Hello WESTAF Trustees:
I’ve been on the road in California during this last bi-weekly period. I want to thank and acknowledge the WESTAF Leadership Resource Team (Adam, Amy, Christina, Chrissy, Leah and Seyan) for continuing their important work budgeting, planning, running businesses, maintaining technology, interviewing DoPP candidates and managing the team during my absence. They’ve been so thoughtful, collaborative and productive, and kept me engaged and on my toes during my time out of the office. This bi-weekly is dedicated to them!
We have completed a first – and rough- draft of the WESTAF FY20 budget! The Leadership team is working closely with the budget managers to finesse the budget for the deadline in August. Up until this time, we expect to work through many versions, but this work is proceeding apace and is on track. Huge kudos to LRT for rising to the occasion during this sometimes confusing and uncertain transitional period.
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY SEARCH
Following an initial screening of nine potential candidates, the LRT has spent the last week interviewing four high-quality finalists. Not too long after the July 4 holiday, we expect to be putting the finishing touches to this process and making an offer to the successful candidate.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT COMMITTEE
There is a welcome and overdue movement afoot in the office to develop a voluntary committee (similar to our Wellness Committee) that would identify and pursue ways for the WESTAF team to become more involved in the Denver creative community. Several team members are already involved in Denver community initiatives in various ways — this committee will help to endorse and support these existing efforts and also to consider new efforts, involve more team members and help to raise the profile of WESTAF and its work within the dynamic city in which we’re headquartered. Thanks Leah for leading this!
Just completing a productive swing through California this past few weeks — first at the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Los Angeles (it was great to spend a little time with trustee Roy Agloinga, who was also in attendance!), then a wonderful visit with WESTAF trustee Nikiko Masumoto at the Masumoto Family Farm near Fresno (thank you, Nikiko for the hospitality!), then on to Calavaras County for a California Arts Council meeting where I gave a presentation that seemed to be well-received by CAC council members, then some productive meetings in Sacramento. Deepened relationship with CAC ED Anne Bown-Crawford and members of her staff, as well as CFTA ED Julie Baker, a productivel planning lunch with Vice Chair Tamara Alvarado (thank you Tamara for making the trip to San Andreas!). Good meetings along the way with WESTAF friends Shannon Daut, as well as Lucero Arrellano (who took me to an inspiring arts collective space in Sacramento — Sol Collective) and Sacramento CFTA lobbyist Jason Schmeltzer (who’s work is funded by WESTAF). This business trip was bookended by some personal time — my dad’s 90th Birthday party (went off without a hitch!) and this weekend I’ll be attending a friend’s wedding at the legendary Sea Ranch on the California Coast. Back in the office on Monday.
STRATEGIC PLANNING UPDATE
The Equity Cohort is working to set communal understanding and intentions within the Communications and Business cohorts. Our cohort has held four meetings as of 06/26/2019 to begin meaningful conversations and standards to bring to the other cohorts. We have worked through current WESTAF projects and practices around DEI initiatives and together we have built a set of shared group agreements that will be shared in July with each cohort. After observing and participating in the Communications and Business cohorts, the Equity cohort will convene again in July to dive into the scoping documentation. Roles (occur on a rotating basis): Leader: Lani Morris; Calendar “Creep”: Lauren Wilson; Note Taker/Scribe: Julia Alvarez; Relationship/Space Manager – Janae.
During the Business Cohort’s initial meeting, a leader and a scribe were appointed and it was determined, based on schedules, we would meet quarterly with our next meeting scheduled for 7/18/19. For this meeting, we have asked that all members come prepared to discuss perceptions/goals for the Cohort with hopes we can develop a mission and strategize our next steps. Scribe – was Matt Virlee who has left the company so this role is currently vacant; Leader – Rebecca Brown.
During the Communications Cohort’s first meeting we broke down our Strategic Plan Scoping Document and decided to tackle it through four stages of implementation. We will be kicking off our first stage – research and discovery – after our next meeting on 7/1/2019. During this stage we will be evaluating the state of WESTAF’s brand and communications through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and gathering feedback from the organization’s clients and users. We will be determining team roles and leadership during our upcoming meeting based on perceived needs for stage one.
Americans for the Arts Convention Update: Leah connected with many friends of WESTAF at the annual AFTA Convention (Matt Wilson, Teniqua Broughton, Shannon Daut, Mitch Menchaca, Rusty Foley, Tom Simplot, Mary Ann Carter, Michael Orlove, Ann Bown-Crawford, and Pam Breaux, among others) as well as a few current CVSuite clients and a couple existing leads. We generated a handful of new leads for CVSuite from the convention, and there was considerable interest around PAA’s new Collection Management Tool at the Pre-Con. Many other attendees visiting our exhibitor table commented on how much they love CaFE’s recent improvements. FY20 Marketing Communications Planning: Leah is plugging away on WESTAF’S FY20 Master MarComm Plan, which outlines marketing initiatives and goals that align with the FY20: Earned Income Product Expenses Business Strategy. The plan presents marketing goals and strategies for each technology product (excluding ZAPPlication), as well as marketing and communications for WESTAF’s programs and services.
WESTAF SAAPAD PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MEETING
A mighty WESTAF team of Madalena Salazar, Chrissy Deal, Seyan Lucero and Sam Ortega oversaw the June 3-4, WESTAF convened 20+ performing arts directors and heads of presenting booking consortia from the region for our annual SAAPAD meeting. The group kicked things off with a tour and conversation with leadership and staff at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, one of Denver’s cultural hubs and renowned dance company rooted in the Black/African American community. Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of National Performance Network (NPN) shared ways the organization is operationalizing equity through their artist and peer networks, convenings and conferences. Oregon ELC15 alum Candace Kita, Cultural Work Manager at Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), also engaged the group in an exercise that examines how power plays out in our organizations’/agencies missions. Chrissy is looking to build on this year’s model of exchange between attendees and site visit for 2020.
INCLUSION & EQUITY CONSULTING
Chrissy has been collaborating with the two-person staff and the Equity Task Force at Zoo, Arts & Parks in Salt Lake County, Utah since late 2018 on their inclusion and equity initiative. She and Madalena Salazar kicked off their effort with a workshop in January which was followed by a grantmaking analysis and discussion of equitable grantmaking processes in May. Chrissy will return in September to facilitate a workshop focused on how traditionally marginalized communities are impacted by an organization’s programs and policies. She will partner with 2 members of the Utah ELC alumni network – Renato Olmedo-Gonzalez and Moana Paelei Hoching – and area cultural leader and artist, Jorge Rojas for the discussion. WESTAF Trustee Vicki Bourns has been an active member of the Task Force and Moana is poised to be, having recently been invited to join ZAP’s Tier I board this summer. The project will culminate in the fall with a project summary and suggested pathways forward for ZAP in this critical work.
The technology team has been interviewing candidates to join our team. There are several promising leads and we hope to be able to send offers to these qualified individuals but it is a very competitive market. June and July mark our annual PCI assessment and this is underway. We have conducted a gap analysis and will look to remediate any issues. Switching to Paypal Braintree is a significant change and will change how this process looks going forward. We have met and negotiated an initial contract with an embedded business intelligence vendor and will work to increase our efforts to give the programs better access and visibility into their data.
FEDERAL ADVOCACY UPDATE
On June 25, the U.S. House approved $167.5 million in FY2020 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts—an increase of $12.5 million over the FY2019 funding level ($155 million). The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for possible consideration (the Senate may also take up their own version of this appropriations bill). Congress is on recess next week; the Senate is scheduled to return on July 8th.
ZAPP recently signed a standard, multi-show client (collecting more than 500 apps) that will host 6 festivals on the site. This boosts our sales of standard contracts by 300% compared to FY18. In addition, the payment processing switch to Braintree was implemented on June 27; users now have options to store payment types for easier checkout and additional security measures have been made to cross-reference zip code and CVV.
The CaFE team is working on specifications to prepare for a 12-month subscription contract, adding access terms and contract IDs to the CaFE system, in addition to the ability to directly enter fees and have the CaFE system calculate those fees in lieu of the manual calculation done now. The team is also working on digitizing its call request form and revamping the new call setup process.
PUBLIC ART ARCHIVE
The Public Art Archive launched its new website and updated Collection Showcase pages in mid-May and has received positive feedback from colleagues in the field. In June, Lani Morris of the CaFE team represented PAA at the AFTA public art preconference in Minneapolis, and the team has received multiple inquiries regarding the Collection Management System since the event. A major marketing push for PAA’s updated paid services is slated for late summer/early fall.
10 clients (a quarter of our base) have renewed this month, zero have dropped off, awaiting 4 expected renewals. The town of Telluride is on boarded; we built their application and they will be ready to launch later this summer. San Antonio is paying $3,800 to $5,600 for a data import process. Three major panel process updates released last week: Open and Close date fields added to Panels > Configure Panel tab. Some tech updates: allow admin to show and hide panels from assigned panelists on designated dates; import Criteria button added to Panels > Panel Scoring tab. Allows admin to copy existing criteria into new panels; increased number of allowed criteria from 20 to unlimited. FY19 Revenue received: $105,578.87; FY19 Renewals pending payment (but contracts are signed): $67,600.00, FY19 Renewals and other payments expected for the remainder of the year: $47,400.
CVSuite is working with Western Colorado University to provide the data for its art market research. Western Colorado University received an NEA research grant to create these reports for all 50 states.
NEW CVSUITE AND GO BUSINESS COORDINATOR
Kelly Ernst is our new business coordinator for GO Smart and CVS, focusing on marketing content, contract admin, demonstrations and light customer support. Kelly joined WESTAF in May of 2019 as the business coordinator for CVSuite and GO Smart, aiding in content and contract services, client communications, and marketing. Kelly has a background working in public and socially engaged art and has held positions in marketing and development for organizations such as the Santa Fe Opera, Creative Time in New York City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA Denver). She is also a planning committee member for RedLine Art Center’s 48-Hour Summit. Most recently, Kelly was a contributing writer for Colorado-based magazine Boulder and Cherry Creek Lifestyle, covering arts and culture. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in art history and multicultural leadership at the University of Colorado Boulder. Kelly is a great addition to the team and we’re glad to have her!
Thank you for your good work and commitment to WESTAF!