The Western States Arts Federation has announced that Christian Gaines has been selected to serve as the organization’s new executive director. Gaines was hired following a national search that was initiated in May, 2018. He will move to Denver and begin work at the organization in mid January, 2019.   WESTAF provides advocacy, policy, arts programming, and professional development services to the arts agencies in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

As executive director of WESTAF, Gaines will oversee the further development of WESTAF’s arts-based technology projects. Those projects currently serve approximately 3,000 arts organizations and more than 220,000 artists nationwide. He will also work to support the development of the 13 state arts agencies in the WESTAF region. WESTAF currently supports the agencies through the funding of legislative advocacy, professional development, grantmaking, and policy research and development. Gaines is well-acquainted with state arts agencies.  He is currently serving his second term as an appointee of Governor Rick Snyder to Michigan’s state arts agency, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA).

Gaines most recently served for five years as executive director of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is a nonprofit international art competition open to every artist working in every medium from everywhere in the world.