Americans for the Arts today announced the election of Sarah Gonzales Triplett, director of public policy for Creative Many Michigan, and Ann S. Graham, executive director of Texans for the Arts, as chair and vice chair respectively of the State Arts Action Network (SAAN) Council
. Each will serve a one-year term from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
“I’m delighted to see these talented and dedicated state arts advocacy leaders elected to the leadership of our State Arts Action Network,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Their leadership in their own states as well as their dedication to supporting for the arts nationally serve as a testament and an inspiration to others as we collectively work to ensure that the arts thrive in America.”
Sarah Gonzales Triplett
, director of public policy at Creative Many Michigan
, directs advocacy and public policy initiatives, leads research, communications, education, grassroots organizing and coalition building to advance policies and sustainable funding that increase support for the arts, culture, arts education and the creative industries at the state and federal level. Triplett’s focus includes advancing a creative agenda which offers a framework for policy actions – raising awareness and building credibility, support, and investment in Michigan’s creative industries. Several key areas of advocacy include: creative economy, creative education, cultural tourism, and investment in the state’s arts, cultural, and creative assets. Additionally, Triplett leads the development of the Creative State Michigan Nonprofit report which uses DataArts information to demonstrate the impact that Michigan’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations bring to Michigan’s economy, communities, and educational opportunities for students of all ages. Triplett also leads one of 10 state teams, selected by Americans for the Arts, administering a three-year pilot program to strengthen arts education by advancing state policy.
As former Assistant Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, Triplett led communications and advocacy efforts to guide policy and increase public awareness so that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life. She was instrumental in the creation and development of the Michigan Sandbox Party, a nonpartisan grassroots advocacy network for children, youth, and families that is still in operation today. Her experience also includes Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Aide and Sr. Executive Assistant at the Office of Michigan Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Triplett serves as chair of the East Lansing Arts Commission and chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan. She is an active member of the Junior League of Lansing and was elected to serve as an alternative delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Triplett earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and communications at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
Ann S. Graham
, Executive Director of Texans for the Arts (TFA)
and Texans for the Arts Foundation, has demonstrated a deep passion for the arts and the role that they play in building and strengthening our communities. Under her leadership, TFA led the legislative strategy in the 84th Texas Legislative Session that secured a new $5 million appropriation for the Texas Commission on the Arts' Cultural & Fine Arts District program. In 2017, Graham led the effort to pass SB 1221, a Hotel Occupancy Tax reporting Bill, which will assist TFA’s goal of working with municipalities statewide to maximize the allowable arts provision. In addition, she oversees education programs for Texans for the Arts Foundation including their signature Arts Funding & Leadership Development Workshop, Texas Arts Advocacy Day, and advocacy trainings.
Graham holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration and has an extensive career in arts management and organizational development, arts festival and event production, public art administration, and arts advocacy. She began her career in the arts in Boston, serving for nine years as Production Coordinator for First Night, the New Year’s Celebration of the Arts, and concurrently as Executive Director of The New England Philharmonic, an award-winning community based orchestra, with which she also played (cello). Upon moving to Texas in 1994, Graham served for six years on the City’s Art In Public Places Panel and concurrently involved herself in arts, municipal, and public school advocacy work, including leading a successful effort for a $1.25 million bond for the Elisabet Ney Museum, a National Trust for Historic Places Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios located in Austin, Texas. She was the co-founder of First Night Austin, whose highly acclaimed inaugural event on December 31, 2005 set a new vision for creative possibilities in Austin. Recognizing the intrinsic connections between the arts and preservation, Graham leads additional advocacy work as a member of the Board of Preservation Austin.
The State Arts Action Network is a program of Americans for the Arts and currently includes 53 members from 42 states, including the District of Columbia. Members independently lead their state’s arts policy initiatives and gather together to share best practices and advise Americans for the Arts’ State & Local Government Affairs team on key policy initiatives. The network meets three times each year: at Arts Advocacy Day, at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, and once again in October. This network, like all of Americans for the Arts' networks, is crucial in connecting the organization with state and local constituents.