NASAA Notes: March 2011


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Jonathan Katz

March issue
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March 4, 2011

NASAA Communication: Timely and Relevant

NASAA’s ambition is to be the primary source of the most valuable information available to state arts agency leaders. Toward that end, we consider the relevance, accuracy, frequency and ease of access of news that we send to members, post on our website or share in other ways. We also pay careful attention to ensure that our tone and coverage offer useful messages to decision makers in state government, to arts advocates, to the press and to colleagues. NASAA follows these communications principles, adapting them as circumstances require.

In recognition of the membership’s keen interest in state and federal legislative processes, NASAA is providing two special website features with timely, on-demand information. You can rely on these to keep yourself up to date on state and federal budget processes prior to calling NASAA staff should you be interested in more detail, more context or consultation. Major State Arts Agency Budget and Restructuring Proposals is accessible directly from the home page; the currency date is plainly indicated.

The second feature is Federal Updates, which you access under the Advocacy tool bar. Here you can find Current Congressional News and Federal Legislative Updates, with issue analysis informed by the concerns of state arts agency leaders. The Federal Updates area also is the place to read Legislative Alerts and Updates, Arts Issue Briefs, and the policy paper that unites state arts agencies in their federal advocacy, Advancing America’s Creativity: An Agenda for Leadership in Support of the Arts and Cultural Activities.

As the president, members of Congress and federal officials put forth various legislative and budget proposals for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, NASAA members will find it helpful to refer to Advancing America’s Creativity for a clear lens through which to identify the policies that best serve the nation’s cultural interests. For instance, as you review the NEA appropriations request to Congress for FY2012, you can touch base with Advancing America’s Creativity for the top priorities that state arts agencies have adopted regarding:

  • the importance of policy dialogue between the NEA and NASAA in the development of a federal-state partnership;
  • the value of the congressional mandate that 40% of the NEA program budget is to be managed by the state and regional arts agencies;
  • the maintenance of a mutually supportive federal-state working relationship in support of arts education; and
  • working with the NEA to support the roles other federal agencies can play in enhancing America’s cultural life.

NASAA recognizes a special responsibility to interpret events in consultation with its members and in consideration of the positive and negative consequences that can result from national coverage. Our members consistently tell us how much they appreciate this.

NASAA staff works continually to facilitate our members’ understanding and discussion of trends and to provide them with tools to make the case for the value of what they do, as well as to affect a beneficial course of events. I draw your attention to two useful toolkits, Taking Charge of Change, which is a great resource for cultural leaders in this most challenging environment, and Why Should Government Support the Arts?, which members tell us repeatedly how often they reference for budget presentations, speeches and council member orientations. Remember that NASAA’s periodic Report to Councils is available for you to use as a national update at your next meeting.

Feedback from members and colleagues is essential to enable NASAA staff to provide you with information you value. As always, we welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.