The idea of a creative district had been discussed in Burien for more than ten years before it became a reality. The following is a brief history of the most recent work leading up to official certification by the Washington State Arts Commission.
The Burien Creative District Planning Committee was formed under the auspices of the Southside Chamber of Commerce in May of 2019 after requests from members and approval from the Board of Directors with the desire to work in collaboration and strategic partnership with arts organizations, businesses, and community stakeholders to research and potentially create an established state-designated Cultural District in the City of Burien.
The Planning Committee met monthly starting in May of 2019. Each Planning Committee meeting was attended by approximately 10-12 members.
The Planning Committee hosted several community outreach events and engagements, including an open house at the Highline Heritage Museum in 2019, a booth at the Farmers Market in 2020, and a virtual visioning session in February of 2021. The Committee also conducted two surveys, one in 2019 and one in 2021. A website was created along with a Facebook page and group. One-on-one meetings were conducted with community members and representatives of organizations and businesses.
The Planning Committee also created sub-committees to focus on specific work objectives. The Civic subcommittee was formed to work on capital projects and potential development work. The Buzz subcommittee was formed to work on a community outreach and engagement strategy and the Vision subcommittee was formed to work on the strategic plan for the district.
In 2021 the Steering Committee was formed as a way to cultivate wider community engagement and to help the Planning Committee finalize the plan for the Creative District. The Steering Committee met every other month in 2021 and 2022. Approximately 15-20 Individuals attended and participated in each meeting.
Each individual member of both the Planning and Steering Committees also worked independently on particular aspects of research, outreach, or development. The committee estimates that more than 3000 hours of work by staff and volunteers were dedicated to the Burien Creative District project prior to submission of the application.
In July of 2022 the formal application was prepared and submitted to ArtsWA. After evaluation, feedback, and a revision to the originally proposed map, the Creative District designation was awarded to Burien in August 2022.