OLY ARTS is the south sound’s premier multi-platform arts publication. We are dedicated to coverage of the amazing theater, arts and culture our community has created. We deliver information about arts and culture in the South Sound in multiple mediums: in a bi-monthly PRINT edition, in up-to-date ONLINE content, in PODCASTS and via MOBILE apps.

OLY ARTS is a guide to local arts and culture, from the drama of Capital Lakefair to the eclectic beauty of the Procession of the Species and semiannual Olympia Arts Walk. Whether you were born here or are visiting for the day, OLY ARTS is your expert guide to the Olympia area.


  • Washingtonians go to live events: In Washington state, a significantly greater percentage of the population than the national average attends live performances – 44%-52%
    (U.S. average is only 37.4%)
  • Washingtonians like music: Classical music attendance rate in Washington, 13.9%, is also much higher than the national rate.
  • Washington reads: Nearly 63% of adults in Washington read literature (poetry, plays, novels). (U.S. average rate is only 47%)
  • Americans love the arts: More than half (54%) of all American adults attended at least one live music, theater, dance event or art exhibit, last year alone. 120 million people enjoyed the arts.
  • Arts and culture contribute: the arts deliver more than $698 billion to the U.S. economy, or 4.32% to the U.S. GDP, more than construction ($586.7B) or transport/warehousing ($464.1B).
  • Arts have social impact: Research demonstrates that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement and child welfare, plus lower crime and poverty.
  • Arts and cultural spending have a ripple effect on the overall economy, boosting commodities, jobs and the local economy.  For example, for every 100 jobs created from new demand for the arts, 62 non-arts jobs are created.

SOURCES: NEA REPORT 2015 “States of Engagement: Arts Participation by U.S. Geography.”
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Our print edition is hand-delivered by arts aficionados to local theater and concert patrons, while our weekly online and podcast updates are curated and customized to your interests.

For advertisers and partners, OLY ARTS provides unique access to a highly-valued demographic of South Sound audiences and patrons.


OLY ARTS is published by OlyWorks LLC. Publisher and Executive Editor Billy Thomas ( acquired the publication in 2018 from Olympia arts booster Ned Hayes, our founder (

Our freelance writing staff is a locally based team of arts and culture experts with deep roots in the South Sound. Our team includes a former New York Times reporter, as well as freelance writers for the Bellingham Herald, The News Tribune, The Olympian, The Pasadena Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Thurston Talk, and a variety of other publications.

Contact any member of our writing staff at

History of Publication


In July of 2019, OLY ARTS launched a redesigned website. The new site was designed by graphic design team Themematic. The collaborative process focused on large, interactive elements and high focus on content.

The relaunched OLY ARTS website included significant user experience enhancements, including a modern look, greater ease of navigation and better accessibility for all types of readers. As online publications matured and readers’ expectations changed, professional publications gradually moved to a magazine-style online presence. This style emphasizes negative space, more visual photography, and more creative font choices, along with reflowing content that rapidly adapts to mobile reading. OLY ARTS accelerated ahead in embracing these significant online design trends with this relaunch.

The site redesign was the natural evolution in the publication’s next stage of growth as an artistic platform for the arts. As the region’s leading mutli-platform arts publication, it was the right chance to put a greater focus on design and content.

The relaunched website was praised by readers and community leaders, including Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby.


OLY ARTS was acquired in 2018, in an equity-only deal, by local media expert Billy Thomas, formerly of The Olympian, The News Tribune and The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Thomas became publisher and executive editor in Fall 2018. Founding Publisher Ned Hayes and editor emeritus Christian Carvajal remained with the team as contributors. Between 2016-2018, our first two years benefited from the creative diligence and design expertise of Olympia’s own Adam Blodgett at PixelSmith Design. In late summer 2018, OLY ARTS moved to a glossy full magazine format, and began to lead the regional market in the creation of arts program guides throughout the South Sound, under Thomas’ capable leadership.

During Spring Arts Walk 2018, OLY ARTS online traffic exceeded all previous records.  Our online reach grew throughout the Puget Sound region. Traffic included readers from the entire Cascade region, including Seattle, Vancouver and Portland.

OLY ARTS is now distributed throughout five counties in Western Washington, including Thurston, Lewis and Pierce counties and is the premier arts publication in the south Puget Sound region.


OLY ARTS expanded coverage to broader portions of Thurston County and also covered events in Lewis and Pierce counties. Our publication covered arts and cultural events in Tacoma, Centralia, Yelm and beyond. Our publication was distributed throughout Thurston, Pierce and Lewis counties and received accolades from readers throughout the Puget Sound region.

Our organic subscription base grew as OLY ARTS continued to launch new formats, delivering a new set of podcasts and a weekly e-newsletter. OLY ARTS also delivered a new set of mobile applications, tailor-made for arts and culture readers.

OLY ARTS became the official program guide for the Oly Old Time Festival and delivered a special edition to the thousands of attendees at this annual event. OLY ARTS also delivered our second Capital City Pride edition.

OLY ARTS partnered closely with the City of Lacey, as well as the Olympia Arts Commission and the City of Olympia. Our distribution team now delivers both the official Arts Commission Guide to Arts Walk as well as our own printed comprehensive guide to the events.


OLY ARTS online and print editions launched simultaneously in the summer of 2016, led by Northwest arts booster Ned Hayes as publisher and Olympia writer Christian Carvajal as managing editor. Our first print issue featured an elegant custom layout by noted Northwest graphic designer Dorothy Wong (now a senior designer at Starbucks in Seattle). OLY ARTS immediately earned enormous interest and highly positive reviews from readers throughout the South Sound and was distributed by hand throughout Thurston County.

Our next editions featured Fall Arts Walk, a complete Nutcracker Guide, the Oly Old Time music Festival guide and guides to Spring Arts Walk and Procession of the Species. Subsequent editions throughout 2016-2017 covered Olympia winter events and arts activities and emphasized thorough coverage of the theater, visual arts and dance scenes throughout Thurston County.

OLY ARTS delivered well-received printed guides to Lacey In Tune Music series, Music in the Park, along with a series of online photo essays that documented the experience of the Procession of the Species. 

OLY ARTS became the official print media sponsor for the Olympia Arts Walk.

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