NASAA Notes: June 2023

June 7, 2023

Deepening Cross-sector Collaborations within Government

Earlier this year, NASAA invited state arts agency (SAA) executive directors and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chair Maria Rosario Jackson to come together to begin a discussion about advancing arts based cross-sector collaborations within government—at the federal, state and jurisdictional levels. We asked ourselves: how do we build sustainable opportunities for the arts within the policy sector through cross-sector partnerships across government agencies? We acknowledged important work that has already taken place at the federal, state and local levels. The NEA’s Creative Forces program is a notable example of a partnership created at the federal level (with U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs) that catapulted important work in arts therapy for military personnel. At the state level, NASAA’s recent publication about arts in transportation strategies highlights innovative collaborations between SAAs and transportation agencies in several states.

While these collaborations aren’t new, this is work that deserves to be deepened and expanded. It is work that holds incredible potential to advance many of our country’s challenging policy issues through creativity and the arts. The President’s executive order on the arts and humanities encouraged this line of work in support of the arts and humanities; he also urged many federal agencies to seek opportunities to be in partnership with the arts and humanities.

To help drive these conversations toward actionable opportunities, NASAA is collaborating with a team of policy fellows and experts to help empower and equip new cross-sector work. Project collaborators include:

Milly Hawk Daniel, former vice president for communications at PolicyLink, is a writer, editor, speechwriter and communications strategist. Prior to her nearly 20 years at PolicyLink, Daniel led communications for several national nonprofit organizations. She has long held a passionate commitment to racial and economic equity and a staunch commitment to arts and culture, especially jazz. Her contributions to cultural activities are fed by a passionate belief that arts and culture are essential for building and sustaining community, contributing to the economic vitality of neighborhoods, and nurturing the spirit of places and the people who live, work, play and learn in them.

Mallory Rukhsana Nezam is a cross-sector culture maker who loves cities and believes that we have the tools to make them more just and joyful. Through her cross-sector practice, Justice + Joy, she engages government, artists, advocacy groups, elected officials, community members and urban planners to de-silo the way we run cities and build new models of creative, interdisciplinary collaboration. Nezam has helped build arts and culture teams at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council of Boston, Transportation for America and PolicyLink. She was a 2020 Monument Lab Transnational fellow, a 2019-2020 inaugural Practices for Change fellow at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, and a 2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Community fellow. She is currently the curator of partnerships and programs for FORWARD, a publication by Forecast Public Art. Nezam holds a master of design degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Amanda Lovelee is an artist who works in civic systems as a translator between government and community with the goal of building places where everyone belongs. She currently works as the parks ambassador for the Metropolitan Council, based in the Twin Cities, where her job is to connect people to the outdoors with a focus on equity. The creative tools Lovelee has created for community engagement and connection have been used and replicated across the United States. She is interested in how people connect and the spaces in which they do. Lovelee is currently a 2022/23 McKnight Visual Artist fellow and 2023 Design for Civic Change fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy. She holds an M.F.A. in visual studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and B.F.A. in photography from University of Hartford.

Johanna K. Taylor is an associate professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University and director of the graduate program in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership. Her work is grounded in a core value of art as a catalyzing force advancing justice in daily life; her research pursues questions of cultural equity through the intersection of art, community, policy and place. Taylor holds a Ph.D. in urban policy from The New School and an M.A. in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University. Her book, The Art Museum Redefined: Power, Opportunity, and Community Engagement (2020), explores museums disrupting organizational hierarchies by sharing decision making with artists and communities. As an arts administrator, Taylor has worked at BRIC Arts|Media, A Blade of Grass, and Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Before joining ASU, Taylor was a Creative Cities fellow at Stanford University.

Lovelee, Nezam, and Taylor work collectively as CAIR Lab, a creative agency supporting artists embedded in cross-sector collaboration.

It’s a pleasure to ideate and work with this team. We’ll keep you informed as the ideas become more concrete, as tangible opportunities for you to connect arise and as we move toward action.

Finally, this project takes its inspiration from the vision of NEA Chair Jackson. Her vision and recent work to promote cross-sector opportunities within the federal family of agencies paves the way for this effort and its great potential. We’re grateful for her leadership and drive to advance this work.

We are also grateful to Mellon Foundation for its generous support of this project.


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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