July 25, 2022
Dear WESTAF Community:
We are now well into our fourth and final quarter of the year; the WESTAF team is focused on budgeting, planning and goal-setting for FY23, beginning October 1. The business team (overseeing our five Software as a Service (SaaS) web services) have worked diligently to develop a set of detailed OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to guide their priorities in the coming year. This year, in particular, they are a special achievement, taking our web businesses to new heights of sharp focus, transparency and accountability. Thank you, business team! Lots more services, programs and activities to learn about in the updates below, including new CaFÉ client the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), a thought-provoking new virtual show on PAA, and the DataEd by CVSuite™ video series that dives into questions, methodologies, and best practices for understanding and analyzing creative economy data. Also, don’t miss the upcoming 7/26 webinar featuring Congresswoman Barbara Lee and State Senator Ben Allen of Santa Monica — lots of super CA happenings this biweekly! Also, updates on the great work being done by the State Arts Agency Innovation Fund (SAAIF) steering committee — huge thanks to you, too. Learn the latest about this fall’s Creative Vitality™ Summit, also how TourWest is shaping up and lots more besides. I am so grateful to our amazing WESTAFers—so keenly focused on the work while also showing up with warmth and humor over Slack or Zoom, at our space at the Alliance Center here in Denver, or at a board or business meeting. Thanks, all! See anything here you want to learn more about? Don’t hesitate to be in touch! Let’s jump in:
GENERAL BUSINESS (CV)
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind in the business department. Christina was heavily focused on WACESP project management and administration with Kelly, in addition to review and analysis of FY23 projected income and expenses in business, in ZAPP (which has a separate budget) and in direct technical expenses. Blair, Natalie, and Christina also participated in all five SaaS OKR recap meetings and finalized the product backlog for all SaaS products. The product backlog this year includes an assigned value per feature in terms of impact; these are categorizations such as a client-facing feature, a sellable feature, an internal workflow improvement, etc. Each feature will also include a marketing priority to help us better anticipate the communication needs surrounding each new feature release.
The CaFÉ team completed another round of testing of the soon-to-be-released linked video and audio enhancement in the artist’s portfolio. For video and audio-based artworks, this means artists can now submit high definition work instead of limited resolution files. For organizations and jurors, it means they can experience the full-length artworks as the artist intended. CaFÉ is also preparing to release form logic in the application form builder. When building their call for entry form questions, admins will now be able to set up questions based on answers. This is a feature so many organizations have been asking for and will be especially useful for validating member eligibility, artist residency requirements, and many more. In June, we welcomed the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA) to CaFÉ, and, in July, we welcomed the Vincent Price Art Museum.
The consulting team for WACESP has submitted the second deliverable, the creative economy working definition, after requesting a two-week deadline extension. The team continues to manage and plan for convenings with stakeholders and continue researching the economic analysis and ecosystem model, which is our next deliverable. CVSuite had its first meeting regarding the CVSummit with the MarComm Team. In the meeting, the team discussed logistics of organizing, team roles and responsibilities and had a conversation about event goals. Kelly also attended the AAP co-design team meeting as they discussed their panels. On the business side, Common Notice was meant to complete the final interview of the project this week, but the team has not received a status update. Since the project is so delayed, Kelly will work to reprioritize the project and timeline with Common Notice. Finally, the team completed their third quarter OKR recap meeting and has been spending the last two weeks working on the QBR, planning the remaining months of the FY.
GO SMART (JG)
No GO Smart updates this time. Jessica’s enjoying a rescheduled honeymoon. Yay!
PUBLIC ART ARCHIVE (LG)
The PAA team continues to work with Boulder artist Kara Fellows on the finalization of the PAA Anniversary Map Project – we imagine the artwork will be completed by the end of July, and PAA will work with MarComm and Business to solidify a distribution plan. The PAA and Business teams have made great progress on the migration of Sarah Conley Odenkirk’s Public Art in Private Development database (PAPD) into the PAA’s network of resources. The team hopes to launch this in late summer. Many thanks to the organizational skills of Natalie Villa and Blair Carpenter, who have streamlined efforts for this large undertaking. PAA completed the work on the Belmar History + Art project, a special virtual exhibition organized by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs and now available digitally on PAA. This is an incredible project led by artist April Banks and historian Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson – so make sure you explore the project on PAA, and if you’re in Santa Monica, go check it out in person! Finally, work on PAA’s new front-end design with technology firm Bilberrry have made great strides – including the redesign of mobile in addition to desktop. To check out the look and feel, you can visit these wireframes on Figma. If you’d like a more in-depth look at what we’re working on, feel free to reach out to the PAA team..
ZAPP received around eight new leads in the past two weeks, which is unusually high for this time of year when events are typically occurring. Ken was able to glean that a competitor, BoothCentral, recently communicated their financial outlook is uncertain and they are unsure how long they can continue business operations. The team quickly jumped into action, with Mareike putting together a Google ad campaign and taking advantage of a $500 credit from Google, while Ken put together a list of customers and developed a plan to reach out to each with incentive for joining ZAPP.
WESTAF INVITED TO JOIN THE NATIVE ARTS & CULTURE COUNCILS WORKING GROUP AS A THOUGHT PARTNER AND POTENTIAL PRESENTER (MPH)
The project is funded by the Ford Foundation and is under the direction of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM). A goal of the project is to strengthen ties between Native communities and State and Regional arts agencies, using the seven cohort communities as an example of how beneficial relationships can be built and sustained.
WEBINAR ORGANIZED BY CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE, CALIFORNIANS FOR THE ARTS, AND WESTAF TO TAKE PLACE ON JULY 26 (CC/DH)
On Tuesday, 7/26 at 12 p.m. Mountain Time, artist Sabra Williams will moderate a webinar featuring remarks by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and State Senator Ben Allen of Santa Monica and a discussion featuring artist and elected official Kirstina Wong, formerly incarcerated artist Major Bunton, and David focused on the intersection of the arts and social justice.
BAY AREA ARTS POLICY AND LEADERSHIP SEMINAR SESSION THREE FOCUSES ON DEVELOPING A COALITION POLICY FRAMEWORK (CC/MPH/DH)
The Bay Area Arts Policy and Leadership cohort met for the third time virtually on July 19th. In the third session, the group underwent a process to develop a policy framework based on issues identified in the first two sessions. Main issue areas that are emerging from group discussion include advancement of equity and redress of underinvestment; capacity and resources for artists, small, and BIPOC-led organizations; community economic and cultural resilience; and affordable, accessible housing and creative space for the creative workforce and all residents. Development of the policy framework will continue at the next meeting, where the cohort will engage with private funders, local arts agency leaders, and campaigners. The meeting will take place in-person on August 23, 2022 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
CREATIVE VITALITY ™ SUMMIT CO-DESIGN TEAM ESTABLISHES PANEL STRUCTURE FOR THE CONFERENCE AND SHIFTS DATES TO NOVEMBER 2022 (MPH/DH)
The Creative Vitality ™ Summit Co-Design team, along with the WESTAF Convenings Team are proud to present four dynamic panels at this year’s gathering, which will feature timely topics such as Tech and the Creative Economy, Digital Placekeeping, Belonging and Civic Imagination, and Liberatory Investment Models for the Creative Economy. To increase reach and engagement, the 2022 Summit will now be openly offered to virtual audiences with an in-person event for invited speakers, panelists, activists, and facilitators on the forefront of the aforementioned panel topics. The 2022 Creative Vitality Summit will be convened in Colorado from November 30 – December 1, with more information, registration links, and resources projected to be available at the end of August. The co-design team has been expanded and currently includes Cezanne Charles, rootoftwo; Koven Smith, Knight Foundation; Randy Engstrom, Third Way Creative; Abdiel Lopez, Roanhorse Consulting; Lauren Ruffin, Crux; Moana Palelei HoChing, WESTAF; Cameron Green, WESTAF; and David Holland, WESTAF.
WASHINGTON CREATIVE ECONOMY STRATEGIC PLAN TEAM SUBMIT WORKING DEFINITION OF THE CREATIVE ECONOMY TO THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND DATES FOR FIRST STATEWIDE TASK FORCE MEETING SET FOR SEPTEMBER (DH/CV/PN/KE/CC/MPH)
The project team successfully submitted the second key deliverable for the Washington Creative Economy Strategic Plan project, a working definition of the creative economy. At this phase of the project lifecycle, the research team has reviewed a wide range of descriptive (or conceptual) definitions but focused this deliverable on building a data-based definition in order to establish a methodological grounding for the project. This working definition includes both industry and occupational code groupings drawn from a number of data sources, including Lightcast and CVSuite datasets used by the Department of Commerce and ArtsWA, respectively. A descriptive definition will be derived from further examination of the literature, consultation with stakeholders across the state, and deliberations with the Department of Commerce and authorizers. The objective of generating a definition in the context of the strategic plan is to build on and deepen the work that key stakeholders have already done in defining the creative economy of the state of Washington.
“STATE ARTS AGENCY INNOVATION FUND” DESIGN PROCESS EXTENDED TO FY23 (CGREEN/DH)
The State Arts Agency Innovation Fund Steering Committee has extended its timeline to design the innovation fund into February and March of 2023. The decision to extend the time was to ensure the program could innovatively support state arts agencies in the Western region to do transformative work, create equity, do capacity building, and be restorative within the principles of good human and inclusive government. Steering committee meeting dates for October, November, and December will be finalized later this week.
HEWLETT FOUNDATION MAKES ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT IN BAY AREA ARTS POLICY AND LEADERSHIP SEMINAR (DH)
The Hewlett Foundation has increased its investment in the Bay Area Arts Policy and Leadership Seminar in order to expand support to the roughly 30 organizations and individuals participating in the cohort. The Hewlett and Rainin Foundations are currently considering a further year of support for the program.
WESTAF CONDUCTS 2022 TOURWEST GRANT PANELS (AM/SVB/JG)
Over the course of two days, WESTAF staff conducted panel reviews of the 2022 TourWest Grant Applications. Panelists reviewed 199 applications for the upcoming cycle. Grant and Access Manager Ashanti McGee and Grant and Finance Manager Sharon Van Boven will review the final eligibility for the applicants and will send them to the executive committee for a final review. Applicants will receive notification of their grant awards in early to mid-August. Review panelists represent more than 60% of the states in the WESTAF region.
WESTAF TO ATTEND LEAD CONFERENCE (AM)
SRI will attend the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, from August 1-5, 2022. Hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kennedy Center, the LEAD Conference introduces those new to the field of Cultural accessibility solutions but offers ongoing learning support, camaraderie, and motivation. The LEAD conference also provides professional development for leadership, mid-career, and new professionals working in accessibility, DEI, and more. One session of the conference is hosting a website consultation in which accessibility professionals will review the current WESTAF website. The information received by this consultation and the additional workshops included at the conference will offer insight and necessary tools to continue to develop WESTAF’s commitment to identifying and amplifying accessibility within the organization and to arts organizations and agencies in which we support and partner.
REGIONAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS (RAO) UPDATES (CG)
The six RAOs have been transitioning well into the new co-leadership of Torrie Allen (Arts Midwest) and Todd Stein (Mid-America Arts Alliance). We are building clarity and understanding around two major grant programs to launch in 2023: Lessons in Thriving in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and the NEA’s Pilot Equity Initiative. RAO EDs and staff have been meeting regularly to continue to hammer out these details. The RAOs are also developing an MOU that reflects the values and intent of the RAO Collective, and a job description for an emerging National Director position is in draft mode. A new RAO website that better reflects the RAO partnerships, programs and activities is in development and should launch shortly. Grantmakers, marketers, and finance professionals from across the six RAOs meet regularly to compare notes and explore collaborative efficiencies.
LEADERSHIP TEAM RETREAT (CG)
At the beginning of August and two months before the beginning of the new fiscal year, the Leadership Resource Team (Amy Hollrah, Anika Kwinana, Christian Gaines, Christina Villa, David Holland, Leah Horn, and Paul Nguyen) will be heading into a two-day retreat in nearby Colorado Springs. This year, the retreat will be facilitated by Kate Schenot with DEI Creative, the agency that is handling WESTAF’s rebranding. DEI will facilitate the strategic planning session of the retreat by clarifying our intent and vision through interactive activities, deep listening into what’s said and unsaid, thoughtful questions, and looking closely at our organizational initiatives, with an eye to update and revise for FY23. It’s a hectic time, but this is such valuable time spent together!
Now that the Q3 OKR business meetings have wrapped up, the team will be updating our Asana initiatives and tasks to ensure we are successfully meeting our year-end goals. The team is currently in the process of building out a project plan for a technical SEO audit of the GO Smart site. Once this has been completed, we will begin work on similar plans for CaFÉ and the other tech products. We will also be launching a GO Smart paid social media campaign this week that will run on Facebook for one month and sharing our CVSuite DataEd social media toolkit to increase awareness of the project. If you know someone who is interested in learning more about how to analyze creative economy data, please help us spread the word by sharing the toolkit with them and with your networks!
The team will soon begin work on drafting a design for the regional partner handbook in collaboration with the policy cohort. We are also queueing up some exciting announcements from the SRI Team, including our first public announcement about the BIPOC Artist Grant as well as the Leaders of Color Pilot Fellowship program. We also held our kickoff Creative Vitality™ Summit planning meeting with the AAP team last week and are excited to begin building out the event microsite, communications plan, social media strategy and toolkit, and more!
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION (AH)
Amy continues to refine reporting in the new cash tool and has discovered a more accurate method to track CaFE cash income. The new process was shared with the CaFE team and will be implemented for the rest of this fiscal year. Becky has collected the staff time spent this past quarter on the new builds to update our fixed assets per Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Sharon and Amy coordinated to collect financial reports as requested by the Ford Foundation application. Budget managers have been asked to get their first round of budget numbers into a shared document by COB this past Friday. Amy and Christian will begin reviewing the numbers this week. Amy and Becky are strategizing how best to build the FY23 monthly projection process for the budget managers. The leadership team has confirmed that we will transition to the accrual method of accounting for the FY23 projection process. Amy is coordinating with our broker and the leadership team to ensure we have the cash on hand for the next quarter of our “short-term investment” projects. Amy, Christina, and Lauren continue discussions to refine the needs of the business team in terms of ZAPP and CaFE financial processes. Amy and Moana are in discussions regarding support to be paid to the Pacific Jurisdictions.
HUMAN RESOURCES (RD)
Last week, Paul, Christina, Jon, Natalie, and Becca finished interviewing for the SysAdmin position. We are meeting soon to discuss the interviewed candidates and will hopefully move forward with an offer. Becca is still finalizing FY23 budgets and has reached out to the Employers Council to ensure the WESTAF compensation policy is equitable.
STRATEGIC PLANNING COHORT (CGREEN)
The equity cohort hosted the first of three anti-bias training sessions with Team Dynamics. The first session went really well, with excellent staff attendance. Next steps will be organizing a coaching session with each of the cohorts. We also sent out the third quarter Equity Snapshot survey and hope to have responses by the end of the week.
FUTURE MEETINGS (CGREEN)
The September WAAN and Executive Committee Meeting will meet concurrently at UCROSS and Sheridan, Wyoming, September 26-27. Cameron submitted an RFP to the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Sheridan and continues to look for a location for the joint dinner between the two groups. Cameron and Leah continue to have discussions regarding hotels for the Annual October Board of Trustees Meeting in Denver, CO.
ONBOARD BOARD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CGREEN)
Last Friday, the leadership resource team completed creator training for OnBoard. During this training, members of the leadership resource team learned about creating meetings, managing resources, creating actions, contributing to the board book, etc., within the board management software.