NASAA Notes: July 2018

July 10, 2018

A State Arts Agency Weather Forecast

This month we offer an update from NASAA’s chief program and planning officer.

Many states began a new budget year this month. Happy new (fiscal) year to you all. Here at NASAA we’re gearing up for a new year, too. Our FY2019 begins in October, so we’re busy with action planning to support state arts agencies in the year ahead.

Member Needs Drive NASAA Action Planning

Our Planning & Budget Committee (an intrepid team from the NASAA board) is spending the summer answering the question: What will state arts agencies need most from NASAA in 2019? They’re considering:

  • more than 200 requests for help from state arts agencies and state arts advocacy groups;
  • interviews with state arts agency executive directors and chairs conducted by the Nominating Committee (87 interviews have been completed to date, with more under way. Thanks to all who are participating!);
  • fresh information from NASAA’s Performance Measurement Dashboard and State Arts Agency Vital Statistics reports;
  • our newly minted Strategic Plan, which charts NASAA’s long-term course. It asserts why state arts agencies matter to America, the goals we’ll attain and what values govern our decisions. Annual action plans zoom in on the specific steps we’ll take each year.

Working in tandem with the committee, the NASAA staff had fun developing a state arts agency “weather forecast” for 2019. Daily discussions with member agencies informed our staff’s thoughtful, provocative and candid observations about issues that will shape the work and well-being of state arts agencies in the year ahead. We’ve converted our conference room wall into a weather map that captures bright spots and storm clouds as well as “UFO” wild cards and cross-cutting themes.

Key Factors

A few recurring trends across all of our input channels include:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): State arts agencies are doing meaningful work in this area—and are committed to doing much more. NASAA’s FY2019 action plan will include increased member support and practical tools to help state arts agencies advance DEI at the state level.
  • Elections: Thirty-six states hold gubernatorial elections this fall. 6,070 state legislative seats are on the ballot, with 97 state legislative chambers holding elections. At the federal level, all 435 seats in the House and 35 seats in the Senate will be contested. That adds up to a lot of new lawmakers to educate in 2019! Cultural advocates will have new relationships to cultivate across an increasingly complex and contentious political spectrum. So we’ll be doubling down on advocacy in NASAA’s next action plan.
  • Leadership churn: We’re seeing a spike in staff turnover among state arts agencies, and new governors will be making appointments to boards and commissions, too. NASAA needs to welcome these new leaders and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
  • State arts agency innovation: Partnerships and cross-sector work are flourishing in our field, but state arts agencies are still grappling with how best to address new art forms, generational differences, technology changes and work that transcends the 501(c)(3) model. NASAA can be a resource for these challenges.

Your Ideas Wanted

What’s the 2019 weather forecast for your own state arts agency? We’d love to know! We invite action plan suggestions from all state arts agency staff and council members. If you have ideas to offer, please write to NASAA Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate and NASAA Board Treasurer Ken May (executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission).


Be sure to join us this fall for NASAA Assembly 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. The agenda—kicking off with a special Halloween masquerade and NASAA 50th anniversary party at the American Visionary Art Museum!—isn’t limited to provocative sessions, great networking opportunities and stellar performers. It also is the time where the state arts agency field ratifies NASAA’s 2019 action plan. Register for the Assembly and join us in Baltimore to cast your vote!

In this Issue

State to State

Legislative Update

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA

Guest Column

Research on Demand




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