RESEARCH

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Leah Horn
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(303) 629-1166

WESTAF mobilizes experts

and defines creative vitality

Through convening thought leaders and conducting field research, WESTAF addresses topics and trends, applying its learnings in the field to create better places to live, work and play.

WESTAF held its first symposium in 1997, and has sponsored a symposium nearly every year since. The first 12 symposia were initially published in paper form in traditional academic style. In an effort to expand the audience for the proceedings, some of the more recent symposia proceedings have been captured only on video or presented in the form of a series of blog posts.

Arts + the Rural West Session Report
The Arts + the Rural West convening brought together funding and policy organizations with practitioners to consider future directions for rural arts as a policy priority and practice of the field.

The Future History of Public Art (2017)

Convened in Honolulu, Hawai​’​i in 2017 in collaboration with Forecast Public Art and the Hawai’i State Foundation on the Culture and the Arts, this symposium provided a significant platform for high-level discourse to explore existing challenges alongside emerging strategies for the successful growth of the ​public art ​field. Symposium attendees traveled from six countries to take part in the convening: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.

The Status and Future of State Arts Advocacy (2016)

Convened in Denver in 2016, this gathering of arts and policy experts focused on the subject of the status and future of state art advocacy. Discussion topics included: A review of the current status of state-level arts advocacy; an analysis of what can be learned from non-arts advocates working at the state level; consideration of how arts advocates might adopt technology to advance their work; and ways for advocacy partners to work together more effectively.

Creativity and Innovation in Public Education: Areas of Need, Mechanism for Change (2014)

This symposium was co-hosted by the California Arts Council and Frank Gehry Partners and convened in Los Angeles in 2014. Participants gathered to discuss the research and policy work needed to advance creativity and innovation in public education. The proceedings of this symposium were not published, but instead released in its entirety online in video format.

Engaging the Now: Arguments, Research, and New Environments for the Arts (2009)

Convened in Aspen in 2009, this symposium’s topics included: Developing a new generation of arguments in support of public arts funding; ways the arts field can adapt to the evolving arts preferences of the public; ways state arts agencies can be redesigned to succeed in a very different environment; and a review of the available research that arts advocates have used to make a case for the arts.

Perspectives on Cultural Tax Districts (2008)

Convened in Seattle in 2008 and sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission, this symposium featured discussions about the history and formation of cultural tax districts. It focused on the benefits, drawbacks, structure, and impact of cultural tax districts.

State Economic Development and the Creative Economy (2008)

Convened in San Diego in 2008, symposium participants discussed how creative sectors have been considered in state economic development efforts as well as how they factor into economic policy.

Open Dialogue XI: Global Connections to Cultural Democracy (2007)

Convened in Denver in 2007, this symposium discussed global migration, cultural democracy, and diversity.

The New Face of Arts Leadership in the West (2005)

This symposium was a follow-up gathering to the previous year’s symposium, Cultural Identity in the West. Convened in Boulder in 2005, the forum focused on emerging young leaders from culturally diverse communities in the West.

Cultural Identity in the West (2004)

Convened in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles in 2004, Cultural Identity in the West grew out of the conversations and discussions of WESTAF’s Multicultural Advisory Committee. The gathering brought together a diverse group of leaders in the arts to share their personal stories and discuss issues related to multiculturalism and the arts.

Re-Envisioning State Arts Agencies (2003)

Convened in Denver in 2003, this symposium explored a wide variety of approaches to address current and future issues in the area of state arts agency structure and process.

Unified Field Summit on Art, Science and Spirituality (2002)

Convened at the Aspen Institute in 2002, this symposium brought together 22 prominent artists, scientists, writers, and spiritual leaders working to establish a nexus between artistic, scientific, and spiritual thought.

Cultural Policy in the West II (2000)

In 2000, WESTAF convened a second symposium at the Aspen Institute, Cultural Policy in the West II. Experts in the fields of technology, youth culture, demographics, and politics shared their perspectives on important trends and discussed the relationship of these areas to the culture sector.

Cultural Policy in the West (1999)

Convened at the Aspen Institute in 1999, participants in this symposium discussed the nature of cultural policy in the West and features of the region’s policy environment that influence and shape cultural policy in the region.

The Visual Artist and the New Funding Environment (1997)

Convened in Seattle in 1997, The Visual Artist and the New Funding Environment symposium was designed to be a proactive step toward the redevelopment and expansion of opportunities for individual visual artists across the country.

Literature Activity in the West (1997)

Convened in San Francisco in 1997, this symposium focused on the environment for and dynamics of literature in the West. This was the first WESTAF symposium.

General Research

Communication and Information Management in the Nonprofit Arts Sector by Barry Hessenius (2016)

This report contains findings from a survey of arts organizations and arts administrators on the behaviors, protocols, preferences, and perceptions of communication and information use and management.

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Statewide Arts Education Assessment (2009-2010)

The Statewide Arts Education Assessment (SAEA) was designed by practitioners in the field of arts education in collaboration with WESTAF in response to a call for a more comprehensive snapshot of the status of K-12 arts education in individual states.

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Listen Local: Research on Music in Denver by Bryce Merrill, Ryan Stubbs (2009)

WESTAF commissioned and completed an in-depth study of music in Denver as part of a report it prepared for the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs to assess the economic vitality of Denver’s music community.

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An Assessment of the Field Impacts of Funding Support Provided by the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts by Anthony Radich, Dinah Zeiger (2002)

The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts commissioned this study to document the effectiveness of the support it has distributed to Hawai’i’s artists and nonprofit arts organizations.

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Out of Place: Case Studies of Native American Interpretive Projects and Processes by Dinah Zeiger (1999)

For much of U.S. history, non-Native scholars have been the principal interpreters of Native life and lifeways. This report presents a series of case studies of Native interpreters reclaiming their own voices concerning cultural representations.

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Advocacy

An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region by Dinah Zeiger (2002)

Research for An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region was gathered to inform attendees of the WESTAF Executive Director Forum that took place on May 30-31, 2002 in Portland, Oregon.

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Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

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Cultural Policy

An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region by Dinah Zeiger (2002)

Research for An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region was gathered to inform attendees of the WESTAF Executive Director Forum that took place on May 30-31, 2002 in Portland, Oregon.

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Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

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Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region by Dinah Zeiger (2002)

Research for An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region was gathered to inform attendees of the WESTAF Executive Director Forum that took place on May 30-31, 2002 in Portland, Oregon.

Download

Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region by Dinah Zeiger (2002)

Research for An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region was gathered to inform attendees of the WESTAF Executive Director Forum that took place on May 30-31, 2002 in Portland, Oregon.

Download

Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region by Dinah Zeiger (2002)

Research for An Arts Advocacy Analysis in the WESTAF Region was gathered to inform attendees of the WESTAF Executive Director Forum that took place on May 30-31, 2002 in Portland, Oregon.

Download

Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

Economic Impact Reports

The WESTAF-generated series of reports related to economic impact and reports of descriptive statistics related to the creative economy were largely replaced in 2004 by the Creative Vitality Suite™ online tool, formerly known as Creative Vitality Index. Because this tool placed the power of creating reports in the hands of the end-users, WESTAF, with a few exceptions, does not hold copies of these reports. Thus WESTAF’s work in this area is more robust than ever, though, the reports emanating from the use of the Creative Vitality Suite™ online tool are largely not known to WESTAF and not placed on this list.

Creative Economies and Economic Recovery: Case Studies of Arts-Led Recovery and Resilience (2021)

Developed primarily for policy audiences, Creative Economies and Economic Recovery highlights how the arts can be part of comprehensive economic development strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. It also provides timely tools for cultural leaders looking to participate in recovery initiatives and advocate for federal, state, and local investment in the arts.

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Advocacy and the Arts: Strategies for Affecting Change by Dinah Zeiger (2000)

This report examines the organizational standards and effectiveness of arts advocacy organizations nationwide and offers models of best practices that have succeeded.

Download

Creative Vitality™ Index: Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (Dept. of Commerce) (2006-2011)

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Creative Vitality™ Index: Washington State Arts Commission (2010 update)

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The Case for Cultural Economic Clusters by Alex Ooms (2003)

Economists increasingly believe that economic clusters are the primary engines of growth, and are thus frequently informing economic policy decisions at the state and local levels. This paper posits three frameworks for cultural economic clusters and summarizes case studies of five clusters that include cultural activity.

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The Economic Impact of Nebraska’s Arts Industry by Daniel Buehler, Anthony Radich

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Although WESTAF published and sold books early in its history, it has not done so for some time. Nevertheless, the published books prepared by WESTAF were widely used and the information in many of them remains useful.

Establishing Positive Value and Image for the Folk Arts: Principles of Effective Argumentation by Robert Trapp 1999)

WESTAF commissioned argumentation expert Robert Trapp to consider ways that arguments for the support of folk arts could be made more effectively.

On Board: Guiding Principles for Trustees of Not-for-Profit Organizations by Robert W. Crawford (1991)

On Board is written for the broad not-for-profit field, not just for arts organizations. Guiding principles described here have equal applicability to virtually all not-for-profit organizations irrespective of their particular field or discipline.

The Technical Production Handbook: A Guide for Performing Arts and Presenting Organizations and Touring Companies by M. Kay Barrell (1991)

This handbook is designed for specific use by performing arts presenters and touring companies. A basic knowledge of the technical aspects of production will help a presenter understand the needs of touring companies as well as the capabilities and limitations of the theatre space and its equipment. This handbook stresses the basics of technical production.

Building for the Arts: A Guidebook for the Planning and Design of Cultural Facilities by Catherine R. Brown, William B. Fleissig, William R. Morrish (1984, 1989)

Published in 1989, this comprehensive guidebook is a valuable resource for anyone involved in the planning and design of theaters, symphony halls, dance studios, museums, art galleries, convention centers, school auditoriums and other facilities. This edition was expanded to include new sections on real estate, site specifications, outdoor amphitheaters, studio spaces for artists and craftspeople, and changes in the tax law, as well as updated case studies, worksheets, resource lists and bibliography.

Architectural Crafts by Bridget Beattie McCarthy (1982)

WESTAF published this book in 1989 to recognize and encourage significant recent development in the fields of crafts and architecture. The book is divided into two sections. The text gives a historical perspective on architecturally integrated crafts, and deals with complex issues of working together. The catalog section is comprised of work from 108 craftsmen who live in 10 states served by WESTAF: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Percent for Art, New Legislation Can Integrate Art and Architecture (1976)
WESTAF published this report in 1976 as a central source for Percent for Art information and examples of existing legislation.