Port of South Whidbey agrees to join Creative District effort

Langley is inching closer to becoming certifiably creative.

Eight organizations have come together to form the organization Langley Creates and eventually submit an application to become a state-certified Creative District. Tuesday evening, the Port of South Whidbey agreed to become a stakeholder in the effort.

The port, as the owner of the fairgrounds, was the final organization Langley Creates hoped would join before it completed its final push to apply.

The idea of the Creative District is to promote economic development and create a place focused on creative industries. In a port workshop last week, members of Langley Creates spoke to commissioners about the fairgrounds’ potential role in the district.

“It’s not just about the art, it’s about the local culture,” Inge Morascini of Langley Creates told commissioners.

And the fairgrounds are an important aspect of South Whidbey’s culture, she said.

The designation is meant to open up opportunities for grants that might not have been available before. If certified, the state would provide a $5,000 grant and guidance to get new districts started.

Morascini said the district hopes to increase community interaction and the number of visitors at the fairgrounds with the port as a stakeholder. The port joins the Langley Art Council, Chamber of Commerce, Readiness to Learn, South Whidbey School District with the community center, Island Shakespeare Festival, Island Dance Theater and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. WICA has agreed to handle administrative tasks and reporting to the city, state and involved entities.

The Goosefoot recently awarded Langley Creates its first grant for $4,000 to help get the group going and cover administrative costs, Morascini said.

The collective hopes to turn in its extensive application materials “as quickly as possible,” Morascini said. However, with the port just coming on as a new member, it’s important to ensure each organization at the table is comfortable with the goals and budget before moving forward, she said.

Port commissioners Curt Gordon and Jack Ng had originally showed some hesitance and uncertainty about signing on. At the meeting Tuesday, they expressed that they felt the process was being rushed and they wanted to know more information before agreeing to be a partner.

Although, both said they thought the designation would be beneficial to the fairgrounds and to Langley.

“I think this thing is going to work,” Gordon said.

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