January 7, 2020
Ten Reasons I'm Enthusiastic about 2020 at NASAA
Happy new year, everyone! As we roll forward into 2020, I’m grounded by my to-do list and the considerable traffic in my e-mail inbox, yet uplifted by so much that lies ahead. I’m confident we’ll advance NASAA’s core mission of strengthening state arts agencies, and we’ll do so in some new and interesting ways. For many of us, January is a time for new year’s resolutions. Admittedly, I jumped off the resolutions train long ago. Much stronger than many of my personal resolutions from days gone by, however, is NASAA’s resolve to assert the importance of state arts agencies in America and support your work. As our team embraces this year’s actions designed to move our collective work forward, I’d like to share some topline plans I’m especially excited about this year. In no particular order, here are my top 10:
- Puerto Rico! In October, all state arts agency staff and council members are invited to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where NASAA members from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) will host NASAA Assembly 2020 and related preconferences. We’re grateful to ICP President and NASAA board member Eduardo Arosemena Muñoz, Executive Director Carlos Ruiz Cortés and the entire ICP team, who will help us explore Puerto Rico’s rich cultural traditions, global influence and creative resilience as key components of our shared learning experience. The NASAA team is already working to design inspirational and rewarding professional development opportunities for our time together in San Juan, so I encourage you to bring a team to take full advantage of the experience. (You may have heard about the earthquakes Puerto Rico has been experiencing this week. Thank you for keeping this member agency in your thoughts.)
- Strong budget growth is in the air! At the National Endowment for the Arts and in aggregate at state arts agencies, many budgets are growing, and member agencies are strengthening current programs and services as well as imagining new strategies to ensure that all communities flourish through the arts.
- New advocacy research is also on the horizon, so please stay tuned. We’re committed to learning more about how other sectors have moved their policy goals forward, and we’ll apply what we learn to advancing NASAA’s arts advocacy strategies.
- Last year’s National Governors Association report, Rural Prosperity through the Arts & Creative Sector, keeps on giving as we enter 2020. Interest in its findings remains high (including this mention in a Forbes article last month), and we’ll continue to leverage that work moving forward. We’re slated to share the work at conferences, roundtables and other strategic convenings this year, and we’ll continue to seek opportunities to promote policies and practices that benefit rural communities through the arts.
- If you’ve been following NASAA’s partnership with Aroha Philanthropies, you’re already aware that we’re exploring how state arts agencies can advance their work in creative aging. We asked, and you clearly told us there is a high demand for creative aging programs and services in your states. Our recent state arts agency survey highlights your investments in and observations about creative aging. Thank you for helping us explore this important issue. We know that the arts can provide critical opportunities to support health and wellness for older Americans, and your observations will now be central to our next steps with Aroha Philanthropies as we explore additional resources for state arts agencies.
- In 2020 you’ll see our partnership with ArtPlace America reap tangible rewards for state arts agencies. We’ll develop and publish a new guide to accessing federal resources for creative placemaking (and arts in community development), provide an immersive learning opportunity for SAA community development coordinators, and launch new networking opportunities for state arts agency leaders alongside leaders in the community economic development sector.
- With so many new activities in the hopper, now is a great time to mention my excitement about NASAA’s development work and team. Our Development Committee, led by NASAA board member and Missouri Arts Council member Nola Ruth, and our staff team of Laura Smith and Katie Hughes, are breaking records! Individual giving and foundation giving are at an all-time high at NASAA, and the good work continues. I’m thankful for their drive and commitment to our development practice, and I’m especially thankful for your personal and organizational contributions to our collective success.
- NASAA’s People of Color Affinity Group is now formally member led! It’s my honor to officially welcome the leaders who will guide the group moving forward. Cochairs are Virginia Commission for the Arts Vice Chair Abigail Gomez and Illinois Arts Council Deputy Director Encarnacion Teruel; our cochairs are joined by advisor, NASAA board member and Maryland State Arts Council member Carla Du Pree. I’m grateful for their work to help connect and benefit affinity group members.
- With respect to state arts agency diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) portfolios, this year NASAA will develop and publish a paper highlighting case studies of programmatic and policy changes being undertaken by state arts agencies. One of the great benefits of our network is the ongoing opportunity to learn from each other, and the case studies will allow us to share agencies’ substantive diversity, equity and inclusion shifts with the entire membership. I’m confident this new research will be helpful as you explore opportunities to advance your agency’s DEI work.
- No top-10 list of mine or NASAA’s would be complete without a specific salute to members. Each week the NASAA team gathers and shares what we’re hearing from member states; we call it Member Moments, and we love those moments because they keep us connected to you. Looking ahead to 2020, more than anything I’m enthusiastic about the moments I’ll spend with members, whether on the phone or in your states. Never hesitate to give us a jingle to share news, both good and troubling, to request information, or to brainstorm some possibilities. Whatever the need, we’re happy to connect because members are our North Star, and we’re always keen to be of service. Here’s to a great 2020 to the entire state arts agency community!
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
The Research Digest
State to State
- Arkansas: Veterans Arts Grant
- New Mexico: The Arts Trails Program
- New York: New Creative Aging Initiative
Announcements and Resources
More Notes from NASAASubscribe