The school was founded in 2013 and is a 501c3 tax exempt non-profit.

You can help support the of work building a strong arts, culture and heritage community by making a donation.  Our supporters enable us to build a solid foundation for growth and become the Northwest’s premier folk craft and cultural destination!

Be a Hero! Donate to Support Arbutus!

Please consider make a reoccurring monthly donation!  Regular contributions are invaluable for the sustainability of our organization!

  • Donate online by clicking the big yellow DONATE button on this page
  • Mail a check to Arbutus Folk School, 120 State Ave NE #298, Olympia, WA 98501
  • Click here for info on contributing to our 5th Anniversary Mosaic Mural Project!

Our Federal Tax ID is 46-3046450.

Contributions to Arbutus will support:

  • purchasing tools and equipment
  • infrastructure needs such as HVAC, upgrading/expanding power outlets, improve lighting, plumbing,
  • improve our tech support and staffing for creating and administering programs, events and activities
  • funding our tuition assistance program
  • last but not least, your chance to contribute to the kind of activities you value taking place in your community!

The Arbutus Folk School was founded in 2013 with a mission to “enrich lives and build community through joyful hands-on learning with master artisans.” We are located in a 4,000 SF historic building in downtown Olympia and have core programs in Wood Arts, Metal Smithing, Fiber Arts, Ceramics, Music, Stonecarving and more!

We have employed over 60 instructors and enrolled thousands of students.  Many thousands of people attend our open house demonstrations, concerts and events.

We use and sell certified-sustainably harvested lumber from Thurston, Mason, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties, all from small family tree farms. We have many community partners, including Kokua Services, a non-profit that provides support to citizens with disabilities, to offer Hummingbird Studios, an inclusive community art education workshop.

Arbutus was founded to promote the Pacific Northwest’s regional craft identity and strengthen the local craft economy. We believe (and other folk schools around the country have shown) there is a significant ecologically and socially sustainable economic development opportunity by promoting craft tourism.

A quick review of the press we have received in our short life span is impressive, and includes articles in American Craft Magazine, Seattle Weekly, The Olympian, Thurstontalk, The Seattle Times, Olympia Power and Light, The Spokesman Review, The Columbian, and KOMO news. We were also featured in a listing in and in, which included Arbutus as one of 25 inspiring folk schools rooted in traditional know-how across North America. A recent Scandinavian Knife Making class even had a listing on a Swedish web site!

Our email list is read all around the world and people have traveled across the U.S to attend our classes.  We are truly a unique place!