NASAA Notes: September 2017

September
2017

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Pam Breaux

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September 7, 2017

Our Plan Is for You

Next month members will have the opportunity to approve a new NASAA strategic plan and 2018 action plan. I couldn’t be more proud of the comprehensive and inclusive work performed by members of our Planning and Budget Committee, led by NASAA Treasurer Ken May, and shepherded by our board of directors. We set the stage for this work with members first. At NASAA’s 2015 Leadership Institute, during a dynamic visioning session, members discussed transformational change for state arts agencies (SAAs). They reflected on why our work matters, the changing nature of arts engagement, developing leadership, the need to further address inequity and more. Members considered 50 years of growth in the SAA field and voiced aspirations for transformational change to inspire and inform the next 50 years.

That session, along with many member conversations during NASAA’s 2015 executive transition, informed the work of our board to create a strong foundation for our strategic planning efforts. That foundation ensured an inclusive and transparent process, one that would build on our assets to ensure that SAAs can provide an arts support system to benefit all Americans. It provided the basis for the Planning and Budget Committee to design a planning effort that reached out to all SAA members and 83 cross-sector external advisors (organizational and individual thought leaders). Opinion polls, interviews and forums brought diverse perspectives to the table. Data mining and analysis, program evaluations, policy trends and new political realities were also woven into the fabric of the plan. As technical as this may sound, the insights, observations and recommendations that were contributed ring of passion, optimism and opportunity for our work ahead.

Each of NASAA’s four goals is anchored within the context of why that work is important. Your input and board input helped us address why achieving each goal is significant for SAAs and NASAA. The four goals follow:

  1. Advocate for state arts agencies.
    By developing policy resources and relationships that advance state arts agencies, NASAA ensures that the arts play a central role in American public life and that all communities have equitable access to the arts.
  2. Hone the knowledge and skills of state arts agencies.
    State arts agencies need savvy and agile leaders capable of solving immediate problems while also driving the long-term evolution of their agencies. NASAA helps our members rise to those challenges. NASAA’s knowledge services lead state arts agencies to exemplify what government can do right and to demonstrate a compelling return on the public’s investment.
  3. Connect state arts agencies.
    Our Assembly is an inclusive, welcoming community where members learn from each other, co-create a shared history and find common purpose. Connecting through NASAA yields tangible policy results for members: it empowers our decisions, increases our influence and defines NASAA’s credibility as a representative policy voice.
  4. Build NASAA’s capacity.
    To strengthen state arts agencies now and into the future, NASAA must achieve the financial and operational capacity to meet our members’ escalating demands for services. Fulfilling these objectives supports the attainment of all NASAA goals.

The 2018 Action Plan is of course where our goals meet tangible activities. The action plan contains 114 distinct activities slated for fiscal year 2018, and 27 of them are new for NASAA. Each carefully considered and crafted activity is a strategic part of how NASAA will work to strengthen SAAs. I sincerely hope you’re able to see your input within the plan, as well as critical benefits for you, your agency and stakeholders.

A few timely highlights of the draft action plan include:

  • broadening and deepening our cadre of influential advocates for the arts and SAAs
  • creating new tools and increasing communications to support state level decision making and advocacy (designed to be more effective during this politically polarized time)
  • advocating for rural creative placemaking resources within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (in addition to our advocacy for the National Endowment for the Arts, arts education and other cultural agencies)
  • launching a pilot program for mentoring SAA staff members of color
  • developing SAA analytics and self-assessment tools to help members diagnose equity/bias in grant-making practices
  • promoting the value and visibility of the arts and SAAs through a new strategic communications plan
  • creating a business plan and new earned income strategy for NASAA (because growing our portfolio of member benefits requires growing NASAA’s resources and capacity)
  • implementing action strategies for growing foundation and corporate support

Members are set to consider and vote on the new strategic plan and 2018 action plan at their annual business meeting on October 13, 2017, in Portland, Oregon. I’m confident our plan will drive NASAA’s new work to provide a foundation for the transformational change state arts agencies need to lead and chart courses for our next 50 years of service.

In this Issue

From the CEO

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Updates

State to State

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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