April 7, 2016
I am exceedingly pleased to welcome back the Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) as a member of NASAA! Led by Executive Director George Tzougros and Chairperson Kevin Miller, WAB is an exemplary model for state arts agencies. Its highly effective programs and services provide important arts opportunities within Wisconsin, and its board and staff are deeply passionate about working on behalf of the citizens of their state. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know WAB and hear about its work. The agency’s commitment to communities has been an inspiring through-line in its accomplishments, excelling in local arts development for decades, and now being a national leader in creative community development.
I encourage you to get to know the Wisconsin Arts Board. I am happy to share my NASAA Notes column with George, who has graciously volunteered to introduce the agency to you. Please check out WAB’s programs and services and get to know more about George and Kevin through their bios. Of special note, George chairs the National Creativity Network, which brings together cross-sector stakeholders committed to an America that flourishes through imagination, creativity and innovation. In addition to serving as chairperson of WAB, Kevin is executive director of the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, which undoubtedly helps him bring keen insights about how WAB can be effective on behalf of the arts. Their leadership serves Wisconsin well and is certainly an asset for the entire state arts agency community.
I am grateful to WAB for welcoming me to Wisconsin and providing me an opportunity to get to know this state arts agency. I am also thankful to NASAA’s board, led by Gary Gibbs; rightfully, they made outreach to Wisconsin our priority. With all 56 states and jurisdictions now members of NASAA, our professional network and family is complete. NASAA members can learn a great deal from Wisconsin, and Wisconsin certainly will benefit from our assembly. Leveraging the power of association, I am confident all our members will continue to derive value from our collective experiences, and that value will propel state arts agencies.
Wisconsin and NASAA: Forward!
from George Tzougros
“It is not possible to go forward while looking back.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“To look forward and not back, To look out and not in, and To lend a hand.” – Edward Everett Hale
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
As Wisconsin rejoins the NASAA family, it seems appropriate that we invoke our state’s motto, “Forward!” We are looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, and to meeting and working with those we don’t already know.
This note begins with our thanks. On behalf of the Wisconsin Arts Board and its staff, I want to thank the state arts agency colleagues who have encouraged us to rejoin NASAA, particularly those in the Arts Midwest region. The NASAA board must be thanked for extending its hand to Wisconsin through NASAA CEO Pam Breaux.
We especially thank Pam, who not only reached out, but came out to Wisconsin. She is a passionate leader who knows and communicates well why she values NASAA and the NASAA family. It cannot be understated that her personal presentation to the board is what helped us to return.
Final thanks go to our board, which has guided us through the transitions of the recent past, and we thank them for their wisdom in knowing that this is the time to rejoin NASAA.
The Wisconsin Arts Board became a state agency in 1973. We have a 15-member board, which is appointed by the governor. We have four staff. In addition to myself, they are Assistant Director Karen Goeschko, Folk and Traditional Arts Specialist Anne Pryor, and Grants and Information Specialist Dale Johnson. Their expertise and deep commitment to public service exemplify both our official mission statement and our positioning statement, which we use as a guidepost as we organize our work: Creativity. Culture. Community. Commerce.
Since 2011 we have been a part of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Our roles are different, our expertise is different, but our work is very compatible; the Arts Board develops projects and organizations, and the department markets them. Our board still operates independently, but we have gained a major arts advocate in the department secretary, who is an art collector and trumpet player herself. We work with the tourism team—from the Governor’s Council on Tourism to the staff members at the department—to find ways to promote the arts and culture and cultural tourism. One example is to offer arts related workshops at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism, attended by 1,000 tourism professionals from throughout the state.
We look forward to future opportunities to talk about our work with the Wisconsin Task Force on Arts and Creativity in Education, Creative Wisconsin, Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture, the Wisconsin Science Festival, and the National Creativity Network. In 2016, together with the Robert E. Gard Foundation, Americans for the Arts, and the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, we will host a Wingspread symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Arts in the Small Community, a seminal community arts text that grew from the first National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) local arts grant, which came from Wisconsin.
Until our next opportunity to share, please enjoy our 50th anniversary NEA video, as we will enjoy yours. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Learn about Sidonka Wadina, Wisconsin’s 2015 National Heritage Fellowship Award winner.
And now, we look forward to hearing about your past successes, lending and seeking a helping hand in the present, and working together toward a bright future.
As we say in Wisconsin, “Forward!”
In this Issue
State to State
- Indiana and Delaware: Art in State Parks
- Massachusetts: Creative Minds Out Loud Podcast
- Iowa: 35th Anniversary Commemoration of Percent for Art Program
More Notes from NASAA
From the CEO
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