The Placemaking Micro Grant Program is made possible by funding from the Olympia Downtown Alliance. The goal of the program is to provide seasonal opportunities for businesses to activate their spaces in a meaningful way that will have a positive effect on the community.
What is placemaking? Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.
The program provides micro grants to qualifying downtown businesses. Grants are defined in two categories.
- Physical space improvement includes façade refreshing, and can comprise of projects like cleaning awnings, installing/refreshing flower boxes, lighting, paint and *signage on windows or doors.
- Event space activation can include musical performances, DJs, temporary art installations, or other creative experiences within your space, **sidewalk or alleyway.
Applications will be vetted by members of the Olympia Downtown Alliance Design, Promotions committees and staff using the following criteria to evaluate each application. Preference will be given to applications where activation meets more than one criterion.
- Cultural Community Support - How well does the activation provide a rich cultural experience. Does this project add to the attractiveness of the downtown?
- Impact on Activation Site - How impactful is the activation to not only the applicant, but nearby businesses. Does this project enhance the site?
- Diversity of Activation - How well does the activation incorporate diversity and inclusion in activation and audience. Does this project attract more people to downtown?
- Investment Ratio - Does the applicant also plan to invest in the activation?
Eligible businesses will receive reimbursement up to $500. Funds will be awarded when documentation of project is complete or 30 days post event date. Businesses can apply once per seasonal opportunity.
To be eligible to receive a 2023 Placemaking micro grant, applicants must agree to the following:
- Operate a street level business within the Downtown Olympia business core.
- Produce space activation(s) in July, August and/or September 2023.
- Submit either a project schematic or in-depth description of the project/event concept. For physical space applications, please also include 1-2 photos of the project before improvement.
- During the activation or post improvement: capture 3-5 photos and tag the Alliance on social media using Instagram (@downtownolympia) and Facebook (@Olympia Downtown Alliance) – OR - Businesses must email 1-3 high quality photos to @email@example.com and provide the Rights to Use for Olympia Downtown Alliance marketing efforts.
- All are welcome to apply. Preference given to applicants who had not previously been awarded Placemaking Micro Grant (PMG) funds.
- Regular paid employee time is not eligible for reimbursement.
- May 5 Applications Open
- June 2 Applications Due
- June 9 Selections Made
- July 1—September 1 Project Implementation
- October 6 Applications Open
- November 3 Applications Due
- November 10 Selections Made
- December 1 through February 2 Project Implementation
For more information, please contact the Olympia Downtown Alliance, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.357.8948.
- *Please refer to the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development department for detailed information about signage within the downtown. Community Planning and Development can be reached at 360.753.8317.
- **Additional permits or licenses may be necessary. Please contact the city of Olympia for more information on how to apply. Click here for more information.