Hello Cultural Partners!

My name is Jessi Wasson and I am the Programs and Operations Manager for Inspire Washington, your statewide advocacy organization for the cultural sector. We aim to lift up your vital science, heritage and arts programs and champion more financial resources as you tackle the tremendous challenge of reopening and sustaining your work during these turbulent times. 

This newsletter includes:

  1. An update of the extensive grassroots outreach work we have been doing with our Cultural Futures share and listening tour to get the word out about the upcoming Working Washington Grants: Round 5 which includes $45 million dollars for cultural businesses with budgets under $5 million and the grant for cultural institutions with budgets over $5 million for COVID-related expenses.
  2. New information we have received from the Dept of Commerce regarding the Working Washington 5 grant program since we began our Cultural Futures tour in Port Townsend.
  3. Info about a new grant opportunity for Festival and Events.

As we can all imagine, there are people and businesses who should know about these grants and may not be on anyone's email list or radar. We implore you to reach out to friends and colleagues in your network and ensure everyone knows about these incredible opportunities. We don't want to leave a single dollar on the table. Together, we can ensure every dollar is invested in Washinton's cultural future!

Thank you for all that you do for your community and I hope to see you on our tour.



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About Cultural Futures

Inspire Washington is on the road and heading to communities across the state with the Cultural Futures share and listening tour! They will break down the wins from Legislative Session and ensure you know how to claim funding for your cultural organization, business, or program. This is also an important time to prepare for next year’s Legislative Session and they want to hear from you! What do you need? How can the state support your work and community? How can you be more involved?

Since mid-May, Manny and Jessi have visited Port Townsend, Aberdeen, North Seattle, Richland, Bellingham, Olympia, Vancouver, and Everett. They have reached 270 people in-person and held two virtual sessions for 124 attendees; serving 270 unique businesses in total. 

In the next three weeks, they will be visiting the following locations - click to register!

Tieton on June 11

Wenatchee on June 12

Winthrop on June 13

Tacoma on June 14

Spokane on June 16

Central Seattle on June 21

Bellevue on June 28

Federal Way on June 29

They are also presenting virtually on June 21 and 22. 

What people are saying about Cultural Futures

  • I appreciate all your amazing work in support of the arts and great cultural initiatives! - Nina in Richland
  • Your presentation was flawless, you are a great team. Thank you for the information, I am spreading it to everyone I think may be able to apply. - John in Bellingham
  • I was loving the energy and vision of the meeting. - Wendy in Spokane
  • Thank you so much for meeting with us and for the info at REACH. I am very excited for all the opportunities you mentioned and grateful for your great work and passion! Thank you for coming out here and doing this tour. It is so nice to have met you and now know the faces behind Inspire WA. I really appreciate it. - Groover in Walla Walla
  • I want to thank Jessi and Manny so much for such a wonderful seminar at the Commons last Thursday. Very informative, and great to see so many organizations and artists in one place! - Jamie in Port Angeles

WW5 Updates since Port Townsend

The Dept of Commerce is regularly updating and adding new information about the Working Washington Round 5 grant. If you have attended one of our Cultural Futures events, here are a few updates we have received.

  • There will be no reporting requirements after receiving your grant
  • Minimum TOTAL revenue requirement: $10,000 in 2019 or 2020.

About Working WA Grant: Round 5

The Department of Commerce, working with ArtsWA, will award $45 million to businesses and organizations in the arts, heritage, and science sectors this summer. This includes those that operate live entertainment venues. Commerce will direct an additional $5 million to organizations with budgets over $5 million to cover Covid related expenses. Learn more at, and click here to sign up for email updates.

About Festival & Events Grant

Washington Festival and Events Association, in partnership with ArtsWA and the Washington State Department of Commerce, is now offering a Festival and Events Grant Program. It will award $3.5 million in grants. Awards range from $5,000 to $35,000. The program supports festivals and events that have been held for five or more years in communities of less than 100,000 residents. Learn more and apply at, and click here to sign up for email updates.

Meet your Inspire WA presenters,

Manny Cawaling and Jessi Wasson

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Executive Director

My name is Manny and I'm so honored to champion greater support for cultural programming on your behalf. As a child in Seattle, my sisters and I loved watching old movies with our dad and recreating our favorite scenes from musicals.

Over a long and colorful career, I have made community impact through theatre, arts education, heritage programming, and by leading organizations embedded in communities of color.

My family is spread throughout the state but lives primarily in King, Chelan, and Grant counties. I'm especially excited about Cultural Futures because I love road trips across our beautiful state. I'll likely bring my tent and bicycle along.

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Programs & Operations Manager

Hello! My name is Jessi and I grew up on Tiger Mountain, outside of Issaquah. As a kid, I spent most of my time doing theatre, raising Guide Dogs for the Blind, and playing outside.

My professional background is in stage management, non-profit fundraising, and community programming. I love to paddle board, run, Crossfit, bake bread, and enjoy live music!

My family is spread across our state including the beautiful Methow Valley and Walla Walla! I love visiting rural places and exploring our many landscapes! I am so excited to meet all of you and hear about the amazing cultural programs in your communities!


About Inspire Washington

Inspire Washington nurtures the human spirit and strengthens communities by increasing access to science, heritage, and arts programming through advocacy, resource development, education, and coalition building.

Inspire Washington

P.O. Box 806, Seattle, WA 98111

Manuel R. Cawaling, Executive Director

Jessi Wasson, Programs and Operations Manager

Madeline Dalton, Outreach Coordinator

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