NASAA Notes: April 2020


April issue
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April 7, 2020

NASAA News and Current Information

COVID-19 Resources for State Arts Agencies

COVID-19 coronavirus illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank

NASAA has developed a succinct collection of resources to help state arts agencies and other public arts funders address the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. COVID-19 Resources for State Arts Agencies touches on federal policy, examples of state arts agency programs, antidiscrimination guidance, tips for organizing online meetings and more. Bookmark this page—we will update it for you regularly.

GEO Webinar: Resiliency in Grant Making

Join Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the Nonprofit Finance Fund on April 16 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for Response, Recovery, Resiliency: What Nonprofits Need From Grantmakers During the COVID-19 Crisis. This webinar is designed to help funders make sense of their roles and learn how to assist organizations in ways that accelerate their path back to robust strength.

Mindfulness Meditation

Practicing mindfulness eases stress and anxiety while supporting our ability to focus, listen and connect with others—an asset in the best of times and even more so now in this time of pandemic. To support state arts agencies, NASAA offers meditation via conference call several times a week, and all staff and council members are welcome to participate. These sessions are led by Chief Advancement Officer Laura Smith, who is trained in teaching meditation and has experience helping creative professionals develop a practice that supports their goals and well-being. Reach out to Laura via email or phone at 202-347-7066 for more information or to be added to the e-mail list.

David Schmitz Is New Iowa Arts Council Administrator

David Schmitz has joined the Iowa Arts Council as administrator, the lead staff role at the Council. Schmitz has been executive director of the Dubuque Museum of Art since 2015. During his tenure, the museum launched a number of new programs focused on engaging new audiences; raised its profile by forming partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution and Art Bridges, among others; brought major traveling exhibits, including 2019’s African American Art in the 20th Century, to Dubuque; and earned reaccreditation with the American Alliance of Museums. Prior to this role, Schmitz served as a community resources specialist with the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, where he coordinated programs and supported community-led efforts to develop public art and placemaking projects. At the Des Moines Art Center, he managed a growing membership program and led the museum’s efforts to engage young professionals. Schmitz has been recognized by Americans for the Arts, the National Young Arts Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. He currently serves on the boards of the Iowa Cultural Coalition and the Friends of the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art. He is a past chair of the City of Dubuque’s arts and cultural affairs advisory commission. Schmitz is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art. He earned a master of arts degree in arts management from Columbia College Chicago, and has attended the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University.

Massachusetts Cultural Council ED Anita Walker to Retire in June

Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker will retire on June 30. During her 13-year tenure leading the Council, she has raised the visibility of the nonprofit creative sector as a driving force for growth and prosperity in Massachusetts. Walker led advocacy for the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, which has invested $119 million in arts and cultural capital building projects statewide over 10 years. She launched Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Districts Initiative and led the creation of a system that simplified the state’s support system for the nonprofit cultural sector. Under Walker’s leadership, Mass Cultural Council built a new field of practice called Creative Youth Development and launched an initiative to support cultural organizations that embrace inclusivity as core to their mission. Most recently, she developed the Council’s CultureRx Initiative, which seeks to improve health and well-being in Massachusetts through cultural participation.

Before coming to Massachusetts, Walker was director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for seven years, serving as executive director of the Iowa Arts Council, administrator of the State Historical Society and state historic preservation officer. A California native, she plans to return to her home state in July. A firm is being engaged to launch a nationwide search for the Mass Cultural Council’s next executive director.

NASAA Welcomes New Staff Members and Fellow

NASAA is pleased to welcome three new members to our team.

Marisa Summers joined NASAA on April 1 as assistant to the president and board administrator. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of all activities of the president’s office; this includes managing office operations, member support, special initiatives and external affairs functions. As board administrator, she serves as the president’s liaison to the board of directors and committees. Marisa’s dedicated member support roles include facilitation of NASAA’s affinity group and mentorship program for people of color at state arts agencies.

Prior to joining NASAA, Marisa worked for Conservation International, the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital and the Freedom Forum Newseum. During her combined 12-year tenure at Conservation International, she managed the board of directors as well as the office of the chairman and CEO. While at the Newseum, Marisa authored and designed the first interactive activity guide for the museums Freedom Park, A Walk with Freedom. She has served on the board of Young D.C. and in addition to her director role, she was the treasurer and chair of the annual fundraiser. Originally from Hampton, Virginia, Marisa holds a B.F.A. in interior design from the School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, and an M.A. in museum education from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Marisa became a lover of the arts after holding her first Crayola crayon at the age of three, and her favorite color in the box is sky blue.

Declan Wicks joined NASAA on March 30 as research associate. In this role, he monitors programmatic trends in the state arts agency field, documenting the diverse strategies used to foster the arts at the state level. Declan is responsible for conducting qualitative research on best practices for state arts agencies, tracking state legislation, and writing NASAA policy briefs and strategy samplers based on his research. Additionally, he coordinates with the research team to answer requests for information and contribute to multiple NASAA member services.

Declan most recently completed an internship at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he worked alongside the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy team to facilitate executive education programming and analyze internal programmatic data. He graduated with a B.M. in world music and a B.A. in international studies from Bowling Green State University. While studying, he helped manage his family’s coffee shop and organized an annual downtown music and arts festival. Declan is an avid musician and trombonist with a keen interest in the soundscapes of our daily lives.

Nakyung Rhee joined NASAA on March 30 as research fellow. She works with the research team to create compelling data visualizations and conduct analysis on state, federal and private grant making in the arts. She also assists with data collection and survey implementation.

Nakyung is a researcher and arts administrator, specializing in arts management and cultural policy analysis. Her core research interest is in the arts and health, aiming at improving communication in multidisciplinary collaborations in the arts and/for/in other areas. Within the broad domain, her theoretical work focuses on creative aging for lifelong arts engagement and learning across all ages, with an emphasis on the instrumental and instructional values of the arts. Nakyung has worked as an independent researcher assisting nonprofit arts organizations in research and data management. She serves as an administrative assistant/research specialist for Snow City Arts, a nonprofit organization that provides arts and educational programs to children in hospitals in Chicago. Nakyung majored in business administration and minored in art history at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. She holds her M.A. and Ph.D. in arts administration, education and policy from the Ohio State University, with specialization in cultural policy and arts management, museum education and administration, and aging studies.