Economic uncertainty and political churn are intensifying the many strategic challenges facing state arts agencies today. NASAA has compiled this special resource area with tools designed to help state arts agencies take charge by:
How NASAA Helped
Susan Weiner Georgia
"When the Georgia Council for the Arts faced elimination, there was only one place I knew to call: NASAA. I knew they'd be there. I knew they'd have sage advice. I knew they'd have facts and figures. But most importantly, they had successful strategies to offer. I learned quickly in this position that reaching out to NASAA staff or consulting their publications was the most direct way to find the best answers in the shortest time frame."
Former Executive Director, Georgia Council for the Arts
Arni Fishbaugh Montana
"We had to respond to a scary restructuring proposal in a hurry. NASAA gave us information on other states, quotes from experts, and policy arguments that helped us make a credible case for our agency. And they responded right away when we called for help. Thanks, NASAA!"
Executive Director, Montana Arts Council
Molly Pratt Tennessee
"NASAA's always there when we need a smart sounding board or good information. Here in Tennessee, we know we can count on NASAA for advice that shows respect for both sides of the aisle. This year NASAA was extra helpful by conducting an on-line survey that will help us build support for the arts within the legislature."
Tennesseans for the Arts and*former chair, Tennessee Arts Commission
John Bracey Michigan
"The possibility of elimination has been an annual occurrence for my agency. Each time, NASAA has supported us. NASAA's research staff—often at a moment's notice—provided context using national funding trends and historical data about our agency. During an extremely tense budget cycle, we asked CEO Jonathan Katz to write a letter to our governor, opening the door for further conversations. Legislative Counsel Tom Birch's session at our first virtual conference gave inspiration to arts advocates across the state. NASAA's efforts on our behalf are among the reasons we are still here today."
Executive Director, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
Mary Campbell-Zopf Ohio
"During spring 2009, Ohio's tax revenues plummeted—a precipitous drop the state hadn't seen since the 1930s. Our agency faced a 47% reduction in its budget and a 40% reduction in staffing. Our board and staff were faced with some serious decisions about how to continue supporting the arts and culture in our communities. The customized funding and grant making report that NASAA created for us compared our agency's funding and grant making over time and to our peers. This provided context to our situation that both board and staff found incredibly useful as we worked through a difficult but necessary process."
Deputy Director, Ohio Arts Council
The transcript from NASAA's December 2010 web seminar, The Lay of the Land: A Look at the 2010 Midterm Elections, includes perspectives on managing political turnover from Virginia Commission for the Arts Executive Director Peggy Baggett and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Executive Director Philip Horn.
As they make the transition from campaigning to governing, new elected officials are receiving volumes of trend analysis and recommendations from their own networks. NASAA recommends that state arts agencies stay attuned to these key sources:
Although the above sources strive for balanced analysis, strong partisan loyalties will shape state policy debates in the year ahead. To stay abreast of these forces, monitor the GOP Issue Briefings, the Democratic National Committee's platform page and the Tea Party's Contract From America blog.
Invoking the Facts
NASAA provides information to help you make the case for your agency and to document the importance of your work:
NASAA can help you cite compelling evidence of the benefits of the arts and state arts agencies by directing you to current research and experts in the field. For quick and customized assistance with any question, contact NASAA Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate.
being an informed, neutral and confidential crisis management advisor and helping you decide when and how to invoke assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts (contact NASAA Executive Director Jonathan Katz);
providing assistance with media inquiries (contact Communications Manager Sue Struve);
providing statistics (contact Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate);
contending with restructuring proposals (contact Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate);
crafting talking points, letters of support, testimony or funding justifications (contact Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate);
As many state arts agencies who have called on NASAA know, NASAA's assistance is always tailored to your unique situation. Our communications principles guide NASAA's assistance to each individual agency, as well as our work on behalf of all state arts agencies at the national level.