Because public support for the arts is vital to the arts community, WESTAF continues to invest in and build capacity for state-level and federal advocacy to support public-sector involvement in the arts in the West and nationally.
- State Advocacy Funds
For over a decade, WESTAF has disbursed funds (generated from its earned income) to each state in the West to support advocacy on behalf of the state’s arts agency. This advocacy support includes helping to fund professional-level advocacy work, advocacy training, arts advocacy days and summits, public affairs technology, and essential capacity-building support for state arts advocacy organizations.
- Western Arts Advocacy Network
In 2020, WESTAF launched a Western Arts Advocacy Network (WAAN) that brings together leaders from state arts advocacy organizations and other key advocates from across the West to network, share best practices, and inform WESTAF’s support of arts advocacy.
WAAN has collectively, in partnership with advocates across the region, secured over $900 million in critical relief, recovery, and new program investments from state governments in the West during the pandemic. WAAN convenes year round to consider sustainability of arts advocacy in the region, advocacy strategies, messaging and tactics, and systems and infrastructure to support statewide advocacy. The group and its individual members, in partnership with WESTAF, engage members of Congress and state legislators to provide policy recommendations and advocate in support of legislation that resources and advances arts, culture, and the creative economy.
Californians for the Arts/ California Arts Advocates
Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation
Arizona Citizens for the Arts
|Christian Crampton Day
Colorado Business Committee for the Arts
Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Montana Cultural Advocacy
Cultural Alliance Nevada
Creative New Mexico
Cultural Advocacy Coalition
Utah Cultural Alliance
|Manuel (Manny) Cawaling
Director of Operations
Wyoming Arts Alliance
- Federal Advocacy Funds
In 2020, WESTAF began piloting a new program that offers funding (generated from its earned income) to state arts agencies in the region to organize delegations to Washington, D.C. to participate in national advocacy activities and to organize other forms of engagement with members of Congress. Through this program, WESTAF also provides advocates in the West with tools and information to effectively communicate the value of federal funding for the arts. In 2022, the Federal Advocacy Funds program merged with the State Advocacy Funds program into an integrated offering.
- Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar
Between 2011 and 2017, WESTAF’s annual Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar (ALAS) brought a group of arts leaders from the West to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staffs, engage in briefings regarding the status and future prospects for federal arts support, and to discuss with the WESTAF trustees ways to generate more state government support for the work of state arts agencies. Last year’s ALAS took place virtually Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25, 2021. The seminar featured a series of panel discussions and speakers who will share their knowledge on topics related to federal advocacy, engaging members of Congress, and the transformation of the field.