Valuing Public Investments in the Arts

Pam Breaux, president & CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), addresses in a recent interview with Barry’s Blog some of the challenges state arts agency leaders face in the current arts funding climate and highlights that advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is among the core issues facing these agencies.

"As demographic, political and economic changes reshape our country, they also reshape the landscape for state arts agencies. Further, as artists and the arts move into the future, traditional assumptions about how administrators define, support and fund the arts must change to meet a new day," said Breaux in response to Barry Hessenius’ question about which principal issues state arts agencies currently encounter.

Nowadays, state arts agencies tackle supporting a meaningful role for the arts in the innovation economy, diversifying revenue streams, developing multi-sector partnerships, and navigating a changing national and state policy environment.

When discussing NASAA's role in the state arts advocacy realm, Breaux laid a broad foundation:

In service to state arts agencies, we create and distribute reliable research and data, case-making tools, state policy publications and advocacy guidance documents. Further, we provide counsel and presentations to state arts agencies and advocates as requested. During last year’s threats to the National Endowment for the Arts, our work expanded greatly, as we, in real time, provided guidance to help state arts agencies and advocates defend the value of public investments in the arts as well as debunk erroneous assertions about those investments.

NASAA, a GIA member and partner in the annual Arts Funding Snapshot, is supportive of state arts agency involvement in the broader arts grantmaking community, mentioned Breaux. "As GIA moves forward with new leadership and energy," she added, "we at NASAA look forward to remaining connected and exploring new ideas to advance arts grantmaking."

Read the full interview here.

Photo of Pam Breaux by Matthew Rakola: Courtesy, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies