other organizations.
Fundraise to pay for implementation of Creative District Signage with WSDOT
Establish a Tenino Creative District Mural Plan and Program
Establish a Tenino Creative District Metal Banners Program for Streetlights in downtown Tenino.
Conduct an analysis of existing and potential locations for space for Creatives to work and live
Participate in the development of the Economic Development Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan
Have fun and celebrates successes
We are excited about the future of the Tenino Creative District as we hopefully move out of survival mode during the COVID Pandemic. We have several new projects taking place in the area that will lead to more visitors and residents experiencing the Tenino Creative District. The new owners of the Kodiak Room venue, The Shiplap Quilt Shop and Coffee House, Tenino Young-At-Heart Theatre Building Development, Southwest Washington Agriculture and Innovation Park, new T-9-O Ranch Equestrian Center, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife development of 1,000+ acres of recreational opportunities. Those combined with dedicated and committed City Council, volunteers and organizations who support the Creative District, we are looking forward to continuing to grow our Creative Economy.