Sessions by Theme

Session Theme: Communicating Our Value

If our fate is tied up in how much people value what we do, then we need to place more of a premium on the communication of that value. These sessions with stretch all the way from marketing and promotion to communications, advocacy, public will-building, and policy—all of the steps along the way to creating a strong and sustaining value proposition for the arts.
Funding, Innovating, and Evaluating at the "Arts And" Intersection
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Success in work at the "arts and" intersection—also called social impact work—requires a thoughtful mix of funding, partnership development, program innovation, and evaluation. In this session, learn more about different examples along that pipeline, including from funders, local arts agencies, and non-arts partners.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the types of innovative funding models that are starting to appear to support "arts and" partnership work.
  2. Hear about innovative "arts and" partnerships that maximized the strengths of all involved and yielded strong community impacts.
  3. Learn how to place evaluation at the center of your work, to ensure that you are always able to move--and measure--towards the shared goals of the project.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Lightning Round: Research Round-Up
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

The annual tradition continues with lightning-fast research summaries from some of the best new research of the year! Moderated by Americans for the Arts' Randy Cohen, this is a can't-miss selection of new arts research!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Hear disparate new research, including on philanthropy in the South, the "permaculture" of the arts, disruptive philanthropy, creative placemaking, and equity in funding.
  2. Explore interconnections with the presenters, and brainstorm what the findings mean to your work.
  3. Learn about what new research is emerging, and what to expect.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Advocacy Mini-Bootcamp for Local Arts Leaders
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

At both a local and federal level, what are the ways that LAAs can safely participate in decisionmaker education, and what resources are available to help? In this workshop, join the head of the Arts Action Fund and one of our strongest and most experienced localized advocates, for a mini-bootcamp on advocacy.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore the boundaries of advocacy, lobbying, and decisionmaker education.
  2. Learn about resources and training opportunities available to you to become a stronger arts advocate.
  3. Network with others interested in local-level arts advocacy, and hear about national efforts to pursue coordinated local action with federal impacts.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Collaborative Evaluation of LAAs to Improve Public Value and Impact
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

There is often only one local arts agency in any given community, which can make it difficult to gauge how well your programs and services are working, to find examples of new innovations to try out, and to explain your relevance to your community leadership. In this discussion session, brainstorm with Americans for the Arts and local arts leaders on what a unified evaluation tool for local arts agencies might look like.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore how your community and your decisionmakers value and evaluate your work, and identify gaps in your ability to explain your impact.
  2. Brainstorm on what a connected set of metrics, and a way of comparing your LAA's work to others', would yield.
  3. Discuss the different needs and goals of urban and rural, small and large, and differently-formatted LAAs, and how to reconcile to a central set of evaluation tools.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Towards a Practical Application of The Federal-State-Local Policy Pipeline for Arts Education
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Moving from theoretical to the practical to advance our understanding of the federal, state, and local policy pipeline in arts education is an essential skill of any arts, cultural, or education leader. Connecting the tiers of policy to ensure equitable access to arts learning opportunities is the work of Americans for the Arts and can be implemented using a new series of tools and resources in your states and communities. Join this session to discuss the framework and learn through a practical example of STEAM education policy to explore the latest trends in policymaking to advance arts education in America.

Learning objectives:

  • Garner a theoretical understanding of the federal-state-local policy pipeline related to educational policy in America;
  • Illuminate the practical application through the example of STEAM education policy in Georgia; and
  • Interrogate this framework through the lens of attendee’s individual local contexts.
     

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Designing Arts Experiences with the Impact Echo in Mind
Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

As arts organizations continue to move into the realm of resident engagement in neighborhoods, there are lessons for leaders on designing art engagements that reverberate after the event to move residents to action. At the workshop, you will hear from artists and producers about their experience co-designing art with the community and whether they succeeded in creating art that lead to positive change or policy outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore a human-centric approach to art and equitable development.
  2. Come away with tools for how to engage artists and communities in envisioning and moving the future of their communities forward in an equitable way.
  3. Understand more deeply how participants can use an arts strategy to ignite a discussion that will lead to positive change and policy outcomes, after the art intervention ends.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Lightning Round: Social Impact Showcase
Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

Catch a new Lightning Round devoted to showcasing and discussing new tools, materials, and research related to social impact advocacy arguments for arts and culture! Moderated by Regina Smith of the Kresge Foundation, this session will give you insight into how this part of the field continues to evolve, and how you can take advantage.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about Americans for the Arts' new Social Impact Explorer, a free online tool designed to make it quick and easy to see the impact the arts have on other sectors.
  2. Hear about leading research work in the arena of social impact and how it is starting to inform communities and practices.
  3. See concrete information and advocacy materials crafted by local arts agencies to tell the social impact story of the arts.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our ValueCommunicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Evaluation
Sunday, June 17, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

More and more, local arts agencies (and the rest of the arts sector) are being called upon to evaluate the impact of our work in inclusive and equitable ways. How can we create a culture of evaluation that recognizes and pushes against more tradition, non-inclusive ways of evaluating "quality," "impact," and "excellence?"

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn what a "culture of evaluation" is, and why it is important.
  2. Hear about a set of alternative ways of thinking about the impact and "value" of the arts to community life.
  3. Discuss how to make evaluation a manageable, useful exercise by scaling to what you'll have time for, identifying what you really need, and exploring partnerships and shared responsibility.

 

This session is part of the Communicating Our Value sessions.

#aftacon

Session Theme: Cross-Sector and Community Partnership

The visibility and value of the arts increases when they are tied to parts of community and individual life that are visible and valued, making partnership crucial. But what makes a successful partnership, and how (among all of the challenges that any arts group is facing today) can we identify where to put our energy, how to maintain and grow a connection, and how to create common goals? Given that new community visions cannot happen in a vacuum, these sessions will explore what being part of the interconnected reality of today’s community looks like.
Artistic Approaches to Community Health
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

The health and vibrancy of a community is directly tied to the health, vibrancy, and equity of its members. In this session, hear from artists, public health leaders, and arts leaders about arts approaches to promote equity and to further public health goals, community member engagement, and the role of artists and creative workers as change agents for community well-being.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand of effective techniques to build trust between arts and non-arts groups, as well as between artists and community members.
  2. Gain concrete tools and examples to evaluate and implement cross-sector partnerships related to community health.
  3. Map the various individuals and institutions that need to come together to promote equity and public health, as well as current challenges and strategies.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Case Study: Space to Create Colorado
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 3:10 pm

Explore rural economic development in the arts through creative sector housing initiatives. This case study highlights Space to Create Colorado, the first state driven initiative for affordable housing for artists and creative sector workers in the nation. This public/private sector model engages government, communities, and private foundations around the issue ofaffordable housing in rural and small towns including the role of artists. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn more about the connections between arts and housing.
  2. Get an idea of the complex partnerships necessary to pursue meaningful arts and housing work.
  3. Adapt or adopt a successful state-level arts and housing effort.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Case Study: MAPC's Arts & Planning Toolkit
Friday, June 15, 3:20 pm - 4:00 pm

Urban planners have immense influence in shaping the built environment through policy and planning. This case study exlores how the arts can be made an integral part of the development and implementation of plans and policies for vibrant and healthy communities. Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Arts and Planning Toolkit is a case study-based resource for planners and other government staff interested in innovating their planning and community development work through projects and partnerships that engage the creative community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how to appeal to the interests of urban planners and others implementing governmental policies supportive of the arts.
  2. Explore the various goals that different partners (public/private, for profit/not for profit) have for the same project to satisfy these multiple objectives.
  3. Hear how to set up an artist-in-residence program in a government agency.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Case Study: Fires of Change
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 5:10 pm

Strong partnerships between the LAA and non-arts agencies are crucial to the health of your community. This case study explores Flagstaff Arts Council's project "Fires of Change," in which they partnered with science agencies, tribal governments, universities and health care agencies to explore the issue of wildfires in the American West.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how to partner with non-arts groups in your community to address crucial or controversial issues through the arts.
  2. Explore the skills needed by LAA administrators, the artists involved, and the non-arts partners for successful cross-sector partnership.
  3. Discuss how to identify strong threads of community concern and develop methods of evaluating your impact.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Moving Arts Education & Public Art Partnerships Forward
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

In this third and final installment of the annual Arts Education & Public Art series, hear about what we've learned and explore some specific, replicable examples of crossover between public art and arts education.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore three years of conversation and research about the intersection of public art and arts education.
  2. Hear concrete case studies of examples at the arts education/public art intersection.
  3. Map next steps, including access to a network of others interested in working more deeply at this intersection.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Case Study: Vision Zero
Friday, June 15, 5:20 pm - 6:00 pm

How can the arts make streets and pedestrian traffic safer? In this case study, hear about WalkDenver and the Vision Zero Coalition—a set of arts projects that emotionally and visually engaged community members to raise awareness of traffic safety and work towards eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Denver.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the main components of Vision Zero and the goals of the Vision Zero Coalition.
  2. Hear about the community-driven design process that led to this year's Community Art Project.
  3. See how to engage community, private sector, and government organizations in progressing "arts and" issues to make safer communities.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Encouraging Community Connection and Addressing Alienation through Art
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Loneliness and isolation are driving issues among older adults, those with major illness, caregivers, and active and retired military. Connecting with community is crucial to our collective health. The arts have a lot to offer, and the support of nexus organizations to create partnerships, provide and encourage funding, and make the case is paramount. Join this session to find out more!

 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn more about the major challenge of loneliness and isolation among "at risk" populations including the elderly, those with major illness, and their caregivers, and the role the arts can play in addressing that challenge.
  2. See case studies of arts-based intervention in action, and hear how you can adopt or adapt similar programs at home.
  3. Gather resources on the intersection of arts and health, including particularly arts resources for addressing loneliness.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community PartnershipCross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Expanding Arts Partnerships to Serve Military and Veterans
Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

Creative Forces: The NEA Healing Arts Network serves the unique and special needs of military patients and veterans who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care in 11 military and veteran medical facilities around the country and also supports a telehealth program for patients in rural and remote areas.

Americans for the Arts serves as the administrative partner for Creative Forces, and has been working alongside the NEA with local and state arts agency, military, veterans service, health care, and arts organization partners over the last year to host 10 Creative Forces community summits.  This session dives deep into the lessons learned from these summits about how to develop effective arts and military partnerships in your community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how the arts are being used to transform the medical treatment of service members and veterans after traumatic injuries and experiences.
  2. Hear about the Creative Forces program and the various ways it is working to put creative arts therapies at the center of efforts to heal service members, veterans, and their families.
  3. Explore how local arts agencies, state art agencies, and other partners are coming together to make this work possible.

 

This session is part of the Cross-Sector and Community Partnership sessions.

#aftacon

Session Theme: Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking)

Supporting the full creative spectrum extends beyond simple grant investment, and requires more flexibility and thought about formal investment as well as the informal investment of time, resources, etc. On scales large and small, nexus organizations—local arts agencies, foundations, other agencies, and more—are borrowing models or crafting new ones from scratch designed to make the distribution of funds more equitable, the likelihood of success higher, and the systems that need changing more visible. These sessions will bring success to the fore, and will offer opportunities to grapple with some of the challenges.
Meet & Ask the NEA
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Catch this update to the annual “Meet the NEA” session, including a broader overview of the types of federal resources (money and otherwise) that are relevant to the work of local arts agencies and arts organizations. NEA staff will provide an overview of the 2018 NEA grant programs, and then highlight a variety of multi-sector projects that have made use of additional federal resources.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand annual funding opportunities offered by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the ability to have questions answered directly by NEA grants staff.
  2. Learn about federal resources beyond the NEA that are available for arts and creative placemaking projects.
  3. Hear case study/project highlights about projects by local arts agencies and arts organizations that have successfully combined NEA funds with other federal resources for multi-sector efforts.

 

This session is part of the Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking) sessions.

#aftacon

Programming and Funding Public Art in Rural Places
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Rural communities are increasing hotbeds of creative and innovative public art, but such work comes with a set of unique challenges and advantages. This discussin will explore how small cities and towns can maximize the good and mitigate the bad when it comes to rural public art and placemaking.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore creative ways to engage rural community members in public art processes.
  2. Learn methods to do quality and meaningful projects on small budgets.
  3. Tap into your local talent to engage and help emerging local artists interesting in breaking into public art.

 

This session is part of the Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking) sessions.

#aftacon

A New Model of Support for Creative Workers in Post-Industrial Cities
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

In post-industrial cities, it is not a matter of reviving what was, but of artists and creative workers capitalizing on long histories of craft and industry with innovation. This panel explores communities that have moved their arts and culture sector forward through partnership, investment, research, and entrepreneurship to fully leverage their cultural assets as economic engines.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discover the the unique history of craft and industry that has combined to make this "culture of hands" into a viable economic engine.
  2. Discuss the complex partnerships and good faith efforts that are required to start and maintain the work.
  3. Explore the use and importance of cultural planning, community dialogue, and entrepeneurial energy in success.

 

This session is part of the Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking) sessions.

#aftacon

Toward Equitable Investment (Grantmaking and Beyond)
Saturday, June 16, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

What does "investment" mean? How can an expanded and more flexible definition of investment create a more equitable playing field? This session focuses on funding alternatives, new ways to think about staff and space capacity as investment capital, and models for evaluating how equitable your investment strategies are.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore and push at the boundaries of "investment," and surface the ways that narrow, traditional definitions create and perpetuate inequitable systems.
  2. Hear about how financial investment tools from the for-profit sector, other non-profit fields, and more are being readjusted and experimented with in the local arts space.
  3. Dig into all of the different types of capital you already have on hand: people, space, skills, time, money, and more.

 

This session is part of the Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking) sessions.

#aftacon

Combatting Losses from the Charitable Tax Deduction Shift
Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

This session is part of the Investment (Including and Beyond Grantmaking) sessions.

#aftacon

Session Theme: Equity and Engagement

The nature of engagement and equitable policies and practices in the arts can lag behind the demands of the communities. Where are our bright spots, and what are our challenges. These sessions will explore equity in action, and will highlight innovative, genuine ways that arts groups are deeply engaging with the full breadth of their communities.
Monuments, Public Memory, and the Artist
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Memorial projects, particularly now, are complex endeavors filled with many unanticipated and sensitive challenges. These challenges exist from the first spark of an until long after the project is completed, and flow alongside changing community needs, social mores, and shifting understandings of historical and cultural narrative. This session will explore the various thorny to consider when commissioning, decommissioning, and everything in between.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore the high-stakes and unique issues associated with memorial projects, and find common best practices among what must be a broad and disparate set of stories.
  2. Learn to balance the expectations and needs of a shifting community, government policy, artist's rights, and the demands of history.
  3. Consider the systemic reality that has led to certain narratives trumping others, and how to dismantle and reconsider the power, impact, and nature of public monuments.

 

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Using the Arts to Support DEI Work in the Private Sector
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Even as the arts sector continues to move toward greater diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is important to recognize the great opportunity offered to other sectors--including business--of arts and culture as a method of training employees to be more equitable. In this workshop, learn more about encouraging arts-business partnerships to train private sector employees on core DEI skills.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore example projects where arts and culture has been used to train private sector employees on DEI issues.
  2. Map a private sector/DEI partnership plan for your own community and work to position yourself for success.
  3. Learn the important terminology and vocabulary necessary to engage private businesses as clients for arts-based DEI work.

 

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Mid-Career Arts Administration Survival Workshop
Saturday, June 16, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

So, you're past that "emerging" category, mid-career, mid-life. You've got unique challenges and needs, from the employment ladder to balancing work and life to sitting in that sandwich moment between children and parents, and more. Join this special workshop just for you!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Build a cohort of people moving through a similar stage of life to you.
  2. Hear about resources and best practices for some of the unique challenges of being mid-career in the arts.
  3. Take the opportunity to speak out in a safe space about your goals, frustrations, and needs, and hear how others have taken steps you could take.

 

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Artists with Disabilities on Creating an Equitable, Accessible Tomorrow
Saturday, June 16, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

There is a large gulf between seats and stages. Accessibility for audiences is becoming a hot topic, but targeted resources, support, professional development, and performing/exhibiting opportunities for artists with disabilities are relatively rare. In this session, artists speak about how they made inroads in a challenging environment and how they (and we) are paving and can continue to pave the way for artists with disabilities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand public programming strategies to raise awareness of disability culture.
  2. Learn directly from the experience of artists with disabilities about their needs and goals.
  3. Explore how making accessibility a priority creates better experiences for people both with and without disabilities.

 

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Arts Administrators of Color Affinity Group
Saturday, June 16, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Promoting Equity through Craft: Master Class with Johnson Fellow Tanya Aguiniga
Saturday, June 16, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

In 2018, Americans for the Arts awarded the first annual Yankee Johnson Fellowship to public artist and community activist Tanya Aguiniga. This special three-hour master class explores Aguiniga's artistic practice, discusses the tenets that underscore her work, and maps a plan for using principles of equity and community engagement to develop new arts-based community development projects in your own community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn more about the creative practice and community impact of Johnson Fellow Tanya Aguiniga.
  2. Gain practical knowledge about cultural equity, equitable artmaking, and the important ability to know when you should and should not be part of a community's process.
  3. Map practices onto your home community, and leave with a starting plan of how you might better and more authentically practice arts-based community development at home.

 

This session is part of the Equity and EngagementEquity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

The Arts Community in the Time of the Women's March and #metoo
Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

We are in a moment of big statements about the power of women's voices. Five million people joined the Women's March, more women than ever are running for office, and the #metoo movement has given space for women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to raise their voices. In this open brainstorming and workshop session, explore how the arts community can work in the spirit of this movement, support policies that counter gender inequity, and create spaces where women can speak truth to power.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the goals and progress of the Women's March and #metoo movements, and their connections to the arts.
  2. Hear from fellow attendees about how their organizations (or they individually) are bringing the tenets of the Women's March into the space.
  3. Workshop new ideas that you can bring back to your organization or community to bring your local arts community more fully into the movement.

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Supporting Vulnerable Immigrant Artists and Communities
Sunday, June 17, 9:00 am - 9:40 am

In today’s political moment, immigrant artists in the United States and their communities are particularly vulnerable. How can local art agencies, advocates, funders, and artists themselves band together to mitigate the dangers, struggles, and fear that immigrant artists may experience, and to promote and celebrate a broader cultural narrative in all communities?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Hear about projects designed to sustain immigrant artists and the communities from which they emerge.
  2. Consider language barriers, geopolitical concerns, ways of working, and legal considerations that may serve as barriers to immigrant artists, and how to overcome them.
  3. Explore mentorship and mutual collaboration as a way of engaging genuinely and deeply in immigrant communities, as well as challenging power dynamics that may inadvertently crop up and which must be addressed.

 

This session is part of the Equity and Engagement sessions.

#aftacon

Session Theme: Culture and Community

The boundaries of the “community” to be served and the “culture” to be supported are broader than currently at play in a lot of arts programming. These sessions will explore case studies and spark conversations about how nexus organizations, arts institutions and artists, and others are pushing at those boundaries and supporting a broader spectrum of artistic enterprise.
Reconsidering the Concept of the "Anchor Institution"
Friday, June 15, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

What is an "anchor institution" and how do they impact communities? When a community transforms, does an anchor stay an anchor simply by inertia? How do we encourage meaningful, equitable community partnership from anchors, with a focus on the restructuring of systems?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss what defines an "anchor" institution, and how such institutions can be evaluated over time to ensure they continue to live up to those responsibilities.
  2. Explore systemic challenges that advantage certain organizations and disadvantage others.
  3. Consider the other non-arts anchors in any community, and how arts organizations do and do not fit into such a definition—and how they can nevertheless work in partnership for the good of the community overall.

 

This session is part of the Culture and Community sessions.

#aftacon

Engaging in Artful Aging
Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm