Who We Are

WESTAF weaves technology, diverse thought leadership, and innovation to energize, network, and fund public sector arts agencies and communities.

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) is a regional nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the West.

WESTAF assists state arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists in their quest to serve diverse audiences, enrich the lives of local communities, and provide access to the arts and arts education for all. Through innovative programming, advocacy, research, technology, and grantmaking, WESTAF encourages the creative advancement and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances.

Founded in 1974, WESTAF is governed by a 22-member board of trustees composed of arts leaders in the West and serves the largest constituent territory of the six U.S. regional arts organizations and includes Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

What We Do

  • WESTAF Supports Artists.

    Through arts funding, technology and services for the arts, WESTAF provides tools and resources for independent artists and arts organizations to build audiences, participate in the creative economy, and shape cultural policy.

  • WESTAF Represents Place.

    Through close collaboration with thirteen state arts agencies and the communities they serve, WESTAF represents the abundant multicultural perspectives of the western region.

  • WESTAF Amplifies Voices.

    Through funding, promotion, and advocacy, WESTAF helps rural, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists preserve traditions, strengthen programs, and find new audiences.

  • WESTAF Embraces Identity.

    Through programs, partnerships and its own equity, inclusion and anti-racism practices, WESTAF applies the belief that the arts are an expression of the unique identities of all people.

  • WESTAF Nurtures New Leaders.

    Through professional development, mentoring and networking, WESTAF supports the next generation of diverse arts leaders.

  • WESTAF Mobilizes Experts.

    Through convening thought leaders and conducting research, WESTAF addresses topics and trends and applies its learnings in the field.

  • WESTAF Impacts Policy.

    Through involving and inspiring regional and national legislators and business leaders, collaborating with advocates and aligning public perception, WESTAF promotes the stability and growth of resources for the arts.

  • WESTAF Channels Innovation.

    Through technology solutions, best practices and operational excellence, WESTAF develops and deploys technical services that support artists, arts agencies and communities.

  • WESTAF Defines Creative Vitality.

    Through technology, field research and economic analysis, WESTAF applies the belief that thriving creative sectors make better places to live, work and play.

  • WESTAF Leads by Example.

    Through its initiatives, partnerships and practices, WESTAF embraces change, learns from failure and measures success by the positive outcomes it creates.

What We Value

  • Be People-Forward and Social Justice-Minded

    Honor Ancestors and the Land. Show Commitment to Place.

  • Promote a Fun and Enjoyable Work Environment

    Be Joyful and Whimsical. Show Curiosity, and Encourage Laughter.

  • Lead with Integrity and Transparency

    Keep Ourselves Accountable.

  • Prioritize Humility and Courage

    Be Flexible and Challenge Norms.

  • Prioritize Innovation and Accessibility

    Foster Internal Creativity and Curiosity to Explore other Ways of Doing Things.

  • Center Equity

    Start with Leadership.

  • Foster Trust and Respect

    Share Power, Harness a Growth Mindset. Be Open to Inclusivity of People and Perspectives.

  • Foster Collaboration

    Bring Extra Chairs to the Table. Cocreate.

WESTAF Strategic Plan

WESTAF’s 10-year plan, formally rolled out in fall 2018, recognizes the central role technology now plays in WESTAF’s work and makes more explicit the dynamics that are in place to propel the organization and its key stakeholders to a higher level of success.

This plan was made possible by former WESTAF Chair Erin Graham. Graham also serves as the President and CEO of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The plan and planning process were developed in consultation with the design planning firm XPLANE of Portland, Oregon. Aric Wood, CEO of XPLANE, generously made himself and his staff available to help WESTAF leadership create a plan that is both easy to understand and motivating for those involved in the work of WESTAF.