NASAA Notes: January 2019

January
2019

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Pam Breaux

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January 7, 2019

NASAA Is Working for You in 2019

As I write, change is afoot in our nation’s capital. A new Congress was sworn in and the gavel was just handed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Policymakers must now begin the work of governing with a divided Congress and addressing the partial federal government shutdown, now in its 18th day. As always, you can read more about what’s happening on Capitol Hill in Legislative Counsel Isaac Brown’s column (archived on our Federal Updates page). We’re navigating today’s political environment while committing to the energy and effective action necessary to drive our policy and programmatic advances throughout 2019. This is why I’m excited about the year ahead.

Your NASAA team is ready for 2019! Here are five of many reasons we’re jazzed to greet the new year:

We look forward to the release of Rural Prosperity through the Arts & Creative Sector: A Rural Action Guide for Governors and States. Alongside our partners at the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Endowment for the Arts, NASAA provided fuel for this new report designed to help states capitalize on the arts and culture to strengthen rural America. We provided research and counsel to help the NGA highlight opportunities for governors to leverage the creative sector for their rural prosperity agendas. The NGA’s governors’ guide will contain specific strategy recommendations for states, and we anticipate its release in the coming weeks.

We’re knee-deep in exploring new earned income opportunities for NASAA. Growing our resources is key to expanding our capacity to serve state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Members are asking for more from NASAA, and we’re committed to increasing our ability to deliver more services. As we engage in the research and strategic thinking needed to develop a business plan to earn additional income, we’re focused on doing so with no decrease in services to members. Our members expect and depend upon a high level of support from NASAA, and we’re keeping member needs front of mind. Your NASAA board and staff are on this new earned income planning journey together, and we’ll keep you posted along the way.

As state government leadership transitions are also in high gear, NASAA is tuned in and offering support to states navigating new terrain. Always remember you can call on our team for customized counsel. The NASAA website is another resource for information about working with your governors: check out Arts Shine at Governors’ Inaugurations (September 2018) and Governor’s Arts Awards Strategy Sampler (May 2018). Transitions also signal that we’ll be welcoming several new state arts agency (SAA) executive directors to the NASAA family. We’re always thrilled to meet new colleagues! As new directors join our community, we’re reaching out, getting to know them and helping them get oriented to our field. We’ll host new executive directors at a boot camp this year to more deeply assist with their onboarding.

We’re continuing our journey to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our mentorship program for SAA people of color is up and running, with an inaugural cohort of 21 participants. This is just one of several examples of NASAA’s work to explicitly use a race equity lens in our efforts. This is a critical lens, yet it’s not our only lens. For example, NASAA is offering new data on SAA efforts to advance race equity and economic equity, which can be found in the Best Practices area of our website under Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We have also developed partnerships to promote rural equity through creative placemaking. The NGA partnership mentioned above is one example; we’ve also partnered with Art of the Rural to help plan the next Rural Generation Summit. Set for May 2019 in the Mississippi Delta, the conference will consider the practices, projects, institutions and funding priorities that build equity for rural communities and Indian Country. The convening is an integral part of field building for creative placemaking in rural communities. We’ll share conference details as they are published.

The fifth reason I’m jazzed about 2019 is because it’s a new opportunity to advance our advocacy practice. With the 116th Congress installed, it’s time to build new relationships and respond to today’s political environment. We’ll continue advocating for the National Endowment for the Arts and the federal-state arts partnership. We’ll focus on the politics of today, while charting a course toward longer-term advocacy strategies. As I mentioned in my September Notes column, while it will always be necessary to respond to the current environment, we’ll also begin working on a parallel track to improve the political landscape for future federal investments in the arts. Nothing excites me more than beginning to double-track our advocacy efforts, and we’ll keep you posted as that work moves forward.

What are you excited about for 2019? Whatever it is, if it’s important to you and your agency, then it’s important to NASAA as well. Drop us a line and let us know!

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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