Because public support for the arts is vital to the arts community, WESTAF continues to invest in and build capacity for state-level and federal advocacy to support public-sector involvement in the arts in the West and nationally.

 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, arts advocacy days and summits, public affairs technology, and essential capacity-building support for state arts advocacy organizations.

  • 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.

WAAN has collectively, in partnership with advocates across the region, secured over $900 million in critical relief, recovery, and new program investments from state governments in the West during the pandemic. WAAN convenes year round to consider  sustainability of arts advocacy in the region, advocacy strategies, messaging and tactics, and systems and infrastructure to support statewide advocacy. The group and its individual members, in partnership with WESTAF, engage members of Congress and state legislators to provide policy recommendations and advocate in support of legislation that resources and advances arts, culture, and the creative economy.

WAAN Members

Alaska State Council On the Arts 
Ben Brown
Executive Director
Arizona Citizens for the Arts
Patrick McWhorter
Chief Executive Officer
Californians for the Arts/California Arts Advocates
Julie Baker
Chief Executive Officer
Colorado Business Committee for the Arts
Christin Crampton Day
Executive Director
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Michael Faison
Executive Director
Hawai’i Arts Alliance
Evan Anderson
Executive Director
Montana Cultural Advocacy
Paul Stahl
Cultural Alliance Nevada
Tia Flores
Creative New Mexic0
Laurie Rufe
Vice President
Cultural Advocacy Coalition
Sue Hildick
Utah Cultural Alliance
Crystal Young
Executive Director
Inspire Washington
Manny Cawaling
Executive Director
Wyoming Arts Alliance
Andrew Schneider
Director of Operations

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. In 2022, the Federal Advocacy Funds program merged with the State Advocacy Funds program into an integrated offering.

  • 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. As these conversations have continued to evolve, we continue to adapt ALAS to ensure relevancy and accessibility, including hosting the first virtual ALAS in 2021.