Get to know Inspire Washington: Q&A with Manuel Cawaling

Get to know Inspire Washington: Q&A with Manuel Cawaling

Washington state has incredible organizations statewide that help bolster the creative economy by helping creatives thrive. The team at Whipsmart reached out to these organizations to better understand their particular programs and perspective on the creative economy.

Manny Cawaling Headshot

Manny Cawaling answers a few questions about Inspire Washington

What is your organization and what is its mission?

Inspire Washington nurtures the human spirit and strengthens communities by increasing access to science, heritage, and arts programming through advocacy, resource development, education, and coalition building.

What inspires the work of the organization?  

Our partners! All the creative people in every one of our 39 counties across the state. Cultural workers are dedicated Washingtonians who are serving their communities and improving the lives of people every day with their


What programs do you facilitate that support the creative economy?  

We have many educational, community, and professional development opportunities including:

·  Cultural Futures: A state-wide share and listening tour

·  Cultural Congress: WA’s conference for cultural workers

·  Tool kits: resources to help advocates meet with their lawmakers

·  Inspiration League: an online platform that allows advocates to send letters to their lawmakers

·  Coalition building: we are constantly connecting and bring together organizations to help our sector grow and thrive.

·  Webinars: We regularly host webinars and help sessions to answer questions and provide support for businesses

·  Arts, Heritage, and Science Day in Olympia: Along with our partners, we host a week of events and meeting with lawmakers in Olympia during the Legislative session


What is one of the organization’s recent biggest success stories?

The 2022 Legislative session was a huge win for Inspire WA and our dedicated partners and advocates. We were a part of the team that secured over $77 million for the cultural sector including funding for cultural businesses, Creative therapies for Veterans, the State Poet Laureate, ArtsWA’s constituent management system, Public art, Film Inventive, and the Wa Museum Connects program.


In one sentence, tell us why you think it’s important to support Washington’s creative economy?

Creativity is the backbone of new ideas and without creative people society will never grow, change, and improve.


What advice would you give to an emerging creative entrepreneur? 

Inspire WA envisions a state where creative people, in every community, may forge a comfortable life doing what they love. From making films, painting landscapes, touring with a music band, or writing and performing poetry; artists should not "starve" or "sacrifice" in their work, while other industries have figured out how to fuel prosperity through creativity. We encourage all artists to advocate for their work and for the needs of the creative sector. Don't let people push your issues aside because there are other civic priorities like housing and income equality. Artists need affordable places to live and work and we are tired of being undervalued and expected to work for free! Remind people that we aren't a distraction. In fact, we are the issue and the opportunity!


If an emerging creative entrepreneur is looking for inspiration, what would you suggest?

See more art. Create more art. Talk to more artists, especially from outside of your community. And ask these questions: what are you doing? Why does it matter? And, what will the impact be when the work is done? Creative people are activists, visionaries, and champions. Where you're in the middle of the work, it's hard to always see the deep value and impact. And this knowledge can be powerful inspiration. Talking to other artists, people like you, will also expand your imagination for what your work can be and how much more you can grow. 


How do people stay connected to your work?

We regularly send out newsletters and post on social media. We also love going to communities and meeting people in their town! Send us an email and we would love to visit you and see your creative work in action!


How to find you:


Social Media Handles

Instagram: @inspirewashington

Facebook: Inspire Washington - Opening doors to Science, Heritage, and the Arts

Twitter: @inspirewashing

you may also enjoy