NASAA Notes: September 2015


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Pam Breaux

September issue
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September 11, 2015

The Possibilities before Us

As team NASAA spends time each day preparing for next month’s Leadership Institute, I grow more excited about the possibilities. This year’s convening focuses on supplying state arts agency leaders with the skills and tools needed to successfully manage change and lead transformation efforts. Inspired by the highly successful Change Leader curriculum being implemented in Utah, Colorado and Idaho, NASAA’s 2015 Leadership Institute is tailored specifically for state arts agency principals to effectively lead change and transformation back home.

Although it’s essential for the Leadership Institute to build skills that will be put to productive use at home, we also have an opportunity, and perhaps an obligation as a field of state arts agency leaders, to look ahead toward opportunities and challenges to chart our next course. In 2015, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as well as 50th anniversaries of a number of state arts agencies. The moment should inspire important questions and discussions. What have we achieved in 50 years through public-sector investments in the arts? What haven’t we achieved? Just as notably, what should we accomplish during the next 50 years, individually and collectively?

Our conversations next month will help us highlight the change that state arts agencies face today as well as imagine tomorrow’s drivers for change and potential new directions for our members. These discussions will provide critical fuel for NASAA, as our board, committees and staff deploy your insights and observations in charting our association’s course forward. What’s next for state arts agencies will absolutely determine what’s next for NASAA and, appropriately, the programs and services NASAA will invest in for the future success of state arts agencies.

As we celebrate milestone anniversaries and public investments in the arts this year and beyond, individually at home and collectively as a national community, let’s thunderously applaud our accomplishments and the impact we have had on communities across America. And as we consider the future, let’s acknowledge what we’ve yet to achieve as well as envision the future we’d like to see for state arts agencies. What will be our collective relationships with Congress, the NEA and other federal agencies? What will be our individual relationships with state legislatures and other state agencies? What will we accomplish for and with the communities we serve? What will we accomplish for and with artists and arts organizations? What will be the value of state arts agencies? And how will NASAA help get us there? This is a conversation I’m eager to begin, and I look forward to listening to member voices on the matter.