American Artscape Notable Quotable: Christian Gaines of WESTAF

By Paulette Beete
a range of marketing materials for the Public Arts Archive

Marketing materials for the Public Art Archive, one of WESTAF’s five technology platforms. Photo by Blake Jackson

"I think it’s important to have a regional strata in the ecosystem of arts support and arts funding in the U.S. because each individual region is unique, just as every single state is unique." — Christian Gaines, Executive Director, Western States Arts Federation

While working with film festivals in the U.S. and in Europe, Christian Gaines developed a professional interest in, as he put it, “the connection between art and artists and audiences, and how to make the most of those connections.” A stint at Amazon’s Internet Movie Database roused his interest in the intersection of art and artists and technology. Although he didn’t know it at the time, he was building the perfect resume to become, in early 2019, the executive director of Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), which serves as the regional arts organization for Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

WESTAF not only supports arts and culture in the 13-state western region of the United States, but also develops technology solutions for use in arts and culture work across the country. As Gaines told us for the inaugural issue of American Artscape, he was excited to join WESTAF and have the chance “to be involved programmatically in terms of advocacy, alliances, public policy, equity, and a lot of programmatic aspects that can make the world a better place as well as the art world.” Here’s Gaines in his own words on what makes both his region and his regional arts organization unique—from being leaders at the intersection of arts and technology, to serving communities from Hawai’i to Colorado and all points in between. MORE.