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!

WESTAF Supports Oregon Arts and Culture Caucus Launch Event

In February, the Oregon Arts and Culture Caucus held its launch event at the Elsinore Theater in Salem, Oregon, thanks to the support of WESTAF’s State Arts Agency Innovation Fund. To further their mission, WESTAF has teamed up with experienced nonprofit/association executive Claire Blaylock, who will serve as the Oregon Arts and Culture Caucus Liaison. Working together with local partners, WESTAF was instrumental in the recruitment process.

The Oregon Arts and Culture Caucus Launch Event generated a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm, resulting in 14 more Oregon Legislators joining the Caucus. With a current membership of 23, it is now one of Oregon’s largest bipartisan caucuses. Watch a recording of the event to experience the excitement around the launch, attended by over 350 arts and culture enthusiasts.

FestPAC Returning in 2024

The 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture (FestPAC, the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders) will convene in Hawaiʻi, June 6–16, 2024. The South Pacific Commission (now The Pacific Community – SPC) launched this dynamic showcase of arts and culture in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange. While originally scheduled to take place in 2020, FestPAC was the first major festival in Hawaiʻi to be postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic grew. This decision was made early on in order to prioritize the health and safety of Hawaiʻi residents and visiting delegations. The 2024 date maintains the four-year cycle of festivals while maximizing the opportunity for delegations to participate as their own Pacific island nations recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. In March, WESTAF had the privilege of attending the 36th Meeting of the Council of Pacific Arts and Culture at the East-West Centre in Honolulu, Hawai’i, as invited observers where we were able to learn more about the plans for the Festival.

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.