Greetings WESTAF Board of Trustees:
Trust you all made it back safely from the BOT meeting in Salt Lake City. Thanks again for making the journey and participating so fully in the whirlwind of activity! I really loved it and I learn a lot.
Welcome Victoria Bourns
We’re thrilled to welcome Vicki Bourns, Director of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, on to the WESTAF Board of Trustees, effective immediately. Welcome, Vicki — we’re so glad to have you!
Public Art Archive Mentioned in TIME Magazine
Some of you might have seen the “Chiseled young Abraham Lincoln Statue” story sweep through your social media feeds — about the statue of a shirtless Abraham Lincoln at the Los Angeles federal courthouse about which the internet couldn’t seem to get enough (!). What you might not have noticed immediately was that the TIME Magazine story about it referenced WESTAF’s very own Public Art Archive. Go, PAA!
State Arts Agencies
Making some headway introducing myself to each SAA ED and my “acquaintance index” score has climbed from 37/65 to 42/65 in the last two weeks, which is progress! Had a really pleasant and productive meet ‘n’ greet calls with Jaime Dempsey (AZ), Ann Bown-Crawford (CA) and drinks with Margaret Hunt (CO). Have a call scheduled with Brian Rogers (OR) and Andrea Noble-Pelant (AK) and some visits in the works with EDs and BOT members in Idaho, Nevada, Washington and New Mexico, with some other visits pending. We’re in the process of scheduling a BOT meeting recap call with the SAA EDs for the last week in March, when we’ll also be discussing plans for the next SAA ED Forum among other items. Finally, we’re in the process of scheduling an SAA ED BOT Meeting Recap Call some time the week of 3/25. We also have our annual SAA Professional Development Seminar coming up July 25-26.
BAR CAT and Operationalizing the Strategic Plan
Have now presented the BAR CAT model to the Leadership Team, the whole WESTAF Team and BOT for review and feedback and it’s received generally positive reviews. Thanks to your feedback, the model is now stronger and better. Now working with Leadership Team to gradually implement into day-to-day WESTAF operations. We will be reviewing and updating several key docs including: Team Manual, Performance Evaluation Process, Style Guide and Travel Policy. Have received samples of Scoping Docs and will soon begin process of breaking down Years 1-2 of Strategic Plan into cohorts, cohort leaders and sponsors, tasks, timelines, deadlines, goals and metrics.
Director of Public Policy Position
We are finalizing the job description for this position (used to be called Deputy Director). We are taking advantage of this process to institute some best practices in preparing job descriptions. As soon as we have a finalized job description and job posting we will be distributing through our networks, as well as asking the BOT and SAA EDs to distribute to their networks as well. Our goal is to have a successful candidate identified for this position by August, 2019. In the meantime, thanks for not sharing with anyone until you hear from me!
WESTAF Archive Project
A detailed index of the WESTAF Archive (password: dinah), memos, correspondence, white papers, convening agendas and publications (all on file in the storage room at the WESTAF office) is now available for review. It is a great reference of the historic highlights of WESTAF work since 1974. As soon as we develop a process for making this material available to you we’ll let you know. Currently, it is not digitized (just indexed and cataloged online), but it’s still interesting and helpful!
Arts Advocacy Day
Arts Advocacy Day took place this past Tuesday, March 5. As you learned from AFTA and NASAA officials during their briefing at the BOT meeting, the NEA is requesting an additional $12.5MM for a total of $167.5MM in appropriation for FY20.
Update on Californians for the Arts/California Arts Advocates Meetings (2/5-6)
WESTAF is helping to support a handful of CFTA/CAA meetings across California as part of a statewide listening tour. Leah assisted with three of these meetings and recently participated in back-to-back meetings in Los Angeles and San Diego. The purpose of the meetings is to begin conversations with area funders about the important work of CFTA/CAA and to generate interest from these from funders and potential partners. The recent hiring of a part-time executive director presents opportunities for CFTA to be more effective in its work as the statewide advocacy organization; however, there is a need for sustainable, reliable funding in order to achieve this goal.
Grantmakers in the Arts
WESTAF will soon be joining Grantmakers in the Arts as a member of this useful organization, which will have its annual conference in October in Denver. We have submitted a session proposal on equity in Denver’s cultural funding process with Tony Garcia, Tariana Navas-Nieves and Deborah Jordy about the establishment of the inclusivity fund and its impact on organizations and the SCFD as a whole. We’re also planning to host a reception during the conference. As WESTAF begins to examine additional funding possibilities for social good and capacity building work, this conference is a good place for us to be.
ELC Program and DEI Advancement
Still working with SLC ZAP. Made a connection with Denver’s Biennial of the America’s Youth Congress to see if there might be any collaborative opportunities there. Continuing to move forward with the first major overall ELC program evaluation process. Zeroing in on ELC program October dates. Continued planning for the MAC meeting in Seattle on 4/16 and 4/17. Thank you, Teniqua Broughton, for your thoughtful work re-organizing the MAC as a committee of the BOT.
Rural Generations Conference
Working with fellow RAOs on matching funding from the NEA to facilitate attendance and participation in the Rural Generations Summit in Jackson, MS from 5/22-5/24, where we will join rural artists and community leaders from across the nation in the Mississippi Delta for the chance to vision a collective impact model that leverages social, cultural and natural resources to address sustainability, regional cohesion, and rural quality of life through arts and culture. WESTAF trustee Nikiko Musumoto also serves on the Rural Generation Working Group and is an inspirational leader in this important work.
ZAPP and CaFE
CaFE continues to trend well, and we’ve shown more than 100 demos to clients (fiscal year 19 to date), with 79 new clients added to the site. The launch of a responsive site in February has led to an increase in site traffic, demo requests, and has heightened the site’s visibility in search results. The team is continuing to work on its SEO for maximum exposure. ZAPP is focused on creating a responsive site for the front-end and has continued to see growth in pass-through revenue from festival and fair “sales,” which are generally submission fees and fees artists pay to secure their booth locations. Development for the new tool, ZAPP Next, will occur over the next several weeks based on feedback from beta users.
Update on CVSuite & GOSmart Interim Sales Initiatives
We currently have efforts in place for hot leads for both CVSuite and GO Smart. For GO Smart, we also recently kicked off a new email campaign with an introductory Valentine’s Day email to a newly created sales list. Our direct mail + email + blog campaign continues (postcard #3 dropped this week), and is beginning to generate some interest. For CVSuite, we are working on refining our sales lists for more targeted email campaigns and are also checking in with prospects who have previously downloaded reports on the site. Also in the works (for Q3) is a marketing campaign for a new product offering (EMSI reports). Finally, we’re working on a five-year marketing plan for CVSuite users to be able to get the most out of the data that they will be getting out of the system.
Plante Moran Rocky Mountain Nonprofit Survey
Our financial auditing firm completed this YOY survey of nonprofits in the Rocky Mountain region. Some interesting data reveals some shifting trends in the priorities of nonprofits in the region. Some highlights: fewer organizations reported revenue growth and more reported declines in 2018. More reported uncertainty for how the economy and tax/regulatory climate would impact their work moving forward.
In addition to Vicki’s appointment, we’ll be voting soon by email on another new BOT candidate — more to come on that soon. The next Executive Committee telephone conference meeting is scheduled for 3/27. As a reminder, the next BOT meeting will be held in Bozeman, MT on 5/15 and 5/16. Look forward to seeing most of you there!
That’s all for now. Thank you as always for your important work as a WESTAF Trustee!