TourWest is WESTAF’s competitive grant program that has historically provided subsidies to arts and community organizations for the presentation of touring performers and literary artists within the 13-state WESTAF region. Since its inaugural year, TourWest has allocated approximately $500,000 a year in small amounts throughout the region.
Through its longstanding efforts, TourWest has brought touring to a region covering nearly a quarter of the continent but holding only about 3% of the population in the 1960s. Cultural leaders in the Western states pursued a way of making tours more affordable for rural communities in addition to making them more attractive to artists by allowing them to book consecutive performances. This in turn allowed TourWest to provide WESTAF the opportunity to support and learn from a diverse cross-section of regional touring programs across the region.
As the program continues to evolve, WESTAF wants to learn more about the impact of TourWest so far to uncover ways to make it more accessible to future grantees. In this spirit, we will be launching an internal research process and are asking past and present TourWest grantees to participate in an impact survey. During this process, grantees may also be selected to take part, along with other relevant stakeholders, in focus groups that will dive deeper into the critical needs within the TourWest grant program.
For the 2022-2023 TourWest grant cycle, WESTAF will be administering a simplified program to ensure greater accessibility to the program as we continue to seek a reimagination of TourWest going into the future. Potential applicants can expect the launch of the next grant program in spring 2022.