NASAA Notes: March 2022


March issue
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March 1, 2022

Member News and NASAA Resources

NEFA ED Cathy Edwards to Depart in May

Photo by Judy Sirota Rosenthal

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Executive Director Cathy Edwards will step down as of May 31, after leading the organization for more than seven years. Under Edwards’s leadership, NEFA bolstered partnerships and increased its support to artists and cultural organizations through grant making and services. She grew the annual operating budget from $7 million to $12 million and created a strategic plan that centers equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility across NEFA’s work. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact in the arts, Edwards developed partnerships with New England’s state arts agencies to provide emergency artist relief funds, and with U.S. Regional Arts Organizations to provide emergency operating support to New England cultural groups. In addition to launching programs to support artists in the region, she established a public art department that champions spatial and social justice, and expanded national grant making in dance and theatre that is recognized for equity and models community-led grant making. Edwards came to NEFA from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, Connecticut) in January 2015. Prior to that, she served as artistic director of the Portland (Oregon) Institute for Contemporary Art and as artistic director at Dance Theater Workshop (New York City). Edwards will work with NEFA’s board and staff to support transition planning, after which she intends to pursue personal creative projects for the coming year. The NEFA board will conduct a national search for a new executive director.

Welcome to New NEA States and Regions Specialist Lara Garritano

Lara Holman Garritano has been named the new states and regions specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Garritano joined the NEA in 2016 as the local arts agencies specialist, managing the NEA’s city and county level component of the Partnership Division’s portfolio. Working with local arts agencies across the country, she has facilitated funding opportunities that run parallel to the work of states and regions, extending the reach of federal investment in the arts through project support, relief funding and subgranting. Garritano’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining the NEA, she served at 4Culture, a county level local arts agency based in Seattle, Washington, that advances art, public art, heritage and historic preservation. After initially managing arts funding programs, Garritano began addressing agencywide priorities at 4Culture, innovating a new role and serving as the agency’s first communications lead. In Colorado, Garritano worked to establish the state-designated Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District. She was responsible for developing programming that positioned arts, culture, creativity and innovation as a strategic partner on contemporary issues and opportunities in the civic arena, including economic and livability efforts. Garritano’s work at the NEA is informed by a long history of field work that includes experience as an applicant, grantee and panelist at the city, county, state and federal levels. She succeeds Andi Mathis, who retired in December.

Anti-Bias Training Materials Available

All materials related to NASAA’s recent anti-bias training for state arts agencies are now available. Check out the Anti-Bias Training for State Arts Agencies page for an introductory video, worksheets, and session slides for executive staff, general staff and council members. This professional development initiative stimulated conversations and change in individual and collective practices to help reduce bias by raising awareness and offering practical, positive actions members can pursue in their work in state arts agencies.

Together Our Voice Is Louder

Strong support for the arts at the federal level leads to strong support for the arts in states and local communities. That’s why NASAA works year-round to advance your priorities with federal lawmakers and to protect the partnership between the states and the National Endowment for the Arts. In fact, we’re the only organization in the country that’s dedicated to advocating for the 40% of the Endowment’s grant funds that goes to states. We rely on personal contributions, from people like you, to do this work, because we don’t use membership dues or federal funding for our advocacy. Please support NASAA today, or become a NASAA Champion and donate monthly, to help give state arts agencies a powerful collective voice in Congress. Thank you!

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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