Director of Public Policy


Summary of Position

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Public Policy will lead and guide the development of progressive, sustainable and high-impact arts policy programs and services. WESTAF’s 10-year vision and strategic plan set forth aggressive goals and metrics and key among them are tasks and initiatives related to strengthening state arts agencies, increasing equity in the arts field, increasing public funding and support for the arts, and advancing WESTAF’s position as a thought leader. The Director of Public Policy will play a key role in advancing and achieving these goals with a special focus on the work of state arts agencies.

A key member of the WESTAF leadership team, the Director of Public Policy is responsible for the management, resourcing, and implementation of WESTAF’s policy-related programs, services and advocacy at local, state, and national levels. The Director of Public Policy will serve as the primary liaison with federal agencies, regional arts organizations, state and local arts agencies, and state advocacy groups. They will identify, coordinate, and align key individual, organizational, and agency partners with WESTAF’s strategic priorities and advocacy goals to grow resources in the field and increase public funding for the arts.

The Director of Public Policy will also work with the leadership team to identify and increase strategic opportunities to advance WESTAF’s policy and technology work through WESTAF thought leadership, research supporting the field, and use of data.

In collaboration with the Executive Director and the leadership team, the Director of Public Policy will help promote and sustain WESTAF’s substantial commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. The Director of Public Policy will position WESTAF’s policy-related programs, services, and advocacy to proactively promote diverse leadership and inclusion in the arts.



The Director of Public Policy reports to the Executive Director. Although there is no direct reporting relationship to the WESTAF board of trustees for this position, the Director of Public Policy works closely with the board to develop strategy and implement WESTAF’s advocacy initiatives. 


Essential Functions  

  • Manages all matters, issues, and concerns in the relationships between WESTAF and its 13 state arts agencies.
  • Develops, refines, implements, and leads programs, convenings, and consulting services related to policy options and positioning for state arts agency participants in WESTAF.
  • Helps WESTAF-region state arts agencies become stronger, more innovative, entrepreneurial, and relevant to their constituencies.
  • Tracks, monitors, and analyzes federal and state legislation and other policy related to the arts and cultural fields.
  • Develops and communicates WESTAF policy positions and strategy around legislative issues impacting arts and culture.
  • Works closely at the policy level with state advocacy groups to drive results.
  • Develops, implements and leads strategies to support WESTAF’s public policy thought leadership in the field, including positioning and managing convenings, developing white papers, and developing key messaging.
  • Establishes and promotes effective communication channels to position WESTAF as a leader and advance WESTAF’s mission and work.
  • Maximizes the impact of WESTAF advocacy funds investments with strategies to achieve the organization’s strategic impact goals, and works with WESTAF Director of Finance and Administration to distribute and administer this funding.
  • With the Executive Director, identifies and aligns key individual, organizational, and agency partners to increase public funding for the arts at the state and national levels.
  • In collaboration with the WESTAF Director of Marketing and Communications, develops and implements public relations campaigns to build awareness of arts-related issues to drive legislation and policy informed by trends, political opinion, and public opinion.
  • Manages external relationships with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs), and other arts and public policy organizations like the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) that benefit WESTAF and its participating states.
  • In partnership with the Director of Social Responsibility, executes and advances WESTAF policy-related programs and services to proactively support and expand the promotion of leaders of color in the West.
  • Represents WESTAF’s vision and goals at relevant conferences, convenings, public meetings, and important political functions.
  • In coordination with the Executive Director, assists the board of trustees in executing their work and achieving WESTAF’s vision and strategic plan.



  • Strategic Thinking
  • Leadership
  • Consensus Building
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Relationship Building
  • Problem Solving
  • Communicating Complex Issues
  • Driving Results
  • Managing Rapidly Shifting Priorities
  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Supervisory Responsibilities

Position will supervise coordinator positions and will be responsible for departmental and event budgets.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

This is an exempt, full-time position located in Denver, Colorado. General hours and days of work are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, this position can sometimes require long hours and weekend work.

Work Environment and Physical Demands

WESTAF has an open office environment and requires staff to be able to work with ambient office noise. This position requires significant use of a computer and phone as well as in-person communication with coworkers. 


The Director of Public Policy travels an average of four days per month. Because Denver is located centrally, most travel requires a single overnight stay, and some can be accommodated by same-day, round-trip travel. 

EEO Statement

WESTAF is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Other Duties

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive list of all activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required for the employee. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change or new ones may be assigned at any time with or without notice.