Greetings WESTAF trustees and staff:
Hope everyone had a relaxing long weekend and is ready to finally ease into summer. This weekend, I drove out to Naturita, CO where we camped, swam, inner tubed and checked out some cool art at CampV. Hope you found a way to relax, too! It was a great break after a busy few weeks. Hot off the press this morning, this article in Governing Magazine is by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NASAA CEO Pam Breaux, and uses the example of the rebound from Hurricane Katrina to show the arts sector’s contribution to community resilience. The recent report from the Western States Arts Federation in collaboration with NASAA and Indiana University is prominently mentioned in the article — really wonderful recognition! Here’s a recap of the last few weeks at WESTAF…
WESTAF SPRING TRUSTEES MEETING AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS (CG)
Committees and the full board met last week to do the work of the organization, and much was accomplished! 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 meeting in October — welcome to the WESTAF board of trustees, Candace and Adrian! (and welcome to your first biweekly!). The EIC met new WESTAFfers Anika Kwinana and Cameron Green, learned about new committee leadership plans and picked up their discussion around the WESTAF Guiding Principles. Trustees also received illuminating Business and AAP/SRI presentations followed by some spirited and thoughtful discussion, as well as an update on WESTAF’s foundation fundraising status and strategy. Speaking of fundraising…
MURDOCK TRUST AWARDS GRANT TO WESTAF TO SUPPORT EXPANSION OF ALLIANCES, ADVOCACY, AND PUBLIC POLICY TEAM (DH)
At their board meeting on May 27, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarded WESTAF a multiyear grant of $146,850 to support a new manager position in the Alliances, Advocacy, and Public Policy (AAP) division over three years through their Strategic Project Grants Program. Christian and David engaged leaders at the Trust over many months, and the pair, alongside Amy Hollrah and board officers Tamara Alvarado, Teniqua Broughton, and Mike Lange, attended a virtual site visit with members of their Programs team in February. Please keep this confidential at this time.
OUR VICE CHAIR/CHAIR ELECT TENIQUA BROUGHTON GETS A WELL-DESERVED ACCOLADE (CG)
It’s no surprise to us, of course, but Teniqua Broughton of VerveSimone Consulting has received another award — this time, Teniqua has become a part of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders, class of 2021. We are so proud — congratulations, Teniqua!
TRUSTEE MEGAN MILLER HAS GRADUATE SCHOOL PLANS (CG)
WESTAF board member and director of communications at Burning Man Megan Miller was recently accepted to the Executive Masters in Cities program at the London School of Economics. It’s a relatively new program, both online and in person, that’s equal parts urban planning, public policy, and leadership training. Megan will be able to take what she’s learned building a city in the Nevada desert each year into this innovative new LSE advanced program. Congratulations, Megan!
WESTAF ALL-TEAM MEETING (CG)
Seems like a long way off now, but last Monday 5/17, the WESTAF staff got together over Zoom for the second of our thrice-annual all-team meetings in the lead up to our board meeting. It was a full agenda, where we got to welcome new WESTAFers Anika Kwinana, Cameron Green, Blair Carpenter, Lily Gately and Paul Barrow, recruit for our strategic planning cohorts and organizational committees and get a sneak preview of the agenda for the upcoming board of trustees meeting, including a business presentation from Christina Villa and an overview of the American Rescue plan and the evolving staff structure of the AAP and SRI divisions. The last part of the meeting featured a “creating a feedback-rich environment” discussion from coach Val Atkin, as we strive to become a more 360 feedback-centered work community utilizing the Insights evaluation tool.
CREATIVITY LAB COLORADO TO LEAD FIRST SESSION OF WESTAF STATE ARTS AGENCY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES (DH)
Kevin Yoshida and Bill Marino of the Creativity Lab Colorado will lead the first session of a 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 who are forming creative districts. The group has worked with WESTAF’s state arts agency partners Colorado Creative Industries and ArtsWA to provide support around the formation of creative districts and/or provide resources for arts and culture constituents.
NASAA TO PRESENT ON POLITICAL MESSAGING AT NEXT WESTERN ARTS ADVOCACY NETWORK MEETING (DH)
Kelly Barsdate, Chief Program and Planning Officer at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), and David met to plan an upcoming session with the Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN) in which she will discuss the new messaging framework Arts and Creativity Strengthen our Nation and effectively engaging elected officials across the political spectrum.
WESTAF IN CONVERSATIONS WITH ADVOCACY TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER QUORUM ABOUT TOOLS TO BOLSTER OUR CAPACITY FOR GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY AND STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT (DH)
Following months of discussion, Leah and David met with representatives from Quorum, a public affairs software company, to discuss their service offering and its use cases to support grassroots advocacy campaigns, the Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar in future years, and related activities. David is considering initial use of the tool as part of FY22 budget planning for AAP.
FY21 FEDERAL ADVOCACY FUNDS PROGRAM LAUNCHED (MH)
Moana and David have launched the FY21 Federal Advocacy Funds program and are currently working with partners across the 13 states to disburse awards.
WESTAF AND DISART ENGAGE IN A DEEPER EXPLORATION OF FUTURE SESSIONS FOR WESTAF BOARD AND STAFF ON DISABILITY CULTURE (AK/DH)
Anika Kwinana and David Holland met with Chris Smit and Jill Vyn of DisArt to further plan upcoming training sessions for Board members, the Equity and Inclusion Committee and for WESTAF staff, respectively, on disability culture. With a goal of launching the sessions in early August, they will include an experience survey to gather more information on our collective knowledge and practice in the disability culture space. Training sessions will be designed for these specific audiences: board members and EIC as it relates to strategic direction and visioning; and, WESTAF staff for practical uses in business and programs. For WESTAF staff, the intention is to culminate the training with case studies that will help respective teams, led by the Leadership Resource Team, to consider practical uses for these new skills. Anika and David will engage with leadership to further plan for these sessions.
WESTAF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MURAL PROJECT PANEL SELECTS AND INTERVIEWS TWO SHORTLISTED FINALISTS (LG/LM/AK/DH)
To mark the centennial of the landmark legislation that granted women the right to vote, WESTAF will commission the creation of a mural related to Women’s Suffrage in a highly trafficked site in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. A mural or series of murals will be painted along the canals located within the median across from the Montbello Student Campus near the intersection of Crown Boulevard and 51st Avenue. The selected site is central to many of those who reside in District 11 and will generate a great deal of traffic among school students and those who live and work in Montbello. This project was made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. 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. Led by Public Art Archive Program Manager Lori Goldstein, and supported by the SRI Team, the nine-member panel determined the top two submissions from 15 applicants for the W. On May 25, those two shortlisted applicants gave presentations and answered questions. The panel then submitted their final votes to be tabulated and announced in the first week of June. 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.
PERFORMING ARTS DISCOVERY ROUND 1 APPLICATION TO LAUNCH THIS WEEK (DH)
WESTAF is currently working closely with the Western Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and our sister RAOs to launch the reformulating Performing Arts Discovery Program. A national Steering Committee is currently being formed and sister RAOs are in the process of agreeing to the terms of the partnership. The application process for round one is expected to open later this week on June 2 or 3. In this first round, PAD will select 12 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 24 artists and ensembles for other showcase opportunities. All 36 groups will also be featured on a dedicated platform and included in selected international online showcases. The number of artists to be supported has been reduced from 60 to 36 to accommodate the program budget. Applications are open to music, dance, and theatre artists/ensembles with a demonstrated capacity to tour internationally. PAD will prioritize artists who self-identify as BIPOC/LGBTQ+ and encourages those who self-identify as BIPOC and 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. PAD will select artists by a panel review process, managed by WAA on behalf of the RAOs, and comprised of a diverse group of peers from across the country. When international touring is limited, the 2021 PAD program will sustain these efforts with virtual and online strategies to ensure U.S. artists have the resources and relationships to tour internationally when the travel is restored. The primary objective is the creation of 36 professionally produced live performance videos for international markets. As production begins, the PAD team will advance selected artists to review guidelines, introduce the remote recording and production process and confirm milestones related to completion and submission of videos. The PAD video producers will guide showcase artists through the recording process, provide production kits, and create a 15-minute video with contact information. In PAD’s first round, WAA and Arts Midwest will include selected showcase artists in their 2021 conferences. In 2022, PAD will build and promote a cloud-based platform to showcase the videos to overseas programmers. After the project, the artist owns the video.
WESTAF, BONFILS-STANTON FOUNDATION, AND DENVER ARTS & VENUES LAUNCH EQUITY DATA INITIATIVE (DH)
David met with Gary Steuer, President and CEO, Chrissy Deal, Director, Livingston Fellowship Program, Arts & Social Change Grantmaking, and Gina Ferrari, Director, Grants Program, of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and Tariana Navas-Nieves, Director of Cultural Affairs for Denver Arts and Venues, on May 21 to discuss the need for better data to inform the equity strategies of their organizations and those of other grantmakers and arts agencies in the Front Range region of Colorado. The group have devised a path forward and Gary, Tariana, and David have invited the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SFCD), Boulder Office of Arts & Culture, and Colorado Creative Industries to be involved in a series of initial data sharing and planning activities that could lead to a joint study examining demographic and other trends in the field in this region with a view to informing public policy and organizational strategies.
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION (AH)
The FY22 budget structures for both WESTAF and ZAPP budgets have been built. As a reminder, our fiscal year runs from Oct 1st to Sept 30th. Budget managers have the month of June to compile their first draft of the budget for review in July. An offer has been made for the full-time finance coordinator position which we hope to fill ASAP in June. Filling this position will free up Jess to focus 100% on her new position supporting Becca as Office Coordinator. In June, Becca is leading the transition from our current payroll provider to Paylocity. Our current payroll provider has poor customer service and is unable to handle some of our HR policies within their system. WESTAF is considering hiring staff who live in California. Becca and Amy have retained a HR legal expert on CA law to help us ensure compliance should this happen.
STRATEGIC PLAN (CGREEN)
The business cohort met on May 21 to go through and set-up a process for OKRs. The business department will now work on finalizing that process, so we can work on building out OKRs for FY22. The communications cohort has scheduled their next monthly meeting for the beginning of June. The cohort has worked to organize the research and materials collected over the year to move into the second phase of our project, compiling and presenting research, and onboarding new members. The policy cohort met this month to kick off the Regional Partner Handbook project. We are going to start by conducting a two-part survey for state art agencies and state advocacy organizations. The first part of the survey will gather information about the groups and help us identify the handbook’s audience. The second part of the survey will gather feedback about what kinds of resources would best be included in the handbook. We are drafting the first part of the survey now and plan to have it ready to send by our next meeting in June.
GENERAL BUSINESS (CV)
The business cohort decided to focus on strengthening and clarifying the OKR process, and over the last two weeks, the business team has worked to solidify definitions and create a timeline that coincides with FY22 budget planning, along with new resource templates and a process overview document, and a summary of the ways in which business OKRs can connect to the strategic plan. Christina is working with the teams to review and update sales collateral for all SaaS products.
Ken in sales is staying busy as inbound sales leads continue to stream in with an average of 20 per week. Our e-blast sales also continue to grow with more customers seeking to boost their applicant numbers. Justine is working on planned webinars and updating help material for the launch of the new admin UI, with the goal of helping to ease customers’ transition to the new look and feel. For the month of May, the featured blog was a highlight of 6 Can’t-Miss Public Art Stops of the Southwest to bring attention to CaFE’s sister programs, CVSuite and PAA, which many of our users may not be familiar with.
CVSuite launched a password reset enhancement May 26. This is the second of three planned upgrades to the tool this fiscal year. After further discussion with SMU DataArts, we have decided to keep open lines of communication but did not identify an immediate project on which we could partner. Christina and Kelly are continuing to work on the CVSuite Influencer Project, an initiative to get CVSuite data into the hands of influential researchers in the creative economy space.
GO SMART (JG)
Intense training and building has begun with Chenven Foundation for a launch date of June 1. Our client, the City of Atlanta, partnered with Bloomberg Associates to streamline their cumbersome application process and we have been contracted for 10 hours of time to work with their grant admin to rebuild the 2021 final reports according to Bloomberg’s recommendations. Development continues on the streamlined Program Cycles Editor, and we are exploring the fix for a minor bug that affects the caching of attached support materials.
PUBLIC ART ARCHIVE (LG)
PAA is expected to finalize the contract with Los Alamos County, NM after an extremely arduous contractual process for the past year. PAA released a series of new features, including responsive collection-specific web apps that can be launched for any collection of data within PAA (see: http://locate.publicartarchive.org/santamonica), the ability to perform a secondary search within a particular art collection, and responsive pin behavior on the Locate App that helps visitors to locate particular artworks on the map.
An exciting enhancement was released this week on ZAPP to improve our income breakdown reports. Customers can now use filters to more easily see the information they need, and, for the ZAPP and finance teams we can now easily pull all active licenses and events for a date range. We also added the option to email a large report instead of downloading directly from the site. In addition to these improvements, we fixed a few instances where entering a ‘0’ on the site would not allow a user to save.