WESTAF Now Newsletter | February 2021

By February 19, 2021January 30th, 2023No Comments
WESTAF Now Newsletter - February 2021


Emerging Leaders of Color Logo

South Arts Emerging Leaders of Color Program Wraps

Wednesday, December 9th saw the successful close of the first cohort of the South Arts Emerging Leaders of Color Program (ELC). This program was reimagined for online delivery by the faculty, Salvador Acevedo, Margie Johnson Reese, and WESTAF Inclusion & Equity Division staff members Madalena Salazar and David Holland, in partnership with the program manager, Ethan Messere of South Arts. In this revised program, we were able to add new elements to the program, like the online resource guide (designed by 2015 Colorado ELC alumna Alexandria Jimenez), and invite additional facilitators, Shana Tucker and Ashley Renee Watkins. We are pleased to welcome the 12 participants from across the South Arts region into the ELC family.

ALLIANCES, ADVOCACY, & POLICY                  

Announcing New Arts and Economic Recovery Research

We are excited to announce new Arts and Economic Recovery research, conducted in collaboration with the (NASAA) and Douglas Noonan of IndianaCreative Economies Report University demonstrating how the arts strengthen the economy following periods of acute economic distress. In addition to utilizing Creative Vitality Suite™ data and in-depth qualitative research, WESTAF’s report, Creative Economies and Economic Recovery: Case Studies of Arts-Led Recovery and Resilience, features a collection of stories that demonstrate how communities small and large are harnessing their creative assets to grow economic opportunities and rebound from hard times. Profiles of diverse communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia showcase the creative economy in action. The report provides timely tools for cultural leaders looking to participate in recovery initiatives and advocate for federal, state, and local investment in the arts. At this time of economic uncertainty, the findings of this report offer the field evidence that the arts are an agile and resilient sector with the capacity to ignite job growth, reduce economic risk through diversification, stimulate commerce, and attract tourism.

Registration Now Open for 2021 Virtual Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar

WESTAF’s 2021 (virtual!) Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar (ALAS) will take place February 24 and 25, 2021. The event has been reformatted to feature four virtual sessions, including a panel discussion and a participant Q&A session, that are inspired by the seminar format used in past ALAS gatherings. Seminar topics will include developments in federal arts policy, western state engagement in federal arts policy, effective engagement of members of Congress, and a national reimagining of the field. The following full slate of panelists has been confirmed: Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy, League of American Orchestras; Hal Real, founder, World Cafe Live and board member, National Independent Venue Association; Allentza Michel, program officer, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Julie Baker, executive director, Californians for the Arts; Manny Cawaling, executive director, Inspire Washington (Washington); Lauren DeNinno, senior policy advisor, Western Governors’ Association; Laurel Sayer, CEO, Midas Gold Corp; Ashanti McGee, district representative, U.S. Representative Susie Lee; Karmen Rossi, deputy state director, military and veterans affairs for Congresswoman Liz Cheney; Cézanne Charles, co-founder, rootoftwo; Abdiel López, program officer, Center for Cultural Innovation; and Jen Cole, chief of staff, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Registration is now open and there is no cost to participate in the seminar.

WESTAF Contributes to Federal Policy Recommendations

In November 2020, WESTAF Director of Impact and Public Policy David Holland joined the Cultural Cultural Advocacy Group (CAG), the working group of national arts, humanities, and cultural stakeholders that collaborate year-round to advance federal policy priorities. This group was invited to submit a set of policy proposals to the Biden-Harris Transition’s Arts & Humanities Agency Review Team in early December. WESTAF endorsed this document as one of the organizations that contributed to its development. The document has been amended based on feedback from a group of regional and national organizations and a new version of The Arts and Cultural Sector: Federal Policy Actions based on this feedback is being disseminated for endorsement.

WESTAF Invited to Join AFTA Inclusive Creative Economy Working Group

After serving on the Creative Economy Working Group organized by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) since late 2019, David Holland was recently invited to join the Inclusive Creative Economy Working Group, a new group formed to respond to the strategy that arose from the former process. The group, which met for the first time on Thursday, December 10, includes representatives from a range of organizations within and outside of the arts including companies like Kickstarter and Etsy, sister regional arts organization NEFA, economic development funder Rural LISC, and others. In the WESTAF region, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Economic Security Project, and LA County Arts and Culture also serve on the new group.

WESTAF TECHNOLOGY                                      

CVSuite™ Data Update

On December 10, CVSuite data was updated to sync with our data provider Economic Modeling Specialists International’s (Emsi) data version 2020.3. CVSuite updates its data throughout the year when new data become available from Emsi. When these data are released, we retroactively update all of the data years on the site with current, more accurate data so that year-over-year trends continue to be comparable.

Power Map: Historical Mural Activations
The Public Art Archive recently launched the online exhibition of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Power Map: Historical Mural Activations. Power Map is a series of public projects and events inspired by imagery from the first 20 years of Mural Arts Philadelphia. Organized by curator-in-residence Daniel Tucker, these activations took place virtually and on site at select murals between the summer of 2019 and fall of 2020.

Lives that Bind: A Restorative Justice Installation
The Public Art Archive also launched the online exhibition of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs’ Lives That Bind: a restorative justice installation. The exhibit, which features artworks that are all part of Santa Monica’s Art Bank collection, includes major names such as Kerry James Marshall, Alfredo Ramos-Martinez, and Alison Saar as well as other local emerging and established BIPOC artists such as Umar Rashid and Emma Robbins.

CaFÉ™ Moves To Braintree

CaFÉ’s payment processing has been moved from PayPal to Braintree, a service owned by PayPal. This update improves security, allows artists to store payment types for easier checkout, and aligns the checkout process with ZAPP.


TourWest 2021 Grant Cycle Now Open!

WESTAF’s TourWest 2021-2022 grant program officially launched on February 10, 2021. Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, TourWest provides subsidies to arts and community organizations within the 13-state WESTAF region for the presentation of touring performers and literary artists. Grant awards are $2,500 or 50% of the overall project expenses, whichever is less, and require a one-to-one cash match by the presenting organization. Projects must take place between September 1, 2021 and August 31, 2022 and must include both a public performance and an educational outreach activity. A one-time exception will be available for the 2021-2022 cycle to applicants experiencing difficulties booking out-of-state artists due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants are eligible to apply for the presentation of in-state touring artists traveling at least 50 miles to your venue. Artists located within 50 miles of your venue will not be considered touring artists and therefore will not be eligible for this grant. Performances and educational outreach activities can take place in person if COVID-19 state restrictions are lifted to permit social gatherings. TourWest values the safety of our presenters and performers and encourages all applicants to review their state guidelines before applying and keep informed if awarded a TourWest grant. Out-of-state artistic performances and educational outreach activities are also eligible to take place in a virtual setting. Applications are due by April 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time.

CNMI CARES Relief Fund for Artists and Organizations

Established through a partnership with WESTAF and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Arts Council (CNMI), and supported by theCNMI CARES Relief Logo National Endowment for the Arts, the CNMI Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Relief Fund for Artists launched on December 14, 2020. This relief grant program provides support to eligible artists whose projects have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Northern Mariana Islands. Grants will be awarded in the range of $2000-$5000. The CNMI CARES Relief Fund for Organizations remains open to eligible 501(c)3 nonprofit cultural organizations in the Mariana Islands. Both applications can be found at cnmicares.gosmart.org and will be due quarterly and awarded on a first come, first serve basis throughout 2021. The first deadline was January 30, 2021, and selected grantees will be contacted in February. The next quarterly deadline for artists and organizations is April 30, 2021.

STATE ARTS AGENCY NEWS                             

WESTAF-Region States Disburse $85 Million to Date in Arts and Culture Relief Funds

The total in state-directed relief funds directly supporting arts and culture and administered by state arts agencies has risen to over $85 million across the region, including:

  • Arizona: $2 million in state relief funds allocated to the Arizona Commission on the Arts
  • Colorado: $7.5 million in state relief funding recently awarded to Colorado Creative Industries
  • Montana: Montana Arts Council’s CARES program received supplemental support from the Montana Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning to meet demand for their grants to individuals and organizations
  • Nevada: The Nevada Governor’s Office for Economic Development disbursed pandemic relief funding to arts and culture organizations (and other nonprofits and businesses) through the $40 million Pandemic Emergency Technical Support (PETS) grant program and partnered with the Nevada Arts Council to offer technical assistance.
  • Oregon: $50 million relief package for Oregon culture
  • Utah: $19.5 million allocation of state relief funds to the Utah Division of Arts and Museums through the Create in Utah program
  • Washington: $3.4 million relief grant program delivered by Washington State Arts Commission and the Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Wyoming: The Wyoming Arts Council received $2.4 million from the Wyoming Governor’s Office through the CARES Act for arts and cultural relief.

These state arts agencies have shown tremendous leadership in making the case for the value of arts and culture and their need for support during this period of extreme disruption, and there looks to be more good news on the horizon in other states:

  • California: Notably, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s $575 million Early Action Budget proposal, part of a $4.5 billion recovery proposal, includes $25 million for small cultural institutions, such as museums and art galleries, that have been constrained by the pandemic in their ability to educate the community and remain financially viable to be disbursed by California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Funding for a new California Creative Corps Program, a modern creative workforce program (what some might call a “WPA-style program”), is also included in the budget proposal to be launched by California Arts Council.

WESTAF continues to facilitate knowledge sharing through the Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN); produce periodically updated briefings on developments in pandemic relief funding; and participate in regular and ongoing dialogues with state arts advocates on strategies for securing state relief funding for the arts and cultural sector including individual artists.

WESTAF Community highlights                  

Teniqua BroughtonTeniqua Broughton Receives ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Servant-Leadership Award

WESTAF Board Vice Chair Teniqua Broughton was recently honored as the 2021 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership awardee as a part of Arizona State University’s 36th annual MLK Jr. Celebration, for their influential work in arts education, women’s and homeless shelters, and advocacy for minority students. Awardees were selected by the ASU MLK Jr. Committee for their servant leadership: a philosophy of serving first, then leading as a way of expanding service. Way to go and congratulations, Teniqua!

Leah Horn Elected Chair of Denver County Cultural Council

Leah Horn WESTAF’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Leah Horn, has been elected Chair of the Denver County Cultural Council (DCCC), the first woman of color to lead the Council. The DCCC is a board authorized by the State of Colorado and appointed by Denver City Council to distribute Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Tier III revenues to science and cultural organizations in Denver. Leah joined the Council in 2016 and previously served as secretary and vice chair. She officially assumed the role of Chair in October 2020. Part of the Council’s focus this year includes revising its discretionary funding grants (5% of the SCFD Denver Tier III allocation) to better support and address the needs of Tier III organizations that have been deeply impacted by COVID-19.

Madalena Salazar Selected as New Executive Director of Working Classroom

Madalena Salazar, WESTAF’s manager of social responsibility and inclusion, has been selected to lead the Albuquerque-based arts and educationMadalena Salazar nonprofit Working Classroom as its executive director. Madalena’s work at WESTAF has been transformative, and those who have worked with her know of her immense contributions to WESTAF over the years, as well as her passion and unwavering dedication to equity and social justice. Madalena is an alumnus of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color and in her time with us, spent three years as the manager of the IMTour and TourWest programs. As the SRI manager, she has supported a move toward greater funding equity in WESTAF’s grant programs, the continued growth of the Emerging Leaders of Color program, and the active engagement of its alumni network. She has set the bar for what our sector should be expecting from WESTAF’s commitment to this work.

Madalena is also the founder and principal of the Albuquerque-based creative consulting business 3rd Space Vision LLC. Previously, she was the first Latino cultural programs coordinator for the Denver Art Museum and an educator, administrator, and advocate for the Brooklyn Museum, the Community College of Denver, and the University of New Mexico. She is a moderator for the Albuquerque-based Coffee + Creatives group and was a member of Denver’s Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Denver Art Museum’s Latino Alliance. She was a founding member of Denver’s LatinasGive! philanthropic group. This past November, she was appointed by the Mayor of Albuquerque to represent her district on the governing committee of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, a public endowment that funds projects that enhance and enrich the cultural environment in the city. We will miss you dearly, Madalena—but are so excited for this next chapter for you and all that you will bring to the Working Classroom!

Seyan Lucero

Seyan Lucero Departs WESTAF After 17 Years

Director of Business Strategy Seyan Lucero is moving on from WESTAF to pursue a career in high tech. Seyan’s work at WESTAF made an unprecedented impact in technological innovation for the arts. Seyan joined WESTAF in 2004 as a technology associate and quickly rose to the rank of senior project manager. During her tenure, she launched several successful software-as-a-service platforms, including ZAPPlication.org, CallForentry.org, GOSmart.org, and several custom CultureGrants systems. Serving thousands of arts organizations and over 300,000 artists across the nation, Seyan’s vision and thought leadership in technology have become part of WESTAF’s DNA. She excelled in creating processes where none existed and developed project management, customer management, and cost-tracking systems to support the growing work at WESTAF.

As associate director, Seyan managed the regional touring funds for WESTAF, allocating over $800,000 annually in National Endowment for the Arts funds to support the regional touring and performing arts. In 2018, Arts Northwest recognized Seyan for her tireless dedication to the performing arts by awarding her the Coyote Award. Throughout her career at WESTAF, she provided the through-line between the business and alliances divisions and offered support for WESTAF’s multicultural work to ensure the alignment of business and technology with WESTAF’s social responsibility initiatives. As the director of business strategy, Seyan implemented an Objectives and Key Result (OKR) framework, providing a blueprint to help WESTAF fulfill its strategic plan. During her tenure at WESTAF, she provided mentorship to dozens of individuals and led several teams towards success, blending creativity with logic and infusing equity into all facets of the organization. We wish her the best in her new adventures!

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.

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