State arts agencies are always thinking about how best to communicate with the many constituencies they serve—including artists, legislators, other state officials and taxpayers. Developing and disseminating publications, such as annual reports, strategic plans and performance evaluations, can engender particular communication challenges. Lately, NASAA has noticed interesting examples of how state arts agencies have packaged and delivered their messages. State to State this month considers several of them, with a focus on content organization, design considerations and publication platform.
Dynamic Annual Reports
New digital publishing software presents opportunities for state arts agencies to create and distribute dynamic annual reports. Reports from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) both take advantage of a high-resolution digital-publishing platform. The platform allows customized viewing, including a magazine-style page flip, and encourages sharing via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn and e-mail. It also permits readers to embed the reports into other websites. DCCAH's fiscal year 2012 annual report includes infographics and specific information on public art sites. MSAC's FY2013 annual report features high-quality reproductions of artwork and images of artists and participants in action.
The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) uses a two-page PDF brochure to showcase its role as a catalyst for the arts. The colorful layout presents both the agency's past achievements and a summary of its strategic goals going forward. Efficiently using little page space, the brochure presents in just one column "ArtsWA by the Numbers," offering brief nuggets of information on arts participation, employment, the state art collection and the agency's history.
Performance Measurement Report
A 2013 Performance Measurement Report from the Idaho Commission on the Arts turns a required state accountability report into a tool that tells a story about the agency's accomplishments. The report shares information using a blend of bullet-point lists, short paragraphs, charts, tables and time lines. A number of topics is covered, including the agency's legislative charge and core functions, its organizational structure, its revenues and expenditures, its performance highlights, and its progress in meeting its long-range plan goals. The agency makes a special point of quantifying nongrant services (technical assistance, training and communications) to illustrate its diverse roles.