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.

The Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy (AAP) division connects, coordinates, and mobilizes a western and national network of artists, administrators, public officials, and influencers within and outside the arts field to build awareness of arts-related issues to drive legislation and policy. In this capacity, the team leads a variety of efforts, including conducting arts policy research, delivering professional development programs for state arts agencies, advancing and supporting the work of arts advocates, and convening thought leaders in the field. The team also develops mutually beneficial relationships with organizations and individuals across the sector and manages WESTAF’s external relations, including our engagement with public sector agencies and philanthropy.

Latest AAP News and Resources

This page is updated monthly, so be sure to check back often to stay up-to-date on the latest alliances, advocacy and policy news!

2023 Arts Leadership and Advocacy Virtual and In-Person Programs Conclude

The 2023 Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar programming took place this month featuring an online pre-session on February 7th and a fly-in advocacy day to Washington D.C. February 13-15. Virtual panelists included Michelle Ramos, BIPOC-Led Arts Advocacy Coalition; Claire Rice, Creative States Coalition; Ernesto Balderas, Creative States Coalition; Heather Noonan, Cultural Advocacy Group; and Najean Lee, Cultural Advocacy Group. The fly-in to Washington D.C. welcomed 71 advocates from 13 states and Guam. Advocates spoke to over 50 Congressional offices and highlighted priority issues in their local arts and cultural communities as well as broader coalition requests led by WESTAF. Speakers in Washington D.C. included Shelly Lowe, Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities; Julie Baker and Manny Cawaling, Co-Chairs, Western Arts Advocacy Network; Pam Breaux, President and CEO, NASAA; Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs, Americans for the Arts & Executive Director, Americans for the Arts Action Fund; Ben Kessler, Director of Congressional Affairs, NEA; and Alison Share, Director of Congressional Affairs, NEH.

Performing Arts Discovery Program

Performing Arts Discovery Showcase Receives over 160 Applications

The Performing Arts Discovery Showcase, the Endowment-supported strand of the Performing Arts Discovery (PAD) program, has received 164 applications from artists representing all regions of the country. Fifty-six percent of applicants identified their primary discipline as music; other disciplines included dance (18%), multidisciplinary (16%), and theater (8%). A national panel of eight performing arts professionals will begin two rounds of review with selected artists to be announced in March.

Creative Vitality Summit Logo

The Creative Vitality™ Summit Concludes

WESTAF’s second Creative Vitality™ Summit concluded on December 2, 2022, after rich and lively discussions across five community-led panels. The Summit brought together speakers from various backgrounds to discuss intersections between the creative economy and technological and social change. Thank you to all of our panelists, facilitators, speakers, as well as the 400 attendees who joined us virtually this year. To learn more about this year’s Summit, visit the event website.

WESTAF's Regional Partner Handbook Cover - blue watercolor background with the WESTAF logo and a dancer in a white dress. Text reads Regional Partner Handbook, Revision 2022

The WESTAF Policy Cohort Announces the Regional Partner Handbook

With support from the Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy (AAP) division, the WESTAF Policy Cohort created the Regional Partner Handbook to provide ample resources for leaders in state and jurisdictional arts agencies, state art advocacy groups, and other constituencies in the West. The handbook will serve as a guide to national and regional resources and offer advice from the field about how to navigate these roles. WESTAF seeks to foster a sense of community throughout our region, and it is with this handbook that we hope to cultivate a strong support system.