Kelly Barsdate joined NASAA in 1991. She is the chief architect of NASAA’s strategic plan and oversees NASAA’s member service portfolio, including research activities, member education programs, communications, state technical assistance and special initiatives.
Kelly leads NASAA’s State Arts Agency Boot Camps, an intensive leadership development program designed for state arts agency executives. She draws on deep knowledge about the state arts agency field to advise and train state arts agency staff, council members and constituents on public value fundamentals, effective advocacy, strategic planning, program design and evaluation practices. She has managed collaborations with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Center for Charitable Statistics, Grantmakers in the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and other policy partners.
Kelly has authored numerous monographs on arts policy, including NASAA’s Practical Advocate series, Why Should Government Support the Arts?, A State Arts Agency Performance Measurement Toolkit and A State Arts Agency Strategic Planning Toolkit. She is the editor of NASAA’s Policy Briefs and is a contributing editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society. She holds an Executive Certificate of Facilitation from Georgetown University, a Change Leader certification from the state of Utah, and a degree in English from Oberlin College. Prior to joining NASAA, Kelly was a researcher at Educational Research Services Inc., where she focused on school demographics, multicultural education and program evaluation. Her arts background includes studies in clarinet performance, arts education and orchestral conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as well as community based training in dance and ceramics. Born and raised in Alaska, Kelly is a keen birdwatcher and avid amateur naturalist.