Our History

For nearly 60 years, Americans for the Arts has convened an annual convention for arts and community leaders to network and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts. As our professional field has grown, so has our gathering. What started as a small group of 45 people in 1955 has now grown to nearly 1,000 each year.

Together we’ve shared the successes and challenges of using the arts as core to community development, and we’ve heard expert advice from an impressive list of keynotes including Ben Folds, Richard Nixon, Harry Chapin, John Lewis, Tony Kushner, Arianna Huffington, and Robert Redford. Our Annual Convention is also an opportunity for peer groups interested arts education, cultural diversity, emerging leaders, public art, and more to meet each year to connect and share their work.

Looking for additional information? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or take a look at our Past Highlights page.