Photo by Christina Bruning

Christina Bruning serves as the board president of the Downtown Issaquah Association (DIA), an organization bolstering the arts and creating community wide events in the city.

After working in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds in project manager and leadership roles, Bruning joined the DIA board with a mission to channel her expertise and passion into the organization and community.

For 26 years, the DIA has uplifted the local community by supporting businesses, the arts, and residents. Starting as an event-planning team, the group has transformed into a full-blown economic development organization. The DIA secures grants, showcases local art, creates a network of business resources, brings both local and international musicians to the stage, and hosts community events for the whole family.


Favorite Places

TO RELAX Explore local neighborhoods, trails, and visual art on display around town

FOR BREAKFAST OR TO GRAB A COFFEE It depends on where I pause when exploring neighborhoods. I always enjoy rotating the infinite beverage and food selections. I’m often drawn to Experience Tea because that’s my beverage of choice.

FOR DINNER Sea Town. The seafood is so fresh when it’s frozen that once it’s cooked, it tastes like the sea.

TO BE INSPIRED I’m most inspired by the people I meet in Issaquah. Inspiration Board

CURRENTLY READING I’m reading Christmas Knight by Pam Binder, a local Issaquah author and president of the Writer’s Cottage in Gilman Village. Although the author is local, the story is set in 15th-century Glastonbury, England, so I get my virtual escape.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO The Gas Station Blues Series, of course! What else? We’ve hosted nationally acclaimed musicians every Thursday from 7–9 p.m. at the historic Shell Station.

MANTRA YOU LIVE BY I have so many that I drive my friends and family crazy. First, for some serious pondering, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Second, “Challenges are really opportunities.” Finally, “No complaints without a solution.”

HOBBIES I never get tired of walking, hiking, cooking, and traveling.

Q&A

HOW DOES THE DIA’S TITLE AS A CREATIVE ARTS DISTRICT REFLECT THE CITY’S COMMITMENT TO THE ARTS? The state’s designation of Issaquah as a Creative Arts District is recognition that our city is rife with visual and performance artists who have made their mark throughout history. You’ve heard, “If you build it, they will come.” Well, our artists have built, painted, sculpted, and performed masterful work. Today, visitors and locals show their pleasure by frequenting our Artisan Market, ArtWalk, and Music Strolls during the weekend to enjoy live music, art demonstrations, and handson experience. Celebrating art is as natural as breathing in Downtown Issaquah.

HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED DOWNTOWN ISSAQUAH? Of course, COVID has touched everyone across the globe in horrific ways. What humbles me is how a small, close-knit community such as Issaquah doesn’t just survive, but thrives by bringing out the best in each other, helping neighbors, volunteering, and frequenting small businesses to keep them afloat during the direst times. That’s why I live, volunteer, shop, and dine here. It’s home in so many ways.

WHAT HAS BROUGHT YOU JOY RECENTLY? Exploring the world near and far with my husband Jeff. Most recently, a Mount Rainier hike. And, hearing Gail Baker’s inspiration for Warm Bright Day featured on the window of Bukhara Bar & Grill as part of DIA’s Art & Culture Program. Each day, someone makes my day with a story full of passion. This brings me joy!