Hello WESTAF trustees:
This biweekly recap covers the clicking over to a new fiscal year, and I’m happy to report that there were no “Y2K” glitches and we’re still going strong and doing the good work! Here’s a quick summary of what went on these past few weeks:
David Holland and I facilitated a two-day executive session in Anchorage with ASCA trustees and board members representing AACF to determine immediate next steps following the last-minute restoration of funding for the agency in the Capital budget. Also present was Kelly Barsdate, NASAA’s Chief Program and Planning Officer who served as a super helpful knowledge resource and guide during the conversations. It was an exhausting but very productive session which moved from the catharsis of sharing out stories of trauma in the AK arts community (as well as in the council itself) following the budget elimination, to a pro-active discussion around next steps for the agency. At the conclusion of the session, we were able to surface a helpful roadmap for the agency and its trustees in operations, communications, governance and legislative relations to rebuild the agency and to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent this situation occurring again.
WESTERN GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION
David traveled to Fargo, North Dakota to attend the Reimagining the Rural West Workshop hosted by the Western Governors’ Association. Attendees included Margaret Hunt and Mary Anne Carter, among other important delegates. David had some useful conversations and valuable learnings as WESTAF continues to piece together a coherent strategy around our approach to rural arts in the west. It was a good place for WESTAF to be seen and represented.
Had a really lovely coffee meeting with former WESTAF trustee Barbara Neal. We talked about a range of things. It was great to get her valuable perspective on all things WESTAF as well as what’s up in Denver arts and culture. She continues to be supportive of WESTAF and our work.
LUNCH WITH ARTS FOR COLORADO
David and I had a productive meet n greet meeting with the advocacy group Arts For Colorado which included President Jay Sellars, Vice President Gisela Flanagan and lobbyist Megan Wagner from lobbying firm Brandeberry McKenna. This was an opportunity for David and I to be introduced to Gisela and Megan and also to get a stronger sense of their advocacy strategy as they ramp up for the new legislative season, as well as better determine a strategy to build a more thriving arts advocacy ecosystem in the state of Colorado that can (hopefully) that includes an alignment with SAA Colorado Creative Industries.
MULTI-YEAR BUDGET PREP
The Leadership Resource Team (LRT) has been working hard to formulate a three-year planning budget through FY22 to better understand business growth and the constraints around it. This is ongoing, and continues to a challenging but helpful exercise, and the multiyear budget will be an especially helpful comparative tool in the years ahead. The multiyear budget will be presented at the October 24 BOT meeting.
BAR CAT KICK-OFF ALL-TEAM MEETING
Led by Amy Hollrah, LRT led an action-packed all-team meeting last Friday just prior to the kick-off of FY20. On the agenda, Amy Hollrah led the team through a preview of the brand new and updated Team Manual and touched on the revamped Travel Guidelines. Leah Horn led us through a newly polished WESTAF Style Guide, Adam Sestokas refreshed our understanding of our Technology Policies and David Holland gave us a really inspiring preview of his unfurling strategy for state and federal advocacy and public policy. There was a lot of positive energy and good feedback in the room that day. What good people and what a strong team!
PERFORMING ARTS EXCHANGE SUNSETTING
It’s worth noting to the BOT that fellow RAO SouthArts recently announced that after decades in operation, their Performing Arts Exchange (PAE) — an annual live marketplace for performing artists and venues — was closing down. PAE was part of a marketplace circuit that includes the WAA and ArtsMidwest marketplaces and conferences.
The CaFE team is working to convert old contracts (by long-time customers) to the new CaFE contract and pricing with the goal to get 100% of active customers (approx 750) on the new contract and pricing by FY21. Part of the pricing options now include “Smart Call” where clients can pay $225.00 for CaFE to set up their call details.
The CVSuite team is reworking the top 20 campaign so that it has a more broad and easy-to-understand focus. The team is also working on a blog about Meow Wolf’s move to Denver, with Trevor adding his own impact analysis. A bug was found and fixed related to CVI values from 2013 to 2015 where the sales industry data was not being loaded correctly in the calculations.
We received North Carolina’s renewal payment of $11,500 in September which helped us get closer to our FY19 goal of $200,000. Alaska’s delayed FY19 renewal accounts for most of the difference between our actuals and goal; Alaska’s payment is expected in Q1 of FY20. Another $15,600 is expected to clear in FY20 for FY19 services — these are a mix of renewal, new client, and one-time fee payments. Development of a long-awaited ticket to convert PDFs to HTMLs was released last week.
PUBLIC ART ARCHIVE
Public Art Archive will be working with Reno Public Art, a Collection Management System client, to launch a Collection Showcase page that features both the City’s art collection as well as the Burning Man public art collection housed in Reno.
YouJudgeIt is now offline and a redirect will send users to WESTAF.org. The team has communicated with all customers and either successfully transitioned them to CaFE or ZAPP, or they will not be using a WESTAF product.
The team is working on a post-mobile launch sales campaign to reignite interest for potential clients who saw a demo but have not signed a contract. The goal is to show them the new, modern site their artists can use to apply on the go. Julia Alvarez officially began her role as CaFE and ZAPP sales coordinator on Oct. 1. She is training to become a ZAPP product knowledge expert and learn the sales process so she can begin managing sales efforts.
CHRISTIAN’S UPCOMING TRAVEL
10/31 – 11/11 Bhutan for personal trip
11/14 – 11/16 Phoenix, AZ for National Creative Placemaking Summit
11/19 – 11/20 Washington DC for RAO meeting
11/21 – 11/22 Portland, OR for meetings, touring with Oregon Arts Commission
That’s all for now! As always, thank you for your support and guidance — so looking forward to catching up and spending time with you in Denver in a few weeks! We’re all really excited to see you and welcome you!
As ever, with gratitude,