Arts First Mission:

Inspiring youth and adults to demonstrate civic and cultural engagement through Film, Literature, Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Music, and Dance.

Arts First is an Arts & Culture 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization.  All donations are tax-deductible.


The Arts First Create Films Summer Film program was founded in 2019 with the generous fiscal sponsorship of local non-profits and funding from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. The program earned the honor of participating in the Extended Learning Opportunity pilot project with the YMCA and Tacoma Create in both 2019 and 2020. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department sponsored the filmmaking program, providing complimentary filmmaking courses for youths and encouraging them to produce insightful youth-inspired Covid-19 public announcement videos.

In the following year, Schools Out Washington proudly sponsored the 2022 Summer Film Camp, hosted at the Eastside Community Center, while the Create Film program partnered with Greentrik to establish an engaging filmmaking club at Hunt and Stewart Middle School. To accentuate the importance of art education, Arts First took the initiative to incorporate as a non-profit organization in Washington State and received 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization status from the IRS in 2022.

Currently, Arts First offers several exceptional programs, including after-school filmmaking programs at local middle schools, weekly filmmaking classes at the Eastside Community Center, a yearly 5-week summer filmmaking camp, and a dance program at local middle schools.

AF Dance Program Vision: To inspire people to engage in dance by providing free and affordable classes, mentorship opportunities, and access to dance performances.

AF Create Films Program Vision: To educate and inspire youth through the Fine Art of film-making with free film classes, internships, and mentorship programs.


Thuch Mam – Board President
Thuch is an experienced strategic advisor who has worked in the Seattle Mayor’s office and the Seattle Public Utilities Department. In the Mayor’s office, she managed the office’s policy review process and developed a robust summer internship program. At Seattle Public Utilities, she developed and administered the sponsorship program and the summer internship program, managed the general manager’s calendar, and provided support for the design and innovation lab and policy board. Additionally, she analyzed quarterly strategic business plan responses and developed a quarterly performance report for various stakeholders. Currently, she holds the position of Board President at Arts First.

Richard Myers – Vice President
Richard is a legal professional with a specialization in employee and tenant rights. He possesses a robust background in politics and public policy in Washington State, having served as an aide to a labor leader in the state house of representatives, managed a successful legislative campaign, and worked as a lobbyist. His wealth of experience in these areas has equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the legal and legislative frameworks that underpin employment and tenancy matters. Currently, he holds the position of Board Member at Arts First.

Jeremy Winans – Board Secretary
Jeremy Winans earned a B.A. at The Evergreen State College, with an emphasis in Performing Arts. Since then he has worked mostly in landscaping and plant nursery trades, and he is passionate about growing food and the outdoors. He enjoys small-venue live performances, especially theater, music, and storytelling. Jeremy is a father of two elementary school-aged children, and he wants to support increased opportunities for creative expression for young people.

John Tam – Board Treasurer
John is a retired VP of Engineering with a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington. He has worked in various contract engineering roles for Boeing, Audi, Gulfstream Aerospace, and Alcoa Technical Center. John is an active volunteer and board member with several organizations including Snohomish County Superior Court Guardian Monitoring Program, AARP Tax-Aide, Habitat for Humanity, Washington State Parks Services, Homage, The Compassionate Friends, and more. Currently, he holds the position of Board Treasurer at Arts First.

Chhay Mam – Arts First Artistic Director and Instructor

Chhay is a multi-talented Cambodian American individual with a diverse background in teaching, dancing, and filmmaking. Over the years, he has been able to use his skills and experience to inspire and mentor countless young people, helping them to discover their passions and realize their dreams. He developed the curriculum for summer filmmaking camp, after-school filmmaking club, and beginning ballet classes. He will act as Arts First program director and lead instructor.