NASAA Notes: October 2023

October 4, 2023

Kansas, Wyoming and South Arts: Supporting the Music Industry

State arts agencies (SAAs) and regional arts organizations (RAOs) have a strong desire to support the creative lives and occupations of their constituents as well as the health of any given creative industry. Programming and grants across Kansas and Wyoming, and a national jazz initiative led by South Arts, showcase the variety of strategies used to promote statewide and regional networking, expand performing opportunities, develop audiences, and assist in the professional development of artists all across the music industry. These new and ongoing music industry support programs highlight how SAAs and RAOs can adopt strategies to strengthen the creative economy and bolster the work of creative professionals.

Kansas Music Ecosystem

Participants in the Kansas MixMaster Music Conference listen to a presentation. Photo by Fally Afani, image courtesy Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission

The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) is working to develop the statewide Music Ecosystem as part of its cultural development initiatives. The new project seeks to assist in the recovery of Kansas’s musicians and the large network of industry workers, nonprofits, community leaders and government representatives. Since creating an initial draft report summary highlighting the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the state’s music ecosystem, the project has hosted convenings in numerous communities and has created professional development and networking opportunities.

The initial report finds that the current music industry in Kansas supports statewide and regional collaboration, accessibility for all ages to participate, and a strong music advocacy network. Convening participants also suggested, however, that there is a lack of government partnerships and insufficient contributed revenue directed to Kansas musicians and the music scene. To further strengthen the music ecosystem and address current weaknesses, KCAIC has outlined a series of opportunities for future programming, including taking a leading role in:

  • revitalizing the statewide Touring Artist Roster as a tool for engagement, development and export of Kansas music;
  • partnering with educational institutions, arts administrators and economic development departments within city government to support baseline economic studies and workforce development in live music; and
  • connecting with experts in the field of music ecosystems and nighttime economy development at the national and international level.

For more information about KCAIC’s new initiative to support the music ecosystem in Kansas, contact project coordinator Nick Carswell.

Wyoming Independent Music Initiative

Reckless Rooster, from Pinedale, Wyoming, performs at the 2023 Wyoming Showcase at Treefort Music Fest. Image courtesy of Wyoming Arts Council

The Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) seeks to help independent musicians develop their talents while strengthening the capacity of live music venues and encouraging community development, social cohesions and livability. As part of the Wyoming Independent Music Initiative, WAC has a series of grants and programming to support the music industry within Wyoming.

WAC provides two grant opportunities to fund developing musicians’ ability to play new venues, build professional and entrepreneurial skills, and bring in out-of-state artists:

  • The Performing & Touring grant develops partnerships between WAC and music venues to provide paid opportunities for Wyoming musicians to perform.
  • The Professional Development/Career Advancement Grant supports all artists who seek to further their career. For musicians, this can include studio time for recording an album, marketing assistance and the creation of an electronic press kit.

The Wyoming Independent Music Initiative also presents the Wyoming Road Trip Playlist, an annual curated showcase of Wyoming musicians. Songs are selected by Jami Duffy, the executive director of Youth on Record, following an open call for artists to submit their songs. For more information on the Wyoming Independent Music Initiative, contact Wyoming Arts Council Creative Arts Specialist Kimberly Mittelstadt.

South Arts and Jazz Road

South Arts, one of the U.S. regional arts organizations, supports the development of the national jazz music industry through its Jazz Road program. The cross-region initiative is an artist-centric program that seeks to bolster the presentation and creation of jazz music by supporting multitown tours and creative residencies. The program is dedicated to supporting both deeper community engagement with jazz music and significant career opportunities.

Jazz Road is conducted in partnership with the five other regional arts organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts and Western States Arts Federation [with Western Arts Alliance]). The program features two main grant opportunities and an opportunity for local partnerships:

  • Jazz Road Creative Residency grants support and redefine what residencies can be for jazz artists, offering awards of $5,000 to $40,000 for jazz artists to engage in self-defined residencies to develop and practice their music, explore new possibilities and work with communities.
  • Jazz Road Tours grants provide $5,000 to $15,000 to jazz artists who want to develop a small, three- to six-site tour. The program encourages programming in rural communities and locations that do not often have live jazz music.
  • Jazz Road supports an open call for presenters who are interested in working with and hosting artists from Jazz Road. The program encourages all presenters, from traditional to nontraditional and urban to isolated, to apply if they are interested in hosting performers.

For more information, contact South Arts Director of Jazz Road Drew Tucker, South Arts Assistant Director of Jazz Road Erick Rucker or your local Jazz Road coordinator.

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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