The arts and cultural events publication OLY ARTS has a new owner.

The Thurston County-focused publication has signed a purchase agreement with its current associate publisher, Billy Thomas.

The equity-only transaction is worth $350,000, according to OLY ARTS. Thomas will take over daily operations this month.

“I am honored to take the helm for such a wonderful team,” said Thomas. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for this publication as we expand into new media ventures.”

Thomas’ previous roles include PR, marketing, and sales for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and community relations and advertising sales for The News Tribune and for The Olympian. He joined the OLY ARTS staff late last year.

OLY ARTS was founded in 2015 by Ned Hayes, a tech entrepreneur and former journalist.

“I am excited to transition our successful publication, growing audience, and supportive advertisers to Billy Thomas,” Hayes said. “Billy has been a fantastic partner and manager for the publication over the last year, and I am excited to have his energetic leadership as OLY ARTS moves into the future.”

Hayes grew OLY ARTS from a quarterly print journal to a publication printed seven times a year. During that time, the company expanded into online, mobile, and podcast outlets, and Hayes also helped to form partnerships with significant organizations like City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation, and others.

“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.”

Under Thomas’ guidance, OLY ARTS went from a newsprint publication to a bound glossy magazine with distribution reaching Thurston, Lewis, Mason, and Pierce counties.

When the acquisition is complete, Hayes will become president of Oly Works LLC, the publication’s parent company. He will remain a shareholder and an advisor, and has said he intends to keep writing and editing for OLY ARTS as well.


Thumbnail image courtesy OLY ARTS via Facebook.