City of Newcastle
The City of Newcastle and Community Activities Commission hope to create a centralized vision, focus, and actionable plan for using arts and culture to promote Newcastle.
Earlier this year, the City of Newcastle embarked on an exciting journey to develop an arts and culture plan with the help of respected consultant Claudia Bach. Thanks to the generous support of 4Culture’s Creative Consultancies Program, at the end of this process, Newcastle will be equipped with an actionable plan and vision that focuses on how we can use arts and culture to promote our community and bring people together. The City, our volunteer Community Activities Commission (CAC) and the Newcastle Arts Council recognize that promoting arts and culture is an important part of creating a special place for our residents.
Phase two in particular will touch on subjects not explored during the first phase. This includes, but is not limited to, an inventory of existing arts and culture programs in the City and implementation strategies for new cultural programming as well as possibly as a new element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
The end result of this effort will be a plan that all stakeholders can embrace and rally behind in future activities for the City. We are anticipating there will be periodic updates on the project provided to City officials throughout the duration of the project. Even though there is a great desire to promote arts and culture in Newcastle by every stakeholder organization, it has just recently become a focus for the City.
The project will focus on how we can use arts and culture to promote the City and help to create a special place for our citizens and for our community members. We see the promotion of arts and culture as a way to bring people to Newcastle and ultimately a way to provide economic growth for the city. With a significant amount of growth happening right now in Newcastle and planned for the future, this is the right time to make sure that the promotion of arts and culture is an important component of that growth plan.
Newcastle is a diverse community on the east shores of Lake Washington bordered by its larger neighbors of Bellevue to the north, Renton to the south and Issaquah to the east. The City of Newcastle, incorporated in 1994, is a relatively young community. However, it has a very rich history as a coal mining region and economic hub of the area. Newcastle’s 12,400 residents are diverse in their ethnic backgrounds, family makeups, economic status and, of course, their interests.
Newcastle has its roots in the coal mining industry. During the late 1800s Newcastle, along with the town of Coal Creek, were the second largest communities in King County. As the County’s earliest sizable industry, Newcastle coal mining caused Seattle to grow from a small village in the 1860s to a major port city in the 1880s. Coal miners and prospectors worked the mine in the area from 1863 to 1963, removing nearly 1 million tons of coal, as well as 4 million tons of waste rock. The coal industry is a significant part of the history of Newcastle that is appreciated and embraced by its residents.
Newcastle has seen significant growth in population for the last decade with an increase in both single family and multifamily development projects. The population is quite diverse with nearly 30 percent of the residents with Asian descent. Most of the economic benefit received by the City comes from development projects and revenue received from businesses in a small, but thriving downtown retail corridor. The City has many parks and a well-established and utilized trail system.
Newcastle has several established independent community organizations all supporting the City’s culture in one way or another. These groups include the Newcastle Historical Society, Newcastle Trails, the Friends of the Newcastle Library, and the Newcastle Arts Council. This project will involve collaboration with all of these organizations, with the arts and culture plan addressing the needs of them all. The consultant will also need to work with private property and business owners and a number of City departments with the backing of the Community Activities Commission. The CAC is ultimately responsible for community events and the parks system in Newcastle.