Updated NASAA Member Directory

Thursday, December 4, 2008

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Executive Director's Column

NASAA Executive Director Jonathan Katz

Economic downturns—and, consequently, reduced tax revenues—trigger predictable concerns on the part of responsible public sector leaders. Seeking to lower expenditures, elected officials and staff members with fiscal purview review not only agency budgets, but agency raisons d'etre. State arts agency staff and council members seek to carry out the missions they are charged with by sustaining public benefits at the highest level possible, and by assisting artists and arts organizations to strengthen the economy.

One way for state arts agencies to adapt to the changing economic environment is to reconsider their mission and their management, communication and cultural leadership roles. I hope you find the questions below helpful as you consider how best to provide public service in these challenging times.

Mission and Management


Cultural Leadership

We can expect that, from place to place and from time to time, crisis management will be the order of the day—and appropriately so. When time is short and stakes are high, effective leaders focus tightly on top priorities, critical decision points, key decision makers and the most influential supporters. However, as we learned from the economic downturns that ended the 1980s and 1990s, thoughtfully positioning a state arts agency to provide maximum public value pays off during stormy times and the fair weather that follows.