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Arts Midwest and Midwest State Arts Agencies Connect with Federal Agencies in Washington, D.C.

A group of arts leaders in formal wear pose in an office in front of a star quilt
Members of Midwest State Art Agencies and Arts Midwest in Washington, D.C., visiting with federal agencies.

Arts Midwest and the nine Midwest State Arts Agencies were incredibly inspired by conversations and connections in Washington, D.C., about how we might build new partnerships across federal government.

Over the course of two days at the end of May, Arts Midwest and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, and Wisconsin Arts Board were inspired by a series of conversations and connections in Washington, D.C., about how we might build new partnerships across federal government.

During their visit, these Midwest arts champions connected with six federal agencies: the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Economic Development Association, and Health and Human Services.

It was the first visit of its kind for this network, who are eager to identify how we can partner to bring more federal and state resources to the Midwest’s arts and culture sector.

“Our visit to the nation’s capital marks a milestone for Arts Midwest and the nine Midwest State Arts Agencies,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We are excited to identify new ways to collaborate with federal partners in support of Midwestern creativity, art, and culture.”

“As leaders with our respective state arts agencies, we know the arts are the heart of healthy vibrant communities, through economic development, education, jobs, health and vitality, as well as rural prosperity,” says Donna Collins (OH) on behalf of the nine Midwest State Arts Agencies. “We are eager to build and deepen partnerships between federal, regional, and state agencies so artists and arts organizations in our states have access to a wide range of resources. One goal of our working together in the Midwest region is to create lasting professional relationships that strengthen all our communities in and through the arts.”

“Our partnerships with the state arts agencies and regional arts organizations are a crucial part of our shared vision of ensuring that everyone has access to the arts,” said Michael Orlove, Director of State, Regional & Local Partnerships, and International Activities at the National Endowment for the Arts. “We appreciated this opportunity to connect with our Midwest partners and hear their perspectives and I look forward to future conversations and convenings with our state and regional partners.”

The network plans to return to the nation’s capital on an annual basis, deepening relationships with these partners and making connections with additional federal agencies and sectors.