Celebrating the Western Imagination through the Arts
WESTAF–The Western States Arts Federation–is a regional nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to the creative advancement and preservation of the arts. The organization’s mission is to strengthen the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the West. WESTAF encourages the creative development and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of clients and alliances by providing innovative programing, technology, advocacy, grantmaking and other services.
Founded in 1974, WESTAF is located in Denver and governed by a 22-member board of trustees comprised of arts leaders in the West. The organization serves the largest constituent territory of the six U.S. regional arts organizations that includes the state arts agencies, artists, and arts organizations of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
WESTAF regularly convenes experts and leaders to address critical issues affecting arts and culture. In 2008, WESTAF held a seminar on cultural taxing districts in Seattle, Washington, followed by a symposium on economic development and the creative economy in San Diego, California. In 2009, WESTAF convened a symposium on new arguments for the arts in Aspen, Colorado, at the Aspen Institute. In 2010, WESTAF convened a symposium of leaders in the art fair field about the status of the field today during the second annual ZAPP® Conference,which it also organized. In 2011, the organization convened a symposium of leaders in the art fair field around new trends in that field. In 2012, WESTAF convened its 14th annual cultural policy symposium, Engaging Data: Arts and Culture Research in the Digital Age. That forum brought together scholars and practitioners for a lively discussion of innovative ways to manage, analyze and present data. The symposium included national and international level researchers and policy analysts. In addition, WESTAF's multicultural advisory committee, established in 2000, met in 2012 to provide inspiration and guidance for the organization’s commitment to multicultural policies and values.
WESTAF is an experienced developer of technology systems that benefit the arts and creative industries. Learn more about WESTAF's eight distinct offerings by visiting our Technology page.
As a progressive and evolving organization, WESTAF initiates new programs and projects regularly and is proud to have artists, musicians, and arts administrators on staff. WESTAF remains committed to the improvement of the the capacity and quality of public funding of the arts by the state arts agencies of the West. Position papers, advisory research, and professional development services are regularly provided to these agencies. WESTAF is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.