Arts Northwest is a unique partnership organization that has been serving presenters and artists in WA, OR, ID and well beyond for more than 30 years.  It has its roots in Oregon’s NW Booking Conference, Washington's "SWAP" (State of Washington Arts Presenters), and PNWAP (Pacific Northwest Arts Presenters). The annual NW booking conference as we now know it was born with the support of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon Arts Commissions. As a result, the conference started rotating between the three states to a variety of cities. In 1991, the organization voted to bring artists members into full membership and changed the organization's name to Arts Northwest to reflect that evolution. For the first time, artists and presenters from all three states sat on the board of directors together. The inclusion of artists and managers mirrored the national trend towards inclusiveness of the entire field. The successful inclusion of the three state region also made sense in terms of the touring market and fiscal efficiency for staff and conferences. It is still a successful model because it meets its members' needs.
TODAY, Arts NW serves a growing membership of more than 500 organizations and individuals with services ranging from technical support and publications, mentoring and professional development programs and of course, the annual convening of the Arts Northwest Booking Conference. In recent years, Arts Northwest has been asked to extend its services well beyond the tri-state region, incorporating growing presenter membership from 10 of the western states, and increasing participation by artists and agents from most of the nation and several countries. Arts Northwest has been pleased to work cooperatively and diligently with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Western States Arts Federation, Arts Commission and State Arts Councils of Alaska, Utah, Nevada, Montana and Wyoming, to further identify ways to serve the presenters and artists located in their states, who fit the demographic best served by Arts Northwest. The challenge in the future will be managing Arts Northwest’s growth, which is occurring steadily while assuring membership services remain first rate, and that the elements that have always made Arts Northwest an effective and respected service organization, also remain intact.
 Our Vision: Arts Northwest strives to
·        Be a premier performing arts service organization in the Western United States
·        Empower the world of the performing arts by providing services and products that meet needs and exceed expectations.  
·        Create and maintain an effective, productive and accessible network of performing arts professionals; presenters, artists,                agents, vendors, and associates
·        Ride the cutting edge of technology, able to offer its advantages and tools to our members
·        Provide excellence in resources for our members
·        Ensure organizational stability and strengthen our community of stakeholders

 Our Values:

Arts Northwest is identified strongly with values of Leadership, Commitment, Inclusivity, Integrity, Creativity, Flexibility, Resilience and Diversity.

 Context: 2013

Arts Northwest more than doubled its membership and reach over the past 10 years passing the 500 member mark and welcoming arts individuals and organizations from more than 30 states, every Canadian province, and several countries. Our services and programs have also grown considerably. In 2012, in an effort to ensure inclusivity, the Arts NW Board and Staff decided to change the bylaws of the organization. The change allowed board members to be drawn from our wider membership and not just from the founding states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. At the same time, the board recognized that while the mission of Arts Northwest remains essentially the same, in light of an evolving and changing economic and social climate Arts NW must continue to clarify, identify and refine our goals and the strategies designed to reach them.

Strategic Planning 2012-2015:

In the spring of 2012, the Arts NW Board and staff convened at a Board retreat. The objective was to develop a strategic plan initiative for the coming three years. The board hired Karen Powell, Consultant, to facilitate the process. Following this successful strategic planning period, Arts Northwest staff and board members identified nine prioritized goals with associated strategies, timelines, action items and evaluative benchmarks. Staff and board will work towards these goals over the next two or three years.

Planning Process

 Board Retreat: The overarching goal of a 2012 Board Retreat was to create a well-written, 2-3 year Strategic Plan for Arts Northwest board, staff, and membership. Prior to meeting in person, the Consultant recommended a review of the Arts Northwest 2008  assessment report(s) for any relevant or current implications as they related to future strategies.  This was carried out by the Board President and the Executive Director.  It was noted that while the new planning process would not be predicated on four-year-old materials, the review could inform the planning process by bringing key membership issues into the organizational consciousness. 

 The 2012-2015 Strategic Plan would be

1.      Predicated on prioritized organizational goals

2.      Designed to be comprehensive enough to address a variety of core functions with clear strategic steps necessary to reach identified goals

3.      Include identification of center posts or the “who” taking the lead in specific areas or strategies.

4.      Include timelines as to “startup”, “mileposts” or progress and completion dates

5.      Include a commitment to quarterly writing and distribution of progress reports as to the efficacy of the plan. 

6.      Additionally, there would be a final edited version of the plan to be used as part of a business plan, for fundraising and marketing, and as an informational tool in organizational and Board recruitment.

Mission, Vision, and Values: As part of the strategic planning process, it was agreed that a committee would be formed to review and potentially revise the Arts NW mission, vision and values statements.

Goals: Goals identified as part of the 2012-2015 strategic plan: in order to fulfill its mission and serve its diverse membership to the best of its ability, Arts Northwest adopted goals as follows: 


 1.      Increase NW Booking Conference attendance to 100 + presenting organizations with 20 + new presenters from states outside the tri-state region

2.      Expand membership by 15% overall & ensure that at least 30% of those new members attend the conference

3.      Design and implement clear financial policies for Arts Northwest

4.      Explore flexibility for conference locations

5.      Refine and develop a program of In-depth seminars and professional development targeted at more seasoned members

6.      Engage in more competition with other like organizations, endeavoring to become the ultimate western based performing arts service organization.

7.      Develop a comprehensive marketing plan.

8.      Compile marketplace statistics accessible and useful to the membership

9.      Expand the Board to include members from outside the tri-state region


1.   Increase NW Booking Conference attendance to 100 + presenting organizations with 20 + new presenters from states outside the tri-state region

·        Strategy 1: Increase % of presenter members attending the conference to at least 50%.

·        Strategy 2: Contact the % of presenters who were members but did not attend the most recent conference

·        Strategy 3: Plan/market with strategies determined by survey results

·        Strategy 4: Research market attendance/varying stats from others groups. What % of their presenter members attend their event?

2.   Expand membership by 15% overall and ensure that at least 30% of those new members attend the conference

·        Strategy 1: Value, categorize and prioritize marketing efforts

·        Strategy 2: Develop collateral materials to target identified prospects

·        Strategy 3: Research prospects in major metro and rural areas across the region.

·        Strategy 4: Make personal contacts with a targeted number of prospective members each month

 3.   Design and implement clear financial policies for Arts Northwest

·        Strategy 1: Define and communicate current strategies

·        Strategy 2: Maintain a policy of oversight and independent review periodically

4.   Explore flexibility for conference locations

·        Strategy 1: Determine the feasibility and get input from members.

·        Strategy 2: Explore geographic options through contact with CVBs, local arts agencies, members, partners and site visits.

 5.   Develop a program of In-depth seminars and professional development targeted at seasoned as well as beginner/intermediate level members

·        Strategy 1: Determine educational needs of more seasoned members

·        Strategy 2: Create "Advanced" in-depth seminars and professional development opportunities

·        Strategy 3: Market advanced IDS to "seasoned" presenters, artists and agents

·        Strategy 4: Evaluate outcomes

 6.   Engage in friendly competition and connection with other like organizations

·        Strategy 1: Expose as many performing arts professionals as possible to the excellence and competitiveness of our products and services

·        Strategy 2: Strategically select new board members from AK, WY, UT, NV, MT, CA and Canada

·        Strategy 3: Set measurable goals to determine successes

 7.   Compile marketplace statistics accessible and useful to the membership 

·        Strategy 1: Inventory current information/stats available directly through Arts NW and/or as a result of our partnerships and professional affiliations and connections

·        Strategy 2: Identify desired statistics - what we know and what is missing.

·        Strategy 3: Communicate effectively with our members to ensure we understand what they need. Encourage them to use us as a solid resource that welcomes their asking us for help.

 8.   Develop a comprehensive marketing plan

·        Strategy 1: Review reports from the Marketing and Membership Committees

·        Strategy 2: Conduct a Communications audit

·        Strategy 3: Create a yearly written marketing plan

 9.   Expand the Board to include members from outside the tri-state region

·        Strategy 1: Identify areas to focus on, as well as number of new board members needed

·        Strategy 2: Establish a yearly review of board size and effectiveness

 EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS: The first Executive Director of Pacific Northwest Arts Presenters (PNWAP) was Lynne Waring followed by Marlene Moore during the PNWAP years.  Following Marlene's retirement, Jack Alotto and Peter McCracken served as Executive Director respectively with Arts Northwest.  In June 2000, Karen Hanan joined Arts Northwest as the Executive Director until 2013 when she took the position of Executive Director at the Washington State Arts Commission. Following Karen's departure, Robin Mullins served briefly as director until the current director, Sam Calhoun.

 Board Presidents have included, Tom Tomlinson, Lynne Waring, Eli Ashley, Michael Davidson, Barry Boniface, Steve Caffrey, Tom Iovanne, Marilyn Sabella, Tom Olbrich, Rochelle Wiese, Ronda Billerbeck, Bill Stephan, Jan Eastman, Brian Johnson, Brad Burdick and current, Dyno Wahl.