Placemaking Micro Grant Application

The goal of the Placemaking Micro-Grant program is to provide seasonal opportunities for businesses to activate their spaces in a meaningful way that will positively affect the community. 

What is placemaking? Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. To strengthen the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm 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 projects like cleaning awnings, installing/refreshing flower boxes, lighting, painting 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 Olympia Downtown Alliance Design, Promotions committees and staff members 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 the applicant and 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? 

Grant Award:

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: 

  1. Operate a street-level business within the Downtown Olympia business core.
  2. Produce space activation(s) in July, August and/or September 2023. 
  3. Submit either a project schematic or an in-depth description of the project/event concept. For physical space applications, please also include 1-2 photos of the project before improvement. 
  4. 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 and provide the Rights to Use for Olympia Downtown Alliance marketing efforts.

Please Note:

  • All are welcome to apply. The committee gives preference to applicants not previously awarded Placemaking Micro Grant (PMG) funds. 
  • Regular paid employee time is not eligible for reimbursement.



  • May 12 Applications Open
  • June 9 Applications Due
  • June 16 Selections Made. Applicants notified.
  • July 1—September 1 Project Implementation

For more information, please contact Project Manager Desiree Freeland, or 360.507.8598

  • *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.