NASAA Notes: December 2023

December 5, 2023

Alabama: Writers' Forum and Partnership Programs

A student participant in Writing Our Stories presents at a book launch. Photo courtesy Alabama Department of Youth Services

State arts agencies often collaborate with statewide partners to expand their reach, increase capacity, and grow networks of beneficiaries and advocates. The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) partnership with the Alabama Writers’ Forum (AWF) highlights the potential that strategic, long-term partnerships have for supporting arts and culture.

Started in 1993, the Alabama Writers’ Forum was the result of conversations between ASCA and Alabama’s literature community about the need for literature-focused programming and funding. To spur the statewide conversation, ASCA held a breakout session for literary arts during its statewide conference, which led to the formation of the AWF nonprofit. From there, ASCA worked to support the general operations of the newly formed Alabama Writers Forum, recognizing the opportunity for a new statewide partner to extend ASCA’s geographic reach, respond flexibly to the needs of writers, and expand the agency’s capacity to serve readers, emerging writers and well-established authors. Early support also included nontraditional resource sharing, like the use of office space, to ensure that AWF had the ability to grow.

Now entering their 30th year of partnership, the Alabama Writers’ Forum and the Alabama State Council on the Arts continue to develop collaborative programming. The newest offering from AWF is a statewide Alabama Authors Directory that features Alabama author profiles. Each profile includes contact information, the author’s works, awards they’ve won and whether they are available for leading workshops. AWF implements Writing Our Stories, which supports reading, writing and therapeutic outcomes for incarcerated youth. This program, which is funded in large part by the Alabama Department of Youth Services, is an example of a cross-sector partnership with benefits reaching far beyond the arts field. AWF also supports the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, a High School Literary Arts Awards Competition and an upcoming K-5 poetry program.

Through multiple statewide partnerships, ASCA has expanded its indirect capacity to serve the disciplines of dance, literature, arts education, craft, folklife and design. In quarterly meetings between ASCA staff and partnership program staff, ASCA and organizations like AWF can “cross-pollinate” ideas for improved and new programming to better serve artists and audiences across the state. In building cohesive statewide networks, ASCA also organically strengthens the network of arts supporters and expands its reach to new constituents.

For more information about the Alabama Writers’ Forum, contact AWF Executive Director Richard Evans and ASCA Literary Arts Program Manager Anne Kimzey. For more information on Alabama State Council on the Arts’s partnership programs, contact ASCA Executive Director Dr. Elliot Knight.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




To receive information regarding updates to our newslettter. Please fill out the form below.