The bedrock of our work is the understanding that creativity pays. Through job creation, tax revenue, business development, place-making, and tourism dollars, creative WV businesses such as Blenko and FiestaWare employ thousands of people, while promoting the best of our state – often externally.

As jobs in the creative industry rise nationally and internationally, it is essential that West Virginia remain competitive. Unfortunately, our challenges are well documented: Forbes ranked WV dead last as a place to conduct business in 2015 and the Americans for the Arts 2015 Creative Industries National Summary Report shows that we rank among the lowest percentages for art business per population.

Cultivating businesses that appear in almost every aspect of our lives – from textiles to consumer goods to graphic design – not only increase revenue and visibility for our state, but also contribute to the creation of places that people want to live, work, and start a family.

At the Tamarack Foundation, we work to advance and promote policy that better cultivates creative entrepreneurship. To accomplish these goals, we conduct and share research, advocate for policy-change, and work to inform elected officials, economic developers, and community leaders across the state about the importance of building creative enterprise through artist entrepreneurship. 

Issue Agenda

The following six pillars offer a framework for our policy action to raise awareness and bring credibility, support, and investment for West Virginia’s creative economy.

  • Creative Economy Development – Positioning the growth of this sector of our economy as a strategic asset to drive economic growth in total.
  • Creative Placemaking Efforts – Shaping policy that supports arts-centered community development efforts in order to spur economic development, revitalize neighborhoods, drive tourism, and strengthen community connectedness.
  • Small Business Support – Supporting legislation that positively affects small business owners.
  • Talent Retention and Attraction – Cultivating dynamic, creative culture in West Virginia’s communities that attracts, retains, and advances talent, particularly in the areas of creative enterprise and design entrepreneurship.
  • Promotion of the Value of Art and Artists – Positioning artists as economic drivers and championing the development of creative and entrepreneurial skills at all stages of life.
  • Investment in West Virginia’s Arts, Culture and Creative Assets – Supporting the work to build the state’s investment in West Virginia’s arts, culture, and creative assets, while identifying new avenues for growth and inclusion.

Get Involved

  • Sign up for our email list + follow us on social Facebook and Twitter
  • Join us at the capitol with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History for Arts Day 2017, February 15, 2017, 10 am – 1 pm (Upper Rotunda, Building 1, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, WV)
  • Inquire about the availability of our Executive Director for consulting and speaking engagements at [email protected]

Learn More

Want to know more about the creative economy in West Virginia?


Key partners in our work include:

  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Americans for the Arts
  • WV Department of Commerce
  • WV Small Business Development Centers
  • WV Division of Culture and History
  • WV Department of Tourism
  • Generation WV
  • Regional Economic Development Authorities
  • Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus
  • Local and Regional Arts Councils