Aberdeen creative district gets city recognition

In order to promote local arts, music and other creative endeavors, Aberdeen could soon join a small group of Washington cities recognized by the state as having an official creative district. Last Wednesday, the Aberdeen City Council approved a resolution for the city to affiliate itself with the new creative district, which is now being called the Aberdeen Art and Music Community.

It was an important second step, according to Wil Russoul, director of the Downtown Aberdeen Association, who said getting city recognition makes it much more likely for the state to certify the district. So far Edmonds, Olympia and Chewelah are the only three cities to get state recognition as a creative district.

The city also approved a diagram showing the boundaries of the district, since all Washington creative districts have to be considered walkable. It takes up pretty much the entire downtown core of Aberdeen, but the boundaries can be amended. For example, the Driftwood Theatre is currently outside the creative district, but the district’s committee would like to add it in.

There are a few different ways state certified creative districts benefit communities. It allows for the state to place signs along the highway recognizing Aberdeen as a creative district, provides access to partnerships and grants, and networking opportunities to promote art, music and other creative endeavors in town.

“Our key is to say to the rest of the world, ‘Washington is number two in the country for arts, and Aberdeen embraces that, and has a community of art, so come see it,’” said Russoul.

The steering committee for the creative district is underneath the umbrella of the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, which is doing business as the Downtown Aberdeen Association.

Now, Russoul and his staff are reaching out to partner with as many creative branches of the district as possible, ranging from visual artists, to businesses that want to add art to their offices, to local events and more. Russoul said anyone interested in volunteering can email him at director@downtownaberdeen.com.

He emphasized that the district will be very inclusive, and isn’t just for musicians and artists.

The district’s next task is to submit an application to the state for certification, which the group expects to complete in the next several months.

To learn more about the district, you can visit the Facebook page Aberdeen’s Creative Districts 98520, or check out local art in town at www.aberdeenartandmusic.com.