WESTAF Now Newsletter | August 2021

By August 18, 2021No Comments
WESTAF Now August

INCLUSION & EQUITY                                        

WESTAF ELC Alumna Joins Social Responsibility and Inclusion Team

We are thrilled to welcome Ashanti McGee as WESTAF’s new Grants and Access Manager. Ashanti is an artist and arts advocate who has called Las Vegas, Nevada home for over 25 years. She began her arts administrative work assisting local grassroots and nonprofits with grant writing and management and continued working in this area for over a decade. In 2014, she was selected as the Nevada representative for WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program and has served as a panelist for WESTAF’s Arts Leadership and Advocacy Seminar. She most recently served as a district representative for Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee, focusing on outreach for Black, Native American, and LGBTQ+ communities around arts and culture, and environment and public lands. A proud mom of four, Ashanti has committed her work to arts and education, including updating arts education standards for the Nevada Department of Education; serving as a board member for Cultural Alliance of Nevada, a statewide arts advocacy organization; co-founding the Las Vegas Womxn of Color Arts Festival, and acting as a core member of NUWU Cultural Arts + Activism complex, a POC-owned and operated space in Las Vegas that works to uplift all communities by strengthening cultural knowledge and identity through the arts, activism, and education.

ALLIANCES, ADVOCACY & POLICY                  

Register Today for WESTAF’s Creative Vitality™ Summit!

Registration is now open for WESTAF’s upcoming and free to attend Creative Vitality™ Summit, taking place virtually September 20-21 and delivered in partnership with the National Creative Economy Coalition, ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Grantmakers in the Arts, the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC), and others. The Summit brings together creative economy experts, economic development professionals, arts and culture leaders, solidarity economy advocates, and equity champions to share knowledge and practice in developing a more inclusive creative economy. Confirmed speakers, panelists, and facilitators include: Laura Callanan, Upstart Co-Lab; Laura Zabel, Springboard for the Arts; Nadia Elokdah, Grantmakers in the Arts; Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues; Abdiel López, Independent Curator; Cézanne Charles, rootoftwo; Sunil Iyengar, National Endowment for the Arts; Dee Schneidman, New England Foundation for the Arts; Zannie Voss, SMU DataArts; Hakim Bellamy, City of Albuquerque; Hollis Wong-Wear, hww.work; Alberto Mejia, NALAC; Adriana Gallego, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona; Susan Soroko, Arlington Economic Development; Althea Erickson, Consultant; Jessica Stern, Americans for the Arts; Hasan Bakhshi, Nesta; Patton Hindle, Kickstarter; Rasmus Tscherning, Creative Business Cup; Jen Cole, ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; Jonathon Glus, City of San Diego; Kim Tignor, Take Creative Control; Julie Baker, Californians for the Arts; Roberto Bedoya, City of Oakland; Felipe Buitrago, Commentator; Ted Russell, Kenneth Rainin Foundation; Randy Engstrom, Consultant; and David Holland, WESTAF.

Last Chance to Apply for WESTAF’s Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy Position

We are hiring! WESTAF’s Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy (AAP) division is looking for someone to join the team as the new Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy. The AAP division connects, coordinates, and mobilizes a western network of artists, administrators, public officials and influencers within and outside of the arts field to build awareness of arts-related issues to drive legislation and policy. This position will collaborate closely with WESTAF Director of Impact and Public Policy David Holland to lead our efforts to strengthen advocacy for the arts at local, state, and national levels. The position is generously supported by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust through a multiyear award. To learn more, check out the full job description, and please share with your networks.

WESTAF Collaborates with National Arts Advocacy Coalition on Arts Infrastructure Policy Statement

WESTAF worked with the Cultural Advocacy Group and organizations nationwide in crafting Rebuilding America’s Arts Infrastructure, a policy statement that has been released for endorsement. Use this Sign-On Form if your organization is in a position to endorse the statement. The statement has been shared with the White House and Members of Congress and is designed to both guide conversations on the arts and culture intersection with current infrastructure investment deliberations and set out a long-term policy agenda for the sector.

WESTAF Supports Creative Economy Revitalization Act

WESTAF endorsed the Creative Economy Revitalization Act, a new piece of legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) alongside 175 organizations nationally. This legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). The Senate bill will be co-sponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Alex Padilla (D-CA). We encourage our networks to inform themselves about this vital effort and support the measure with their members of Congress. The bill seeks funding through the Department of Labor and NEA to provide grants for various public-facing creative workforce projects across the country. WESTAF, the Western Arts Advocacy Network, and a range of organizations are also working with Be an #ArtsHero/Arts Workers United on a joint advocacy strategy in support of the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA). Be an #ArtsHero/Arts Workers United is a 100% volunteer-run, intersectional grassroots campaign of Arts & Culture workers, Unions, and institutions in the United States pushing the Senate to allocate proportionate relief to the arts and culture sector of the American economy.

WESTAF Expands Participation in Federal Arts Advocacy and Cultural Policy Networks

WESTAF also recently endorsed a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, as part of an early effort to engage the Arts Education Partnership, a national network of over 100 organizations dedicated to advancing arts education. WESTAF also recently joined the Performing Arts Visa Working Group, a national network of organizations including the Association for Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, Tamizdat, and others that advocate for international artist mobility and engage USCIS and the State Department on issues affected international artist mobility in the U.S. context The group is advocating for the ARTS Act, which would reestablish the Arts Requiring Timely Service provision at the Immigration Service. WESTAF’s AAP division regularly issues advisory opinions, consultation letters, and no objection letters for international guest artists seeking entry to the U.S. for artistic and cultural projects. WESTAF has also taken an active role in international artistic exchange through management of the Performing Arts Discovery program on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2021. Joining the Performing Arts Visa Policy Working Group increases access to intelligence on changes to visa policies and international artist mobility issues, particularly during the pandemic.

Western Arts Advocates Secure over $830,000,000 in State Relief and Recovery Funding for the Arts and Culture Sector

With legislation recently signed by Governor Newsom of California that included a historic $600 million in investments in arts and cultural programs to support the recovery of the sector, the total of state relief and recovery funding secured by arts advocates in the West is now estimated at over $830 million. A $65 million new creative real estate program, the Colorado Community Revitalization Act, was also recently announced in Colorado. WESTAF commends the energy, dynamism, and innovation of the Western Arts Advocacy Network in organizing effective advocacy and our state arts agency partners for their leadership is distributing these funds to the arts and culture field across the region.


Panels Set for WESTAF’s American Rescue Plan Fund for Organizations

WESTAF has confirmed 25 panelists for its upcoming review panels for the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Fund for Organizations. Panelists participated in an orientation process on Wednesday, August 11 and have begun to review applications. Panels will take place on August 23-26, with a total of 4 panels and each panelist reviewing approximately 70 applications. WESTAF anticipates that awards will be made by mid-September.

WESTAF WEB SERVICES                                   

We’re excited to announce that we are sponsoring The Independent Artist Podcast for the next couple of months. The Independent Artist Podcast, hosted by artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, explores the struggles and successes of being festival artists. Listen in as they talk with artists and show directors who share their remarkable stories and shine a spotlight on this amazing community of professional artists.

CaFE™ Releases New User Interface for Administrators

The CaFE™ team is thrilled to share that after months of hard work, the team has released a new and improved administrator website! This significant update enhances the user experience through a more streamlined, intuitive and modern approach. Administrators will now see an updated design, newly organized Call Editor, user-friendly events management and artist application pages, and a streamlined jury administration workflow. Read more about the upgrade here!

Attend Public Art Archive’s Upcoming Webinar – Exploring the Public Art Profile: Activating Data in the Public Art Archive on August 24, 2021 1 PM EST

Join the Public Art Archive and CollectionSpace for an upcoming webinar, Exploring the Public Art Profile: Activating Data in the Public Art Archive. This webinar will highlight CollectionSpace’s Public Art Profile, stewarded by WESTAF’s Public Art Archive to demonstrate how users can activate data for public engagement. Thinking beyond the collection management system as a static repository, Lori Goldstein, Manager of the Public Art Archive, will explore how the platform can be utilized to illuminate public art collections as dynamic engagement tools. This session is part of the Community Collections Spotlight Series.

CVSuite Data Education

CVSuite™ is excited to announce the upcoming release of the DataEducation project this fall. CVSuite™ has been putting together a series of tutorial videos designed to teach critical analysis skills to advance the development of a robust creative and cultural economy. The DataEducation project will cover topics such as developing a data-informed approach to defining your creative economy, advancing equity with CVSuite™ data, and much more.

July Blog on Arts, Culture and the American Rescue Plan

Earlier this year, WESTAF was among the nation’s six regional arts organizations (RAOs) to receive funding for distribution from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Fund for Organizations. GO Smart, WESTAF’s cloud-based grant administration software program was utilized to manage both the application and panel process. Check out the blog post that the GO team recently released on arts, culture, the American Rescue Plan and how systemic change can revitalize communities through arts and culture.

WESTAF Community NEWS                           

Adam Sestokas

Adam Sestokas Departs WESTAF

Director of Technology and Innovation Adam Sestokas recently bid farewell to WESTAF. Adam joined the organization in March 2013. During his tenure, he led a small but mighty technology team through many significant contributions, including fine-tuning and making considerable improvements to WESTAF’s cloud-based architecture and infrastructure, as well as all of the software as a service (SaaS) applications across the organization. We wish Adam all the best in this exciting new chapter of what will surely continue to be an illustrious career!


Arts Midwest Conference Registration Now Open

Each year, the Arts Midwest Conference brings together a community of arts professionals who create, present, and tour performances to audiences across the Midwest and beyond. This year’s online gathering is a must-attend event for anyone looking to deepen their connections and bolster their work in a new performing arts landscape.

Register today!

COVID-19 Heroes Campaign Art Contest

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation is hosting an art contest and invites you to submit your entry for consideration. The selected artist will receive a $7,500 commission to capture in a painted art piece pharmacists’ and pharmacy teams’ engagement within various COVID-19 response activities across the health care system and within communities. The final piece will be framed and installed at the APhA headquarters building, home of America’s pharmacists, on the national mall in Washington, DC. The deadline to submit artwork is September 30, 2021.

Submit Your Entry

CONNECT WITH US                                             

13 Western StatesThe Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of  the arts in the West (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). WESTAF assists  state arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists in their quest to serve diverse audiences, enrich the lives of local communities, and provide access to the arts for all. Through innovative programming, advocacy, research, technology, and grantmaking, WESTAF encourages the creative advancement and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances.

WESTAF | www.westaf.org