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Art by Steve Johnson

Shifting Policy and Practice: Insights and Actions for States

2020 has been a watershed year for the arts, America and state arts agencies. Lives and livelihoods have been lost, and cracks in the foundation of American justice, public health and support for the arts have been called into stark relief. What’s next for the arts and state arts agencies? How can we catalyze positive change and forge a strong and equitable future, one in which the arts are the backbone of a society in which all will flourish?

This special series of online learning events—especially for state arts agency staff and council members—offers provocative perspectives and actionable ideas. Participation is free for all state arts agency staff and council members and regional arts organizations. Register for the whole series or participate in the sessions of your choice. For more information, contact NASAA Learning Services Director Eric Giles.
Art by Steve Johnson

Pivot – Part 1

August 27, 2020

State arts agencies and the communities we serve are navigating a time of profound reckoning—and potential renewal—in 2020. A global pandemic, rising inequality and economic contractions are reshaping the American landscape, bringing painful losses as well as encouraging change. How will these trends affect the arts in the future? What’s shifting in how the arts are produced, shared and funded? Join leading experts from across the country to look at the changing arts landscape and imagine how arts grant makers can make a difference at this crucial moment in our field’s evolution.

MODERATOR Omari Rush, Executive Director, CultureSource

SPEAKERS Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America; Diane Jean-Mary, Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, LaPlaca Cohen; Maurine Knighton, Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation


Pivot – Part 2

August 28, 2020

Many state arts agencies are altering their programs to address the aftershocks of COVID-19 and financial losses for the arts field. What lessons can we draw from their adaptive practices to date? Join your colleagues for a virtual dialogue that will examine a variety of state arts agency response strategies. We’ll emphasize grant program adaptations as well as technical assistance services designed to bolster the sustainability of the arts sector.

MODERATOR Ryan Stubbs, Senior Director of Research, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

SPEAKERS Victoria Panella Bourns, Director, Utah Division of Arts and Museums; Sue Gens, Executive Director, Minnesota State Arts Board; Michael W. Ibrahim, Program Manager, Portfolio Organizations and CIP Advisory Services & Capacity Building Initiatives, Mass Cultural Council


Building Bridges in a Time of Crisis

September 2, 2020

Recent events have pushed communities into crisis, forcing us to cope with the myriad ripple effects of the pandemic, economic insecurity, social uprisings and fractured ideology. What do communities in crisis need in order to heal and come together? What can funders and arts leaders do to help? This session offers ideas and principles for using the arts to respond to social emergencies by putting arts at the center of community healing. A roundtable conversation with state arts agencies will reflect on ways state arts agencies can nurture community resilience during troubled times.

MODERATOR Nashormeh N.R. Lindo, Chair, California Arts Council

SPEAKERS Lori Lobenstine, Cofounder, DS4SI; Aviva Kapust, Executive Director, The Village of Arts and Humanities

PANEL Margaret Hunt, Executive Director, Colorado Creative Industries; Freddy Velez, Deputy Director, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture; Susan DuPlessis, Community Arts Development Director, South Carolina Arts Commission


Equity Choice Points

September 17, 2020

State arts agencies are striving to achieve high standards of equity and inclusion in their grant making. But bias and other obstacles still lurk within in some policies and practices that public agencies have historically used to award grants. This session will help state arts agencies to examine their own grant making, recognize choice points and highlight practical tactics for reducing funding barriers. Tune in to explore a new tool (coming soon from NASAA!) and to learn how some fellow state arts agencies have made public funding for the arts more equitable and accessible.

MODERATOR Kelly Barsdate, Chief Program and Planning Officer, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

SPEAKERS Katherin Canton, Race and Equity Manager, California Arts Council; Ayanna Lalia Kiburi, Deputy Director, California Arts Council; Jane Preston, Deputy Director, New England Foundation for the Arts; Ken Skrzesz, Executive Director, Maryland State Arts Council


New Opportunities for Creative Aging

September 30, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on older adults, bringing into stark relief the damaging effects of ageism and isolation. It also has inspired arts providers and teaching artists to find new ways of delivering creative aging programs to engage and empower older adults, to enrich their social connections and unleash their creative potential. See how the arts are reaching this priority population.

MODERATOR Susan Oetgen, Arts Learning Projects Director, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

SPEAKERS Teresa Bonner, Executive Director, Aroha Philanthropies; Lynda Monick-Isenberg, Visual Artist and Educator; Annie Meek Montgomery, Director of Education, Lifetime Arts


Shifting the Narratives: Successful Messaging for Public Funding for the Arts

October 14, 2020

In this time of financial belt tightening and increased competition for government dollars, it is important to establish broad political will to sustain public funding for the arts. This entails engaging both conservative and progressive policymakers and helping them recognize that the arts are a necessary investment—not merely a nicety—for the public sector. New research commissioned by NASAA reveals the factors that led to sustained public funding in other fields, and that is elevating shifts in messaging and messengers that will be core to our field’s success. This session shares findings from this work and implications for enhancing arts advocacy in congressional districts nationwide.

SPEAKERS Tovar Cerulli, Senior Director, Metropolitan Group; Eric Friedenwald-Fishman, Creative Director/Founder/CEO, Metropolitan Group; Rob Sassor, Vice President, Metropolitan Group


Business Bash

October 22, 2020

For our learning series grand finale, celebrate online with your state arts agency colleagues! Salute outstanding leaders in our field, hear NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux deliver a “State of the States” address, experience the fastest-ever virtual business meeting, and raise a glass with your peers.




Thank you to the National Endowment for the Arts, Aroha Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation for supporting NASAA’s Shifting Policy and Practice: Insights and Actions for States learning series!

The work of NASAA and state arts agencies is strengthened in many ways through partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.