Board of Trustees Bi-Weekly Recap

Bi-Weekly Recap: February 24, 2020

By February 24, 2020No Comments

Hello WESTAF Trustees:

Time for another quick bi-weekly update from the world of WESTAF! It’s been a busy and productive few weeks—here are some updates from individual team members as well as myself:


Edited from the press release: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) announced on February 20 that Nancy Stueber will retire from her position as chief executive officer and president of OMSI effective May 31. Chief Operating Officer Erin Graham has been appointed by the board as the new president and will assume the role upon Stueber’s departure. According to Stueber: “The board couldn’t have selected a better replacement than Erin Graham; she is fully equipped, uniquely positioned and ready to be president. The organization is in good hands.” Graham has a solid track record of leadership success and has led the development of OMSI’s upcoming five-year strategic plan and long-range facilities plan. She served previously as vice president of development and led the capital campaign for the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray. An employee since 2010, she is highly respected across the organization and is ready to lead OMSI into its next chapter. 

If you’d like to drop Erin a line, she’d be thrilled to hear from you!:


We’re thrilled to let our trustees know that WESTAF Director of Social Responsibility and Inclusion Chrissy Deal has been nominated for a 2020 Governor’s Creative Leadership Award! Chrissy will be presented with the award at the Governor’s Creative Leadership Awards ceremony May 14, 2020 in Steamboat Springs, CO as part of the Creative Industries Summit. This is an honor for WESTAF and well deserved. Go, Chrissy!


The federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC) and the National Arts Endowment for the Arts have partnered with the WESTAF to offer a grant that will mark the centennial of the landmark legislation that granted women the right to vote. WESTAF will commission the creation of a mural related to women’s suffrage as part of a broader array of activities intended to mark the anniversary. Because Denver offers the best opportunity for WESTAF to partner with local networks in the development of the project, it seeks to administer the mural with the support of Arts & Venues Denver as well as a number of other local collaborators.


From Amy Hollrah: Property taxes are nearly finished! Despite WESTAF being a nonprofit, we must calculate the value of all the hardware we own each year and pay a corresponding tax to Denver. It’s remarkably difficult, but Becky is handling it with her usual grace. In addition, the Finance & Administration team has seen a lot of HR activity lately, including drafting policies, analyzing new compliance challenges, and supporting staff off and onboarding. To aid Becca and Amy in these areas, WESTAF has joined the Employers Council—a fantastic Denver resource for HR and legal expertise. Additionally, the membership includes a wide array of training tools for this department as well as for WESTAF supervisors. The team is excited to have this resource to ensure the HR department continues to grow to fully support the staff and organization as a whole.


Here’s an update on the Equity Cohort from Lani Morris: Our cohort has created four separate scoping documents that focus on the key areas of the strategic plan that our cohort can support. We are now reviewing each document as a cohort and finalizing each document. Our key areas are: human resources (policies); professional development/internal competencies (people); mission, vision, guiding principles (practice), and business/responsibilities (programs). We have completed the presentation and review of three scoping documents. We will complete the review of the last document later this month. Additionally, we are very excited to announce that we are working to finalize plans for Carla Mestas, an organizational consultant with an emphasis on equity, social justice and inclusiveness, to come do a few workshops with WESTAF. Details to come! Challenges: We have definitely struggled to find time to meet given staff transitions, travel, and normal busy schedules! Our cohort started with a very strong and clear goal as we created the shared agreements, and now we are just working our way back to tangible initiatives to implement the strategic plan.


Business updates from Christina Villa: Annie Wiegel, CaFÉ operations coordinator, resigned from her position as of Feb. 14 to take a position at the University of Denver more aligned with her interests and experience. So far in February, we’ve signed five new clients and have nearly 250 open calls on CaFÉ turns 15 this year, and Justine Chapel, communications and support coordinator, is working on a campaign to offer 15% off e-blasts now through June 30, 2020, in addition to a “CaFÉ through the years” campaign in celebration. 


Kelly attended the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Leadership Summit in Tampa, Florida and found the experience to be challenging and successful.  The conference was an annual gathering for the leadership of economic development organizations (EDO), a potential audience for CVSuite. The receptiveness of the product was fairly divided, but we got some good sales leads. Some attendees expressed enthusiasm for the tool and our presence at these types of conferences, including Josh Wright and Dustin Lester from the CVSuite’s data provider Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi). The attendees shared that they work closely with their arts councils and see a lot of use for the tool. They also suggested that a recommendation from an EDO is an important pathway to potential customers. Other attendees were less enthusiastic, demanding a case for the advocacy of the arts itself before having a conversation about the actual CVSuite product. The challenge was a good reminder of how many different personas our potential audience could be comprised of and our language surrounding that division. 


Alaska’s payment of $8,500 for the GO Smart service from July 2019 to June 2020 has finally been received. Renewals and client communications continue to remain on track, with all clients renewing on time or requesting to renew early (Kentucky Arts Council, Town of Gilbert). Along with a personas campaign, the marketing team is working on a second campaign to the broader public—and specifically users of competitors—to offer a one-time, risk-free trial of GO Smart for six months. During the free trial, potential clients can administer one grant application while they receive our standard, live customer support and training. At the end of the trial, they will either lose all access to the site and their data, or they can sign a contract and become a client. The hope is to get this campaign rolling in early Q3 after some development to clean up the admin dashboard and a few other easy UI/UX fixes. 


Public Art Archive (PAA) has been working to resolve a number of technical issues with the collection management system in preparation for the migration of collection data for Mural Arts Philadelphia and the State of Oregon’s percent for art collection. In the meantime, Lori has been managing client and incoming data manually, so as not to disrupt business. However, if this issue is not resolved promptly, it could be problematic for the marketing and sales initiatives planned for the upcoming months. PAA will meet with the CEO of Upstart Co-Lab, an impact investing firm, to discuss a potential investor interested in public art and will likely work with a class from the New School in NYC to support efforts in analyzing public art data surrounding environmental impacts.


ZAPP closed the sale with American Craft Council (ACC), a former client who left in 2012 to use a competitor. After years of ongoing conversation about their needs, ACC has decided to return in spite of ZAPP’s inability to offer a former key piece of functionality that was built in ZAPP especially for them. This seems to indicate that the competitor, Juried Art Services, that ACC left ZAPP for is not meeting their needs and is unable to develop new enhancements. The ZAPP team is also working on culling down a sales leads list for a direct mail campaign with newly ordered ZAPP magnets. This is ZAPP’s busy season in terms of application submissions and jurying volume. At more than 550 open applications, more than half of the shows using ZAPP are currently collecting applications.  

Thanks so much for all you do as WESTAF trustees!

Until soon,