WESTAF Now Newsletter | August 2022

By August 19, 2022January 30th, 2023No Comments
WESTAF Now August 2022 Newsletter header

Thought Leadership and reach           

Creative Vitality Summit Logo

Creative Vitality™ Summit Scheduled for Late November

Last year, WESTAF presented its inaugural Creative Vitality™ Summit (CVSummit), which took place virtually. We’re excited to announce that we have confirmed dates for our second convening, a hybrid event that will take place November 30th and December 1st, 2022! A co-design team has been busy planning four dynamic panels who will meet in-person in Denver, featuring timely topics such as Tech and the Creative Economy, Digital Placekeeping, Belonging and Civic Imagination, and Liberatory Investment Models for the Creative Economy. This year’s co-design team includes the art.coop team; 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. More information about this year’s event will be released at the end of the month but don’t wait to save your spot: RSVP now to participate virtually by filling out this form!

alliances, advocacy & policy            

WESTAF blue and green Graphing Announcing Pacific Jurisdictions Partnership

Pacific Jurisdictions Partnerships

To demonstrate its continued focus on equitable grantmaking and diverse arts ecosystems throughout the western region, WESTAF has partnered with the Pacific Jurisdiction (PJ) region through an unprecedented agreement. Historically, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam (collectively, Pacific Jurisdictions/PJs) have been underrepresented as a region within the U.S. arts sector and in conversations surrounding arts advocacy. With this new partnership, WESTAF seeks to service this vast and previously underrepresented region of the United States. The PJs were recently welcomed at WESTAF’s annual Executive Director (ED) Forum, held in Spokane, Washington, where Pacific Jurisdiction EDs participated both in person and virtually through Zoom—marking the start of the three Pacific Jurisdictions officially joining the western region network. WESTAF looks forward to folding these partnerships into even more networks and services such as its Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN).

Read the full press release

Brown and pink graphic with an image of congresswoman Barbara LeeWESTAF Endorses Advancing Equity Through the Arts and Humanities Act and Co-Hosts Webinar with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Californians for the Arts

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California introduced Advancing Equity Through the Arts and Humanities Act in May 2022. To date, Representative Lee’s office has circulated a dear colleague letter in the House of Representatives to solicit bill cosponsors and continues to seek endorsements from organizations across the country. The Congresswoman’s office, Californians for the Arts, and WESTAF partnered to organize a webinar on July 26th to learn how this bill uplifts the role the arts and humanities have in addressing and dismantling systemic racism in the United States and meet artists, cultural workers, and social justice leaders in the field advancing racial equity and supporting the bill. Talking points for advocates were shared with the group.

Send a letter to support H.R.7627

Logo for the association of tribal archives, libraries, and museumsWESTAF Invited to Join the Native Arts & Culture Council Working Group as a Thought Partner and Potential Presenter

WESTAF recently joined the Native Arts & Culture Council Working Group, a Ford Foundation funded project 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. The working group launched on July 26th with John Haworth, Project Director, welcoming participants from the seven Cohort Communities, members of the Native Arts & Culture Councils Advisory Committee, presenters, and other guest mentors to the first meeting of the Native Arts and Culture Councils Cohort project. The session has been led by Ruby Lopez Harper, who has created an Indigenized version of the “Seven Ways” document written by Americans for the Arts and based on feedback from a community survey.

social responsibility & inclusion      

leaders of color network logoLeaders of Color Fellowship Now Accepting Applications

Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) has partnered with its five Regional Arts Organization (RAO) counterparts to support the National Leaders of Color Fellowship, an eight-month leadership development program for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders who are committed to the advancement of cultural equity in the arts. The fellowship will be held virtually from October 2022–May 2023 and uses a cohort structure emphasizing experiential learning, community building, and service to the field. An expansion of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program (started in 2010 and in partnership with South Arts since 2020), this collective support and commitment from the collaborative of six RAOs aims to invest in diverse arts leadership in each respective region and across the nation. Since its inception, the program has been intentionally led by BIPOC faculty and leaders, and has not been institutionally driven — a facet that is precious and will remain intact as the program expands nationally.

Learn more about the program

New Date for Folklife/Traditional Arts Network Gathering

The Folklife/Traditional Arts Network gathering has a new date and will now be held on September 29, 2022, from 2-5 p.m. MDT. The Folk/Traditional Arts Network gathering’s purpose is to connect and share folk arts practices and presentations by folklorists in the field. All folk traditional arts stakeholders, state and local folklorists and administrators, and supporters interested in folk arts and culture are welcome. Download the most recent event schedule below to make sure you have the most up to date information on future events!

Green graphic showing the save-the-dates for WESTAF's social responsibility and inclusion virtual gatherings

TourWest 2022 Funding Recommendation Approved

TourWest’s 2022-23 funding recommendation has been approved by WESTAF’s Executive Committee. Over 760K in grants ranging from $1,500 – $5,000 will be awarded to 198 organizations in the West promoting a variety of regional touring events. Applicants have been notified and are in the process of executing signed grant agreements. All applicants who complete signed agreements will be funded. Agreements are due September 12, 2022.

WESTAF in Attendance at LEAD Conference

WESTAF Grants and Access Manager Ashanti McGee recently attended the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. 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 and 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 included a website consultation in which the WESTAF website was audited for accessibility. 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.


In this new section, we are thrilled to highlight and share the work of our Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) alumni!

New Arts and Culture Economic Recovery Strategy

Joshua Heim, 2014 ELC Alumnus and member of the Arts and Culture Recovery Strategy Advisory Committee, stood with PSRC in creation of this regional recovery strategy. This report builds off data from ArtsFund’s COVID Cultural Impact Study and reflects the work of many arts leaders across the region.

Janissa Marie Annalissia Martinez of Wyoming Arts CouncilWyoming Arts Council Vaccine Confidence Project

Through a generous grant from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Foundation, the Wyoming Arts Council recently partnered with four Wyoming-based artists to create original artwork with the theme of encouraging COVID-19 vaccine confidence across the state. Artists applied to an open call and were selected by a review committee Original works created by the artists explore their personal pandemic stories, with the goal of encouraging others to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Artists and their featured stories—which include autobiographical writing, music video, Hoop Dance/Honor Song, and an illustrated children’s book—are available at https://wyoartsvaccineconfidence.com. Janissa Martinez, 2012 ELC Alumna and selected Wyoming-based artist, generated a multi-genre autobiographical fiction piece that acts as a letter to families in Wyoming that have been torn apart by vaccine hesitancy.

“We are excited to provide paid art-making opportunities for Wyoming artists, as well as to recognize ways in which art is directly connected to overall health and wellness for both individuals and communities,” said Michael Lange, Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council.

Funding for this effort is made possible through a sub-award from the CDC Foundation and is part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) financial assistance award totaling $75,000 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS*.

*The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.

NASAA Assembly 2022 graphic
WESTAF and NASAA Planning Hybrid Session for the People of Color Affinity Group (PoCAG) at NASAA Assembly 2022

WESTAF is partnering with NASAA for an affinity-based gathering for people of color to take place during NASAA Assembly 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. The meeting will be hybrid and is currently scheduled for 5-6pm CT on Friday, September 23.

The PoCAG, launched and is supported by NASAA, is a NASAA members-led group open to all state and regional arts agency staff and council members who identify as persons of color. Its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is articulated within its policy statement, which affirms the importance of ongoing reflection, dialogue, and learning to accomplish this work authentically and alongside state arts agencies.

WESTAF WEB SERVICES                                 

ZAPP Launches Publish Events Button for Administrators

After collecting valuable feedback from event administrators on ZAPP, the team is excited to announce the new publish event button! With the click of a button, administrators can notify the ZAPP team that their event is ready to be published. To learn more about how ZAPP continues to improve user experience, read the latest blog!

Learn more

Pictured are five artists featured on the CaFE blog

CaFÉ Shares Five Artists Recharging the Arts in Latest Blog

After receiving over 1,700 submissions from more than 400 artists to last December’s Recharge the Arts call, CaFÉ was delighted to highlight even more incredibly talented artists from the community. Read the latest blog post to learn more about five artists whose work has been inspired by or created during recent challenges from the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, to climate change and more.

Read the latest blog

Four separate artworks highlighted from CaFE artistsCaFÉ Adds Exciting New Features for Artists and Administrators

The CaFÉ team is delighted to share the launch of two highly requested features! Artists can now link to audio or video work samples if they exist online, and administrators can now build application questions with conditional logic. Artists have two options for adding audio or video work samples to their portfolio: They can upload the file directly, or they can enter the URL of the work sample if available online. Administrators can now create application questions with conditional logic to collect more detailed information from artists, allowing administrators to display or hide questions based on an applicant’s response to another question.

Check out what’s new

Women's Suffrage Mural Painting in Montbello neighborhood, Denver, CO
Women's Suffrage Mural Painting in Montbello neighborhood, Denver, CO

Public Art Archive Shares Completed Women’s Suffrage Mural

To mark the centennial of the landmark legislation that granted women the right to vote, WESTAF commissioned the creation of a mural related to Women’s Suffrage in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. Created by Denver artist Adrienne “Adri” Norris (www.afrotriangledesigns.com), the mural is now on view at the Montbello Branch of the Denver Public Library. The artwork centers an overlooked history and aims to expand the narrative of women’s suffrage and the passing of the 19th Amendment to include the larger and more inclusive story of the fight for voting rights for Black, Hispanic, and minority communities. This project was made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Many thanks to the Denver Public Library staff and the District 11 Office of Stacie Gilmore for their partnership on this project.

View the artwork and learn more about the project

CVSuite 2020 Data GraphicExplore 2020 Data in CVSuite™

CVSuite is preparing for its next data update, 2022.3, which will make the newest data year (2021) available. In addition to having this new data, the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes will be updated in the spring from the 2019 Emsi hybrid SOC codes to the 2018 SOC codes, the most current system in 2022. This change will reflect and describe today’s occupational data more accurately. Check out the CVSuite blog on our most recent data update for more information.

GO Smart Logo with contemporary dancers in pink dresses in the backgroundTake Grantmaking to the Cloud

As an ambassador in the arts field, we invite you to learn more about GO Smart! From intent to apply and creating an application to panel reviews, awards, and final reports—GO Smart is the only grant administration software in the arts field that offers:

  • An impactful and cost-effective approach to investing in the arts;
  • Extensive knowledge of, and commitment to, the arts grants industry and lived equitable practices; and
  • Personalized customer service and consultation.

Learn more

Equity Resources for Grantmakers graphicGO Smart Equity Resources for Grantmakers

In the latest post from GO Smart, we delve into how grantmakers can incorporate equity and inclusion practices into their daily activities. With a list of our top five resources, including a link to GO Smart’s equity and social justice resources page, you can track your progress on incorporating some of the most effective processes and placing community at the heart of your grantmaking efforts.

Check out the post

GO Smart Launches New Preview Tool

GO Smart is excited to announce a new way to easily preview cycle forms before opening them up to applicants! A highly requested feature, the new preview helps admin better visualize the applicant experience from start to finish and improves their ability to quickly review and update current content.

Learn more

WESTAF Community NEWS                          

A multicolor graphic of sharp shapes overlapping one another

WESTAF Deputy Director Invited to Serve on Advisory Board of the Center for Cultural Affairs at O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

David Holland has been invited to serve on the Advisory Board of the Center for Cultural Affairs at Indiana University. The mission of the Center for Cultural Affairs at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs is to advance the understanding of the place of arts and culture in public life. The Center is home to the NEA-funded Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Lab that conducts experimental and quasi-experimental research on the intersections of the three primary terms in its name.


Graphic announcing the NEA's 2023 Jazz Masters
NEA Announces 2023 Recipients of NEA Jazz Masters Honors

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship—musicians Regina Carter, Kenny Garrett, and Louis Hayes, as well as Sue Mingus, recipient of the 2023 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy. These fellowships include an award of $25,000 and the honorees will be celebrated at a public concert in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  

Learn more about the 2023 recipients

CONNECT WITH US                                           

13 Western StatesThe Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of  the arts in the West (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). WESTAF assists  state arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists in their quest to serve diverse audiences, enrich the lives of local communities, and provide access to the arts for all. Through innovative programming, advocacy, research, technology, and grantmaking, WESTAF encourages the creative advancement and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances.

WESTAF | www.westaf.org