WESTAF Now Newsletter | February 2022

WESTAF Now | February 2022 header

Social Responsibility & inclusion           

the top of the colorado state capital with the US and CO flag flying

State of Colorado Taps WESTAF Trustee Brandy Reitter as New State Broadband Director

WESTAF Trustee and Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) alumna Brandy Reitter will serve as the next executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office. As the state prepares for significant increases in funding to expand high-speed broadband connectivity efforts in Colorado, Reitter will lead the state’s broadband strategy during a time of robust advancement and development of Internet connectivity—particularly for rural areas. “Working in municipal government has given me a window into how challenging broadband expansion can be for underserved communities,” Reitter said. “I am excited to collaborate with local and regional leaders to ensure that every home, business, school, library and medical center has access to high speed Internet.”

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Emerging Leaders of Color Alumni to Manage Equity Gathering at WESTAF Board Meeting 

In conjunction with the Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) meetings that will precede the Board of Trustees meetings in Honolulu Hawai’i February 22-24, the Social Responsibility and Inclusion (SRI) team is designing an equity gathering in partnership with members of Hawai’i-based ELC alumni and staff of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture & the Arts (SFCA). The gathering will bring together invited stakeholders from Hawai’i, the Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Equity Cohort and the SRI team for a robust conversation on the current and future state of race and equity issues in Hawai’i. The sessions will be grounded in community building and seek to create a broad agenda and next steps driven by those who are closest to them. 


WESTAF and South Arts Conduct Second Southern Emerging Leaders of Color Program
WESTAF, in partnership with South Arts, completed implementation of the second ELC cohort in the Southern region, January 31 – February 2 and February 4. Visiting faculty members Salvador Acevedo, Margie Reese, and Madalena Salazar, along with WESTAF staff Jade Elyssa Cariaga, David Holland, Anika Kwinana and Ashanti McGee and South Arts staff Ethan Messere and Joy Young, met to finalize a revised core curriculum and plan new aspects of the sessions.

ALLIANCES, ADVOCACY & Policy             

WESTAF & WAAN Submit Written Testimony to the House Small Business Committee in Response to Hearing on the Creative Economy

On February 3rd, WESTAF and the Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN) submitted outside written testimony to the U.S. Senate House Committee on Small Business urging the Committee, who supported the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, to continue providing increased COVID-19 relief and recovery support efforts for the creative economy. In addition, the testimony expressed general support for seven pieces of legislation in Congress related to the creative economy. The testimony was drafted by WESTAF in consultation with the WAAN group and other key stakeholders in the 13 states in the region. WESTAF invited Be An Arts Hero/Arts Workers United to attend a recent WAAN meeting prior to the hearing to lead a discussion on the U.S. Congress House Small Business Committee hearing on the creative economy, The Power, Peril, and Promise of the Creative Economy, which they spearheaded with broad-based support across the field. The January 19, 2022 hearing centered on seven pieces of legislation related to the creative economy currently being considered by Congress: the Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce (PLACE) Act, Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA), Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act, 21st Century Writers Act, Saving Transit Art Resources (STAR) Act, Performing Artists Tax Parity Act (PATPA), and Arts Education for All (AEFA) Act. Rebuilding America’s Arts Infrastructure, a set of Cultural Advocacy Group (CAG) policy recommendations developed with participation from WESTAF, was used by the Small Business Committee to frame the content of the hearing. 

WESTAF Endorses Visa Policy Working Group Recommendations for U.S. Immigration Multi-Agency Stakeholder Engagement Meeting 

In its continued engagement with performing artist visas and the Performing Arts Visa Working Group (PAVWG), WESTAF endorses a set of consensus recommendations drafted by the legal counsel of Tamizdat which aim to make improvements to the visa process as quickly as possible within the existing framework of policies and regulations. These written recommendations will be presented by a representative of the PAVWG at a multi-agency stakeholder engagement meeting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection later this month.

WESTAF WEB SERVICES                                 

ZAPP Annual Survey to Inform Future Improvements

The ZAPP team has been hard at work creating annual surveys for both administrators and artists that focus on evaluating the effectiveness of certain ZAPP offerings as well as making business improvements and efforts to better understand the program’s customer base. These insights will prove to be invaluable to ZAPP as future improvements continue to be made.

Recharge the arts call for entry

CaFÉ to Highlight Artwork from Recharge the Arts Call

Recognizing the hardship that the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, climate change, and more has brought to the artist community, the team is thrilled to highlight the vibrant artwork of CaFÉ artists over the last two years! Artwork will be featured throughout each week on our Instagram page—be sure to follow along @callforentry!

CaFÉ Celebrates Major Milestone

CaFÉ recently celebrated an exciting milestone with the listing of its 10,000th call with lucky customer Edmonds Arts Festival. The Edmonds Arts Festival has grown from a small community art fair to one of the most prestigious in the Pacific Northwest, attracting artists from across the nation and Canada. The Festival’s juried Gallery Arts exhibit is always very popular, with 160+ artist booths in an outdoor venue overlooking Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

Public Art Archive Partners with Sarah Conley Odenkirk to House the Public Art in Private Development Database

The Public Art Archive (PAA) team is excited to announce a new partnership with Sarah Conley Odenkirk, the founder of ArtConverge, an Art Law practice, who is now a partner in CDAS’s Entertainment group with a core practice in fine art. After many years of building the robust Public Art in Private Development (PAPD) database, used by many practitioners in the public art field to research and leverage existing policy documents, Odenkirk and the Public Art Archive team have begun developing a plan to migrate the database into PAA’s network of resources and assume control of its maintenance and future additions. While the initial goal is to migrate the existing resources, the WESTAF’s business team and technology teams plan to build upon this existing dataset to ultimately house documents relating to percent for art policies and many other arts-related documentation that can support advocacy and cultural planning activities.

CVSuite™ to Add 2020 Data

CVSuite completes updates throughout the year as new data becomes available from our data provider, Emsi. With 2020 data newly available, CVSuite will 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. Look for updates to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes this spring!

Exciting Updates to GO Smart™ Site

The GO Smart team recently made several improvements to the site, including a refresh of the Program Cycles editor and replacement of drop-down date menus with a modern date picker.

WESTAF Community NEWS                          

Expanded Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy Team

WESTAF now has a larger and reimagined Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy (AAP) team! Led by Deputy Director David Holland, the expanded team will allow for a deeper investment in year-round state and federal arts advocacy and support of the 13 state arts agencies in the West, as well as increased capacity to facilitate regional and national dialogue on contemporary policy issues that affect the arts. The AAP division leads a variety of efforts, including conducting arts policy research, delivering professional development programs for state arts agencies, advancing and supporting the work of arts advocates, and convening thought leaders in the field. The division connects, coordinates, and mobilizes a national western network of artists, administrators, public officials, and influencers within and outside the arts field to build awareness of arts-related issues to drive legislation and policy.




National Endowment for the Arts American Rescue Plan Grants to Organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently announced $57,750,000 in grant funding from the American Rescue Plan to arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the Pandemic. This funding will be used to save jobs and fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. Read more about this announcement and view the complete list of recommended organizations.

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National Endowment for the Arts Announces over $33 Million in Project Funding for Organizations Worldwide

The NEA also recently announced the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2022, with 1,498 awards totaling nearly $33.2 million. Grants for Arts Projects funding spans 15 artistic disciplines and reaches communities in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Recipients of the Challenge America grant program, NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation, and support for arts research projects are also included in this announcement.

View the full release

NEFA Executive Director to Step Down After Seven Years

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Executive Director Cathy Edwards will step down in May 2022 after seven years. “NEFA has benefitted from Cathy’s strategic vision around programs and partnerships, her collaborative approach to working with the staff and the board, and her extraordinary fundraising successes. The Strategic Plan she oversaw has led to new programs, operational sustainability, endowed funds to support us into the future, and a clear commitment to equity and justice at the core of our work,” said Board Chair John Henry. Edwards intends to pursue personal creative projects for the coming year.


Mid Atlantic Arts Launches Performing Arts Global Exchange Grant Program
Bringing international artists to your stage has never been easier. Through the Performing Arts Global Exchange (PAGE) program, U.S. presenters nationwide can receive free support grants to present select dance, music, and theater artists from the PAGE Australia and New Zealand roster. No application necessary! Presenters are encouraged to secure artist engagements as soon as possible by directly contacting the artists’ agents. Deadline: April 25, 2022

Learn more and see the full roster

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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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