Because public support for the arts is vital to the arts community, WESTAF continues to build the capacity of state arts advocacy so that it can properly support public-sector involvement in the arts in the West.

State Advocacy

  • State Advocacy Funds
    For over a decade, WESTAF has disbursed funds (generated from its earned income) to each state in the West to support advocacy on behalf of the state’s arts agency. This advocacy support includes helping to fund professional-level advocacy work, advocacy training, and, occasionally, arts advocacy days and summits. 
  • Western Arts Advocacy Network
    In 2020, WESTAF launched a Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN) that brings together leaders from state arts advocacy organizations and other key advocates from across the West to network, share best practices, and inform WESTAF’s support of arts advocacy.

As an early network, WAAN is currently developing a focus for collective work but is already exploring themes related to the sustainability of arts advocacy in the region, advocacy strategies, messaging and tactics, and systems and infrastructure to support statewide advocacy. Generally, the WAAN group will:

    • Represent the unique promises, challenges, and complexities of the 13 western states in ways that inform WESTAF, national arts advocacy groups, opinion formers, and policymakers
    • Share state advocacy and policy making developments regionally
    • Provide guidance on WESTAF’s federal advocacy strategy and support of state advocacy 


WAAN members 

Julie Baker Co-Chair
Executive Director
California Arts Advocates
Manny Cawaling Co-Chair
Executive Director
Inspire Washington
Wendy Bredehoft
Wyoming Arts Alliance
Benjamin Brown
Alaska State Council on the Arts
Norm Campbell
Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation
Christin Crampton Day
Executive Director
Colorado Business Committee for the Arts
Megan Wagner
Brandeberry McKenna Public Affairs
Jonathan Johnson
Executive Director
Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Michael Faison
Executive Director
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Paul Stahl
Cultural Advocacy (Montana)
Tia Flores
Cultural Alliance Nevada
Anthony Manfredi
Executive Director
Nevada Arts Council
Jim Patterson
Creative New Mexico
Sue Hildick
Executive Director
Cultural Advocacy Coalition (Oregon)
Crystal Young-Otterstrom
Executive Director
Utah Cultural Alliance
Bill Lindstrom
Operations Manager
Wyoming Arts Alliance


Federal Advocacy

  • Federal Advocacy Funds
    In 2020, WESTAF began piloting a new program that offers funding (generated from its earned income) to state arts agencies in the region to organize delegations to Washington, D.C. to participate in national advocacy activities and to organize other forms of engagement with members of Congress. Through this program, WESTAF also provides advocates in the West with tools and information to effectively communicate the value of federal funding for the arts. 
  • Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar
    Between 2011 and 2017, WESTAF’s annual Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar (ALAS) brought a group of arts leaders from the West to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staffs, engage in briefings regarding the status and future prospects for federal arts support, and to discuss with the WESTAF trustees ways to generate more state government support for the work of state arts agencies.

This year’s ALAS took place online Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25, 2021. The seminar featured a series of panel discussions and speakers who will share their knowledge on topics related to federal advocacy, engaging members of Congress, and the transformation of the field.

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