Social Responsibility & Inclusion

Social Responsibility & Inclusion

WESTAF’s 10-year vision and strategic plan articulates goals and metrics related to increasing opportunities, benefits, and resources for historically underrepresented communities in a manner that results in quantifiable and systemic change. Our Social Responsibility & Inclusion division plays a primary role in achieving these goals with a focus on leadership development, grantmaking, thought leadership, and activation of WESTAF’s diverse and expansive network of allies and partners. Resulting programs and initiatives reflect a range of equity-centered learning experiences and funding opportunities that connect and inspire leaders and communities to build a more inclusive arts and culture sector, strengthen the arts field, and catalyze change.

Our approach includes an important internal dimension to advancing inclusion and equity which involves departmental teams working collaboratively to create accountability measures for more equitable organizational practices, policies, products, and programs. Through shared learning, self-evaluation, and strengthened competencies, WESTAF continually works to embed equity and inclusion into all we do.

Leadership & Impact

WESTAF began its inclusion and equity journey in 2000 and has since become an advocate for cultural equity, focusing heavily on leadership development. A direct result of recommendations made to WESTAF from arts and culture leaders and advocates from across the region, the Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program is the manifestation of the organization’s commitment to reflect the values, insights, spirit, and knowledge of communities of color, indigenous populations, and other marginalized ethnic communities in the West.

Emerging Leaders of Color

Since 2010, WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program has promoted diverse, representative leadership and equity in the arts by:

  • Building a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the western United States who are committed to the advancement of the arts;
  • Engaging diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field;
  • Providing opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers;
  • Advocating for the cultural interests of the communities it represents and serves; and
  • Deepening participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.

For a decade, WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program has been attracting, training, networking, and promoting new generations of diverse arts leaders. Since its inception, the ELC Program has reached over 90 arts leaders from 13 western states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The program’s seven cohorts have included individuals who self-identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, African American/Black, Latinx/Chicanx, Native American/Alaska Native, and/or Multiracial/-ethnic.

Visit our ELC program page for additional information on history, recruitment, and a listing of program alumni.


WESTAF currently administers grant programs for regional performing arts touring. Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the primary program, TourWest, is a competitive grant program that provides subsidies to arts and community organizations in the 13-state WESTAF region for the presentation of out-of-state touring performing artists. TourWest’s goal is to ensure that the West’s most underserved communities have equitable access to performing arts and associated educational resources. The IMTour™ program currently supports the touring of independent roster musicians in collaboration with nonprofit presenters in the West. Each program considers artistic merit; engagement with underserved and/or marginalized audiences; quality of outreach activities; and the collaboration between presenters, artists and community members during the project’s planning. As a funder, WESTAF strives to feature equity, inclusion, and diversity at the center of our grantmaking processes and do so with the advice of various stakeholders in the field. For additional information, visit our Grants page.

WESTAF Equity & Inclusion Committee

The Equity & Inclusion Committee (EIC) is an advisory committee comprised of arts administrators, artists, and arts advocates from the western region. WESTAF trustees and non-trustee members meet twice a year to provide oversight of organizational operations in the areas of programming, governance, staff structure, technology, and fundraising through the lens of diverse leadership, equity, and inclusion. The Committee seeks to infuse the values and best practices of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity into all of WESTAF’s work.

The EIC continues the work of the Multicultural Advisory Committee, formed in 1999, which provided strategic direction to WESTAF and helped establish the organizational focus on promoting diverse and representative leadership, especially among early-career leaders of color.

2020 Committee (*Denotes WESTAF trustee)

  • Teniqua Broughton*, Chair – Phoenix, Arizona
  • Roy Agloinga* – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Cyndy Andrus* – Bozeman, Montana
  • Michael Faison* – Boise, Idaho
  • Ricardo Frazer – Seattle, Washington
  • Eric Hayashi – Walnut Creek, California
  • Amir Jackson – Ogden, Utah
  • Candace Kita – Portland, Oregon
  • Tey Marianna Nunn – Albuquerque, New Mexico

For more information about Social Responsibility & Inclusion at WESTAF, contact Anika Kwinana.