Chapter 43.46 RCW


Washington state arts commission establishedComposition.
CompensationTravel expensesOrganizationChairpersonRulesQuorum.
Executive directorEmployees.
Powers and duties generally.
Development of arts and humanities.
Gifts and grants.
Biennial report.
Poet laureate program.
Poet laureate account.
Commission as reflecting state's responsibilityAcquisition of works of art for public buildings and landsVisual arts program established.
State art collection.
Effective date1985 c 317.


The conservation and development of the state's artistic resources is essential to the social, educational, and economic growth of the state of Washington. Artists, works of art, and artistic institutions contribute to the quality of life and the general welfare of the citizens of the state, and are an appropriate matter of concern to the government of the state of Washington.

Washington state arts commission established—Composition.

There is established a Washington state arts commission. The commission consists of nineteen members appointed by the governor and four members of the legislature, one from each caucus in the senate and appointed by the president of the senate and one from each caucus in the house of representatives and appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives. The governor shall appoint citizens representing the various disciplines within the visual, performing and literary arts, and other citizens active in the arts community. The governor shall consider nominations for membership from individuals actively involved in cultural, state or community organizations. The governor shall also consider geographical distribution of the membership in the appointment of new members.


Members shall serve three year terms. A legislative member shall serve as long as he or she is a member of the legislative body from which he or she was appointed. Each member will continue to serve until a successor is appointed. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Compensation—Travel expenses—Organization—Chairperson—Rules—Quorum.

Members of the commission shall serve without compensation. However, nonlegislative members shall be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060 and legislative members shall be reimbursed as provided in RCW 44.04.120. The commission shall organize, elect a chairperson annually, and adopt rules pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW. A majority of its members constitute a quorum. Any action as defined in RCW 42.30.020(3) shall be taken only at a meeting at which a quorum is present.

Executive director—Employees.

The governor shall select a full time executive director from a list of three names submitted by the commission by September 1, 1988, and anytime thereafter that a vacancy occurs. The executive director shall receive no other salary and shall not be otherwise gainfully employed. Subject to the provisions of chapter 41.06 RCW, the executive director may also employ such clerical and other assistants as may be reasonably required to carry out commission functions. The executive director shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.

Powers and duties generally.

The commission shall meet, study, plan, and advise the governor, the various departments of the state and the state legislature and shall make such recommendations as it deems proper for the cultural development of the state of Washington.

Development of arts and humanities.

The commission may develop, sponsor, promote and administer any activity, project, or program within or without this state which is related to the growth and development of the arts and humanities in the state of Washington and may assist any person or public or private agency to this end.

Gifts and grants.

The commission may accept gifts and grants upon such terms as the commission shall deem proper.

Biennial report.

The commission shall make a biennial report of its proceedings and recommendations to the governor, which shall contain a full description of program and project activity, including fund sources and expenditures for the biennium covered by the report.

Poet laureate program.

(1) The Washington state arts commission shall establish and administer the poet laureate program. The poet laureate shall engage in activities to promote and encourage poetry within the state, including but not limited to readings, workshops, lectures, or presentations for Washington educational institutions and communities in geographically diverse areas over a two-year term.
(2) Selection of a poet laureate shall be made by a committee appointed and coordinated by the commission. The committee may include representatives of the Washington state library, the education community, the Washington commission for the humanities, publishing, and the community of Washington poets.
(3) The commission and the committee shall establish criteria to be used for the selection of a poet laureate. In addition to other criteria established, the poet laureate must be a published poet, a resident of Washington state, active in the poetry community, and willing and able to promote poetry in the state of Washington throughout the two-year term.
(4) The recommendation of the poet laureate selection committee shall be forwarded to the commission, which shall appoint the poet laureate with the approval of the governor.
(5) The poet laureate shall receive compensation at a level determined by the commission. Travel expenses shall be provided in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.
(6) The poet laureate may not serve more than two consecutive two-year terms.
(7) The commission shall fund the poet laureate program through gifts, grants, or endowments from public or private sources that are made from time to time, in trust or otherwise.
Findings2007 c 128: "The legislature wishes to recognize: (1) The value of poetry and the contribution Washington poets make to the culture of our state; (2) that poetry is a literary form respected and growing throughout all segments of Washington's population; (3) that awareness and appreciation of poetry encourages increased literacy and advanced communication skills; and (4) that Washington state has produced many excellent and nationally recognized poets." [ 2007 c 128 § 1.]

Poet laureate account.

The poet laureate account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts from gifts, grants, or endowments from public or private sources must be deposited into the account. Expenditures from the account may only be used for the poet laureate program. Only the executive director of the commission or the executive director's designee may authorize expenditures from the account. The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but an appropriation is not required for expenditures.
Findings2007 c 128: See note following RCW 43.46.081.

Commission as reflecting state's responsibility—Acquisition of works of art for public buildings and lands—Visual arts program established.

The legislature recognizes this state's responsibility to foster culture and the arts and its interest in the viable development of the state's artists by the establishment of the Washington state arts commission. The legislature declares it to be a policy of this state that a portion of appropriations for capital expenditures be set aside for the acquisition of works of art to be placed in public buildings or lands. There is hereby established a visual arts program to be administered by the Washington state arts commission.
Severability1983 c 204: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1983 c 204 § 11.]
Allocation of moneys for acquisition of works of artExpenditure by arts commissionConditions: RCW 43.17.200.
Colleges and universities, purchases of works of artProcedure: RCW 28B.10.025.
Purchase of works of artProcedure: RCW 43.19.455.
School districts, purchases of works of artProcedure: RCW 28A.335.210.

State art collection.

All works of art purchased and commissioned under the visual arts program shall become a part of a state art collection developed, administered, and operated by the Washington state arts commission. All works of art previously purchased or commissioned under RCW 43.46.090, 43.17.200, 43.19.455, 28B.10.025, or 28A.335.210 shall be considered a part of the state art collection to be administered by the Washington state arts commission.
PurposeStatutory referencesSeverability1990 c 33: See RCW 28A.900.100 through 28A.900.102.
Severability1983 c 204: See note following RCW 43.46.090.

Effective date—1985 c 317.

This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect June 30, 1985.
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