NASAA Notes: December 2018


December issue
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December 5, 2018

NASAA News and Current Information

Assembly 2018 Proceedings Available Soon

NASAA Assembly 2018 participants cut loose at our 50th anniversary celebration at the American Visionary Art Museum. Photo by Lena McBean, Edwin Remsberg Photography

NASAA Assembly 2018, hosted by the Maryland State Arts Council in Baltimore last month, left participants enriched with knowledge and inspired to action. Proceedings of the conference—including a photo album, presentation materials, session notes and more—will be available later this month. Thanks to all who joined us to commemorate our 50th anniversary of service!

Join Us in Celebrating 50 Years!

Fifty years ago, NASAA was created by and for state arts agencies. Today, we remain the only organization dedicated exclusively to you. We empower your agency with the most effective advocacy tools, in-depth research, top-notch leadership training and powerful representation in Congress. Check out 50 Years, 50 Ways NASAA Makes a Difference! And then…

Celebrate this milestone with us and make a gift today! Your gift commemorates all that we’ve accomplished and invests in a stronger future where every state and jurisdiction achieves it highest potential in and through the arts. With your help, NASAA will keep strengthening state arts agencies for the next 50 years. We still have $15,000 left to raise to reach our goal of $50,000 by December 31. Please give now; every dollar makes a difference and contributes to a thriving nation!

Interested in Mindfulness?

Practicing mindfulness is an asset to the work of state arts agencies. It supports deep listening, focus, attention and stronger connection to others while reducing reactivity and mitigating stress. Check out Practicing Mindful Leadership by the Association for Talent Development for an overview. If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and exploring ways to practice it in your work life, please contact NASAA Chief Advancement Officer Laura Smith. She has training in meditation and experience in helping creative professionals build a mindfulness toolkit. If/As there’s interest, she’ll organize a group of state arts agency staff and council members that meets via conference call and/or on-line. You can reach Laura via e-mail or phone at 202-347-7066.

Museums and Creative Aging

The American Alliance of Museums is inviting applications for a two-year, nonresident senior fellowship exploring how museums can engage with creative aging. The Aroha Fellow for Museums and Creative Aging will work with museums and with organizations and individuals in the creative aging sector to combat ageism and foster creative aging. The application deadline is December 14, 2018.

Creativity and the Future of Skills

New research from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC)—a consortium of universities in the United Kingdom led by Nesta, the U.K. based innovation foundation—indicates that creativity is a skill that is becoming more important in the work force and more desirable in the job market. Creativity and the Future of Skills further finds that creativity is the “most significant predictor for an occupation’s chance of growing, as a percentage of the workforce by the year 2030.” Other conclusions of the report are that creativity is important to and found in many occupations outside of the creative sector and that employers especially value employees with creative skills coupled with project management and organizational skills.

Educational Benefits of Facilitated Visits to Art Museums

The Effects of Facilitated Single-Visit Art Museum Programs on Students Grades 4-6 is a new report from the National Art Education Association and the Association of Art Museum Directors summarizing the results of a large-scale study funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The four-year study—which involved more than 2,600 students and six art museums—explored the benefits of enabling students to directly engage with artworks and the social setting of art museums. It also considers museum visits relative to constructivist pedagogies, which encourage students to make meaning through direct experience. The report concludes that facilitated engagement with original works of art in museums has a strong impact on students, inspiring them to question, investigate and understand.

Social Impact of the Arts

ArtsFund, a Seattle based nonprofit and grant maker, has released a social impact study focused on how the arts influence youth development and education, health and wellness, and neighborhood vitality. It is based on both a regional level analysis and a review of national level research. The report includes 10 case stories illustrating  how individual organizations exemplify current evidence about the social benefits of the arts.

New Equity Resources Roundup

In addition to NASAA’s infographics highlighting state arts agencies advancing race equity and economic equity, there are several useful new resources addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Grant Craft, a service of the Foundation Center, has published case study of the Kresge Foundation’s Fostering Urban Equitable Leadership program, which describes efforts to advance equity by fostering leadership capacity. The local arts agency of Calgary, Ontario, meanwhile, has released a demographic profile of the city’s arts sector that might inform the design of similar endeavors. Finally, an interesting report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities considers historical and current tax policies that disproportionately affect people of color and suggests ways to advance tax policies that are not discriminatory in nature and/or effect.

Allison Tratner Is Executive Director in New Jersey

Allison Tratner has been named executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has served as interim executive director since March of this year. Before this, Tratner served as the Council’s deputy director and director of communications. In her 13 years with the agency, Tratner has been responsible for supporting the Council’s interests in strategic communications, long-range planning and cross-sector partnerships. Prior to joining the Council, Tratner worked in the nonprofit sector as an educator and as a research and evaluation consultant with prominent firms and museums in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. She earned her M.A. in museum education at the University of the Arts and holds degrees in arts education and fine arts from Alfred University.

Leadership Transition in Michigan

After a long Cultural Alliance of the Upper Peninsula meeting, held on Mackinaw Island, nothing goes down better than a delicious sausage at the iconic Wienerlicious restaurant in Mackinaw City . . . as incoming MCACA Executive Director Alison Watson and outgoing Executive Director John Bracey can attest!

Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs (MCACA) Executive Director John Bracey will be stepping down at the end of December. Bracey has worked for MCACA since 1998. Among his notable accomplishments were maneuvering MCACA through the Great Recession. Bracey also overhauled MCACA’s programs. After study, the agency instituted a “gap management” funding strategy that allowed MCACA to identify holes in private, corporate and foundation support to Michigan’s arts and cultural organizations, as well as discovering the true needs of the arts and culture field. Bracey is especially proud of MCACA’s mentoring/professional development program, the New Leaders Arts Council of Michigan. This advisory council of young professionals led to a new youth based, youth led grant program as well as giving young people the opportunity to be appointed by the governor to the state arts council. Bracey has served on the boards of NASAA, Arts Midwest and the Cultural Data Project. Enjoy a short video honoring Bracey produced by the Michigan Council, which was shown at MCACA’s September grant award announcement meeting—his last.

Alison Watson will succeed Bracey as executive director of MCACA. Watson joined the Council staff in January 2012. She currently serves as the programs manager, administering the operational support and services to the field programs, as well as providing support for all grant programs offered through the Council. Prior to joining the Council staff, Watson worked at various nonprofit arts organizations on both a local and state level, including the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies, VSA Michigan and the Michigan Theatre of Jackson. Watson developed a passion for the arts at a young age and has worked to encourage an inclusive arts environment in Michigan ever since.

Elliot Knight Named ED in Alabama

Elliot A. Knight has been named executive director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), effective January 1, 2019. Knight is currently the agency’s deputy director, and previously held the position of visual arts program manager and director of the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery at ASCA in Montgomery. He currently serves as a board member for the Montgomery Public Art Commission, Montgomery Art Guild and the University of Alabama Community Affairs Board of Advisors, and has served as a member of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art junior executive board. Knight is a Blackburn Institute Fellow. He cofounded and developed the nationally recognized Black Belt 100 Lenses Program, a participatory photography and arts program that worked with high school students in 12 Alabama Black Belt counties from 2007-2012. Knight developed and taught several courses at the University of Alabama in the Department of Art History, the Honors College, and the Department of American Studies. He also served as director of the university’s Arts Living Learning Community. Knight earned three degrees from the University of Alabama, including a B.A. in visual communication, an M.A. in American studies and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies.

David Fraher of Arts Midwest to Step Down in 2019

Photo by Marianne Combs, MPR News

Arts Midwest President and CEO David Fraher will step down from his position in the late summer of 2019, after serving more than 35 years in that role. Fraher first came to the Midwest in 1983, as executive director of the Affiliated State Arts Agencies of the Upper Midwest (a predecessor organization to Arts Midwest), after having spent seven years in the mountain west region, where he worked in leadership roles with the Wyoming Arts Council and at the Western States Arts Federation. In 1985, he led the merger of the Affiliated State Arts Agencies of the Upper Midwest with the Great Lakes Arts Alliance, creating Arts Midwest. In the 33 years since, Arts Midwest has designed and implemented an array of innovative and progressive programs that have had a lasting impact on the region’s cultural landscape. An early example from the late 1980s was a groundbreaking project to nurture a new generation of arts leaders in the Midwest from communities of color. Fraher has made a deep commitment to nurturing connections between the Midwest and the world, helping to craft deep and lasting cultural exchange relationships with more than three dozen nations around the world. One of Arts Midwest’s newer ventures, Creating Connection, is a research based communication movement working to change social norms so creative expression, arts and culture are embraced as a recognized, valued and expected part of everyday life. Arts Midwest World Fest brings international music ensembles to smaller communities across the Midwest. At a national level, for the past 16 years Arts Midwest has been chosen to develop and manage an array of major programmatic initiatives on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, including NEA Big Read and Shakespeare in American Communities. Fraher’s vision and leadership have been recognized by numerous national and international awards. In 2007, he received NASAA’s Gary Young Award, and in 2008, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Chairman’s Medal. In 2012, Fraher was selected as a fellow to the Salzburg Global Seminar, and in April 2014, he became only the second American ever to receive the Cultural Exchange Contribution Award presented by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. A search for Fraher’s successor will launch in early 2019. Fraher will remain with Arts Midwest until late 2019 as president emeritus and senior advisor.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA

Research on Demand




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