For release: August 22, 2023
OLY ARTS, the eight-year-old multiplatform publication focused on arts and cultural events in the South Sound, is excited to announce a transition to non-profit status, with federal 501(c)(3) tax exemption and certification by the State of Washington. The publication will still be based in Olympia but will now expand coverage to Tacoma and surrounding areas.
“I am excited to transition OLY ARTS to a great new non-profit team,” said OLY ARTS founder Ned Hayes. “The newly formed board of directors of OLY ARTS brings deep experience in the arts and a true passion for arts promotion.” Leaders of the new Oly Arts non-profit are well-known arts writer Alec Clayton, online publication expert Gabi Clayton, creative director John Serembe, and renowned visual artist Lynette Charters Serembe. Founder Hayes serves on the Board of Directors for the new nonprofit.
“We are overjoyed to be able to build on the wonderful legacy of OLY ARTS and continue to deliver cutting edge arts coverage throughout our region,” said editor Alec Clayton. “We look forward to a long and meaningful future covering local theater, music, visual arts and all other art forms. We invite the community to join us in supporting this thriving publication!”
Olympia leaders welcomed this transition to non-profit status. “OLY ARTS has greatly enhanced the profile of our local arts and cultural assets, not only in Olympia but in the surrounding region as well,” said Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby. “I’m happy to see the publication continue to grow with this new management team.”
OLY ARTS has a storied history of generosity to the arts community. Technology entrepreneur and author Hayes founded Oly Arts in 2015, using royalties from his bestselling novel The Eagle Tree to fund the initial publication. In the early days, the publication launched online, mobile, and podcast media outlets, and created from scratch a regional audience of tens of thousands of readers for print and online versions of the publication. Hayes stepped back from day-to-day work with OLY ARTS with a move to Portland and transitioned the publication to media and marketing expert Billy Thomas. Thomas lifted OLY ARTS to new heights of engagement between 2018-2023.
Thomas and Hayes worked together to transition the publication to ownership by the new non-profit, also named OLY ARTS. In 2023, the new team brought out the first print versions since Covid-19: a special spring Arts Walk edition and a summer edition, both of which flew off the shelves into the hands of eager readers.
“I am excited to see what this new team can do with OLY ARTS – I’m glad the publication has a great future,” said Thomas. During his tenure, Thomas created the premium print OLY ARTS magazine, a format which is being continued on a quarterly basis by the new OLY ARTS non-profit team.
Today, OLY ARTS serves southern Washington as the leading publication for arts coverage throughout the South Sound and has been recognized as the premier journalistic publication by peers and arts organizations throughout the region. The Seattle Times worked with the OLY ARTS team for coverage of theater events in the South Sound. The Washington Post also worked with OLY ARTS for regional media assistance and worked closely with OLY ARTS to write a comprehensive travel guide article about regional attractions.
OLY ARTS plans to continue premium arts coverage under the auspices of their new non-profit, and plans to expand and grow both its print and digital formats.
For more information, please contact our team:
See this press release in PDF format here.