WESTAF Now Newsletter | June 2021

By June 17, 2021July 1st, 2021No Comments
WESTAF Now June 2021

ARP INTENT TO APPLY NOW OPEN                  

American Rescue Plan Fund for Organizations Now Accepting Intents to Apply

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts (Arts Endowment), WESTAF will manage the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Fund for Organizations. WESTAF ARP is a competitive grant program that provides general operating support to arts and cultural organizations in the West that are most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In alignment with Arts Endowment priorities, WESTAF ARP will focus on funding to organizations that serve and/or are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities, among others. Awards will be made to organizations across the 13-state WESTAF region, with at least one grant awarded per state. This program will disburse grants at an average level of $50,000 each.

WESTAF is now accepting Intents to Apply from interested organizations. We strongly encourage potential applicants to notify us of their intent to submit an application. Applicants that do not submit a notice of intent to apply may still apply for funding; applicants that do submit a notice of intent to apply are not bound to apply or bound by the information provided. Intents to Apply must be submitted by June 28, 2021. The full application process is tentatively scheduled to launch in July 2021. Please visit westafarp.gosmart.org to create a profile and submit your Intent to Apply.

INCLUSION & EQUITY                                        

Check Out Our New Leaders of Color Website!

We are so pleased to share that we now have a website to highlight the leaders committed to advancing cultural equity in arts administration who have come through WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program. Visit www.artslead.org to get to know the alumni, their contributions, projects, and affiliations and to learn more about the ELC program’s history, goals and impacts. Big thanks to the Leaders of Color Advisory Committee as well as all the alumni who shared their information. We have plans to expand the site over the summer, so stay tuned!

Artist for WESTAF Women’s Suffrage Mural Project Selected

To mark the centennial of the landmark legislation that granted women the right to vote, WESTAF is commissioning the creation of a mural related to Women’s Suffrage. Led by Public Art Archive™ Program Manager Lori Goldstein and supported by the SRI Team, the project is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. A 9-member panel determined the top 2 submissions from 15 applicants and, in early June, selected Denver artist Adri Norris for this project. A mural or series of murals will be painted in a highly trafficked site in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. Significant project goals include the engagement of BIPOC and women artists and collaborators that bring contemporary perspectives to the public realm; achieving a visually engaging design that becomes a platform for educational outreach; and involving the local creative economy in the development, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of the project. The panel’s rubric included:

  • Demonstrated interest in community collaboration(s) & partnership(s): demonstrates meaningful community partnership(s) and clearly articulates the community partner(s)’ relationship to and potential role in realizing the proposed project.
  • Feasibility: exemplifies the lead artist(s) readiness to implement this project by September 30, 2021. Provides a thoughtful work plan, including examples of prior experience that are beneficial to the success of this project.
  • Community of practice: demonstrates interest from the lead artist(s) in fully engaging in the Montbello community to develop their socially engaged public art practice and contribute to strengthening a community of practice.


Announcing the 2021 Performing Arts Discovery Program

The U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, led by WESTAF, and the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) are pleased to announce a virtual international showcase opportunity for performing artists. This opportunity is part of the National Endowment for the Arts Performing Arts Discovery (PAD) program. The National Endowment for the Arts launched the PAD program in 2015 to promote U.S. artists to international programmers, festival directors, and venue managers. In this first round, PAD will select 10 artists to showcase virtually at this year’s Western Arts Alliance and Arts Midwest Conferences. Later this year, a second round will seek an additional 20 artists and ensembles for additional showcase opportunities. All 30 groups will also be featured on a dedicated platform and included in selected international online showcases. Applications are open to all U.S.-based performing artists with readiness to tour internationally. PAD encourages those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and/or LGBTQ+ to apply. Performing artists from all traditional and contemporary art forms are encouraged to apply, including musicians, hip-hop artists, spoken word artists, dancers, and performance groups. Learn more on the WAA website.

WESTAF State Arts Agency Professional Development Series Features Creative Community Building Process

Kevin Yoshida and Bill Marino of the Creativity Lab Colorado will lead the first session of WESTAF’s state arts agency professional development program series in early July titled “Building Momentum: Storyboarding for Creative Communities.” The session will “share a field-tested framework to align stakeholders and help move community transformation forward” that has shown particular success in communities that are forming creative districts. WESTAF delivers regular professional development programs that provide valuable learning and networking opportunities for state arts agency staff in WESTAF member states. These sessions are designed to provide insights into emerging trends in the field for the spectrum of state arts agency staff. This year, to offer more flexibility and serve more of our colleagues at state arts agencies, we are offering a series of professional development experiences online.

Creative Economy and Economic Recovery Research Featured in Governing (Magazine)

NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu authored an article recently published in Governing that builds on WESTAF’s Creative Economy and Economic Recovery research released early this year that shows how the creative sector helps communities rebound from economic disruption. This article elevates the arts and creativity with a national audience of policymakers while amplifying groundbreaking research.

Red bridge

Rebuilding America’s Arts Infrastructure

A coalition of national arts advocates, including WESTAF, have developed a new set of policy recommendations that aim to demonstrate to the U.S. Congress and Administration the role of the arts within the broad context of economic recovery and how the arts can be of service in addressing federal priorities for infrastructure development. By providing context, background, and specific suggestions, these arts stakeholders aim to ensure that the arts are considered within federal investments in the nation’s infrastructure. This statement aligns the recovery of the arts sector directly with infrastructure and jobs proposals currently being deliberated by the Administration and members of Congress. The intent of this statement is to encourage elected officials to:

  • Integrate creative placekeeping, public art, and creative workforce opportunities into plans to upgrade transportation infrastructure.
  • Invest in the creative workforce by supporting efforts that stabilize employment, expand protections, and address systemic discrimination and exclusion from pathways to participation in the creative workforce.
  • Designate libraries and arts and cultural centers as hubs for the provision of high-speed broadband to low income and rural communities as part of plans to open up access.
  • Designate cultural facilities as eligible for investments aimed to upgrade homes, commercial buildings, schools, and federal buildings.
  • Support efforts to reopen the creative economy to support innovation and job creation.
  • Integrate creative workers more fully into the federal disaster response system.


TourWest Logo

TourWest Decisions Finalized

The 2021-2022 TourWest decisions have been finalized and sent out to applicants. To be responsive to the needs of the field, the team increased the TourWest grant allocation this year and will be able to fund a higher percentage of requests. This year’s program also made accommodations for virtual and in-state performances to give organizations flexibility as we move toward safe reopenings. The panel, made up of ten performing arts leaders from the West familiar with nonprofit presenting and the goals of the TourWest program, conducted a full review of all applications virtually on May 14th, and the funding allocations have been approved. Grantees will be listed on the WESTAF site at a later date.

WESTAF WEB SERVICES                                   

The Perfect Summer Road Trip

In early May, CVSuite launched its third Creative Vitality List, “6 Can’t-Miss Public Art Stops of the Southwest.” In this edition of the CVList, CVSuite and the Public Art Archive teamed up to explore cities with public art collections that represent the promise and complexity of the region, chronicle stories of creative vitality, and embrace the unique identity and diversity of the arts and people in the Southwest. Using data from WESTAF’s CVSuite creative economy data tool, the list provides regional creative economy statistics for each of the six different cities with public art collections as a way to interact and experience the local creative economy first-hand. Plan your summer road trip now!

The Public Art Archive is pleased to announce new features and functionality to improve explorability on both desktop and mobile sites. These include the launch of collection-specific web apps, available at a low cost for any public art program with artwork details in the PAA database, used for finding public art on the go; the ability to highlight particular pins on the map to better locate specific works of art; the ability for users to search the contents of PAA by placement types such as libraries, airports, and municipal buildings.

WESTAF’s Grant Administration Software

Does your organization offer grant funding of any kind? GO Smart, WESTAF’s cloud-based grant administration software program, was created specifically for grantmakers in the arts and could help you streamline your grantmaking significantly. Tell us a bit about your needs and find out if GO Smart is the right fit for your organization!

May Blog Featuring Arts Council of Anne Arundel County

GO Smart recently kicked off its first blog in a series of client spotlights with a Q&A with the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County’s own Tricia Sanborn. Check out the blog post and read more about how the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County uses GO Smart to propel its work forward.

WESTAF TRUSTEES                                            

BoT Meeting

Spring Board Meeting

WESTAF’s board of trustees met virtually May 17-18 for their spring meeting. The development committee put forward two new trustee candidates Candace Kita (Oregon) and Adrian San Miguel (Idaho), both of whom were unanimously voted onto the board and will be attending their first WESTAF board meeting in Denver in October. The Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) learned about new committee leadership plans and continued discussions around WESTAF’s Guiding Principles. Trustees also received updates from the Business department as well as the Alliances, Advocacy and Policy (AAP) and Social Responsibility and Inclusion (SRI) divisions and were briefed on WESTAF’s foundation fundraising status and strategy.

Vice Chair Teniqua Broughton Receives a Well-Deserved Accolad

We are excited to share that WESTAF Vice Chair/Chair Elect and CEO of VerveSimone Consulting Teniqua Broughton has been recognized as one of Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders, class of 2021. We are so proud—Congratulations, Teniqua!

WESTAF Community NEWS                           

Lani Morris

Lani Morris Departs WESTAF

TourWest Grants Manager Lani Morris recently left WESTAF to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice as a master of social work candidate. She will be completing her field course work as an intern at the Mural Arts Porch Light Program, where she will continue to work at the intersections of art and social justice with a focus in community wellness, progress, and growth. She will also be pursuing a global human rights certificate. Lani made many significant contributions to WESTAF over her nearly four years with the organization. She started in part-time customer service and ended in grants and accessibility management. She also collaboratively led WESTAF’s internal equity work and supported many of our programs and internal committees. We wish Lani all the best in this new and exciting chapter!

WESTAF Brand Awareness Survey

WESTAF’s communications cohort wants to hear from you! We are currently conducting research to help inform how we can best serve our many stakeholders in the field—so we need your valuable feedback! Please take a few moments to complete this short eight-question survey on WESTAF’s brand, programs, and services and help us by sharing with your networks. The survey will close on Friday, July 30 at 5:00 p.m. MDT.


Spark! Places of Innovation is a new traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution that will dive into innovation and invention happening in rural America. The exhibition will travel from 2023 to 2029, sharing these stories with thousands of visitors in rural communities throughout America. They’re looking for ideas that lead to innovations or inventions that are changing towns for the better—sparks that could be the inspiration for other rural communities. What innovations and inventions are happening where you live? Submit your story!

Fourteen WESTAF-Region Organizations Receive National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grants

We are excited to share that 14 organizations in the WESTAF region are part of 61 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2021-2022 NEA Big Read grant. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The 2021-2022 NEA Big Read grantees are located in 28 states, with 43 percent of the organizations located in communities with populations under 50,000. Nearly half (44 percent) of the recipients are first-time recipients of an NEA Big Read grant. Each organization is receiving a matching grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Congratulations to all of the recipients!

NEA Big Read 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