NASAA Notes: September 2023


Sandy Shaughnessy Headshot

Sandy Shaughnessy

September issue
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September 6, 2023

Members Speak, NASAA Listens

In this month’s column, we hear from Sandy Shaughnessy, director of the Florida Division of Arts and Culture and chair of NASAA’s 2023 Nominating Committee.


I love “nominating season” at NASAA! Let me tell you why.

In June, everyone who is a voting member of our Assembly (state and jurisdictional arts agency executive directors and chairs) gets a call from someone from NASAA’s Nominating Committee. We as members are asked to provide feedback about the NASAA board and NASAA services. We also get a chance to weigh in on NASAA priorities and to offer nominations for NASAA board and committee service. It’s a great time to share kudos, criticisms and ideas and to ask questions.

These interviews paint a vivid picture of our field. What do state arts agencies need? What’s keeping us awake at night? How can NASAA help? Reading the interview results every year helps me see how my own agency fits into the larger universe of state arts agencies. Sometimes I read things that I relate to, that help me feel less alone. Other times I am reminded of how different each state is and how important it is to respect that. Either way, it’s always an educational and thought-provoking read.

The findings from this summer’s interviews have just been released, and I want to encourage everyone in the state arts agency field to explore the report. It’s a candid snapshot of the big issues our field is grappling with today, like:

  • efforts to build broad support for the arts and our agencies,
  • concerns about budget contractions after COVID-19 pandemic funding dries up,
  • ways state arts agencies are adapting to new policy directives, and
  • steps state arts agencies are taking to ensure that their programs and services are accessible.

All of this information is being put to immediate use. The names you provided are being considered for board and committee service. (A slate of board nominees will be circulated shortly.) The views you expressed are informing NASAA’s next action plan and helping NASAA improve its programs and services. We’ll have the chance to vote on both the slate and the action plan at NASAA’s virtual business meeting, coming up on Monday, October 23, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern. I look forward to seeing you there!

This process of field consultation and member voting is a great example of participatory governance. It also affirms what so many of us experience when we call on NASAA for help—that NASAA keeps its focus on state arts agencies. We don’t have to compete for NASAA’s attention amidst many other constituencies. State arts agencies are the sole purpose of NASAA’s work. It’s good to be able to count on that, and to know that NASAA has our backs no matter what we’re facing. And it’s encouraging that the report shows such high rates of member satisfaction with NASAA’s services and resources for state arts agencies.

As you’re soaking up the last rays of summer, I urge you to pour yourself a tall glass of something cool and browse through the 2023 Member Interview Findings. I think you’ll find them inspiring.

And speaking of inspiring, I’d like to send a giant “Thank you!” to everyone who served on NASAA’s Nominating Committee this year. Your service and dedication to this important process made me proud to work with you and be a part of this valuable endeavor.

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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