Western Arts Alliance (WAA) – Client Success Story

Western Arts Alliance (WAA) is a membership association of touring and performing arts professionals engaged in promoting and presenting performing arts throughout the western United States and Canadian provinces. Serving members since 1967, WAA’s annual booking conference and year-round programs are essential for artists, artist managers, presenters, and other performing arts professionals in the West. WAA search committee retained the nonprofit executive search firm, KEES / Alford Executive Search.

KEES was selected in a competitive bid process as the Executive Search partner of choice for this national search in 2022.  The position vacancy was due to following the departure announcement of WAA’s 25-year Executive Director, Tim Wilson. KEES began the partnership in the Spring of 2022. The successful candidate was selected from a pool of four interesting, fascinating, and diverse finalists in Summer 2022. Candidates were from both the nonprofit and public sectors.

The Hire

Joshua Heim, a dedicated arts leader focused on areas of advocacy, cultural planning, racial equity, and social justice, joined WAA as Executive Director in September 2022.

Prior to joining WAA, Heim served as Deputy Director at 4CULTURE, a cultural funding agency for King County Washington. He oversaw a portfolio of grant funding and technical assistance programs that invests $10 million annually. At 4CULTUREAt 4Culture, Heim focused on working with program managers to shift programs toward greater equity. He primarily focused on centering people and communities of color historically underserved by traditional arts philanthropy in his work. Heim Joshua also helped to lead an impactful COVID-19 response that included distributing over $12 million of federal disaster relief to cultural organizations and individual cultural workers.

Previously, Heim served as the Arts Program Manager and Diversity Liaison for the City of Bellevue, WA following four years as Cultural Arts Administrator for the city of Redmond, WA.

“Josh’s vision and experience, paired with his proven ability to align culture and community development in complex organizations and ecosystems, makes him a perfect fit for WAA at this critical time of change and growth,” said former WAA Board President and Search Committee Chair, Joe McIalwain. “We are overjoyed to have Josh leading WAA into this new phase, and we would like to thank nonprofit executive search firm KEES for skillfully guiding our committee through an extensive search process that produced an extremely talented, diverse, and competitive pool of final candidates.” 

About WAA

WAA is recognized by its peers as a leader in promoting social equity in the arts profession, and commitment to equity is a vital part of its mission and values. WAA’s pacesetting leadership fosters professional development, mentoring, networking, and recognition through its comprehensive slate of programs. WAA’s signature annual conference provides opportunities to spark industry connections, discover and learn, strengthen ties, and generate business opportunities. For more information, please visit www.westarts.org.

KEES, Western Arts Alliance, Executive Search, Nonprofits