Annual Convention News

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 10:47am

Across the country, artists are activating—they're using their mediums to tell new stories, to raise up their voices, to make people think. Saturday's Morning keynote will feature artist Tanya Aguiñiga, recipient of the Americans for the Arts' 2018 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, and social entrepreneur and artist-activist Sol Guy discussing the power of this moment, ways nexus organizations can support creative voices, and the new opportunities to come.

On June 14-17, join us in Denver for the 2018 Annual Convention to hear from Tanya and Sol and more than 100 arts leaders over 4 keynotes, more than 30 sessions and networking events across Denver!

Saturday Keynote Speakers

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 9:02am

This year’s Closing Keynote features three innovative artists transforming their industries and communities with new ideas, perspectives, and visions for the future. Join us at the 2018 Annual Convention to hear from these three exciting speakers!

  • DJ Cavem, vegan chef/hip hop artist-activist, uses music to connect young people to organic gardening and environmental activism
  • Camila Chiriboga, fashion designer and founder of veº,  is redefining fashion with accessible technology. from self-navigating shoes for the blind to hidden pockets for dialysis machines and medication
  • Virginia San Fratello, architect and educator, develops 3-D printed building materials made from waste products like tires, salt, and sand.

Closing Keynote Speakers

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 8:41am

Before the main Convention schedule begins on June 15, you can attend one of three preconferences on specific topics of importance to the arts field. Preconferences begin on Thursday, June 14, and include an exclusive Precon Party at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Make sure to add one to your Convention experience when you register!

Public Art in Times of Change

Public art is a focal point of dialogue and change. Public Art Preconference attendees will learn what it means to work with communities in changing times, reflect on who is represented in current and historical public art, and explore how to connect with new audiences.

Creative Youth Development

Creative youth development (CYD) unifies a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts, humanities, and sciences with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills. The Creative Youth Development Preconference will feature successful programs and aims to advance CYD to new levels of sustainability and success.

Practicing Cultural Equity in Local Arts Agencies

This interactive workshop follows up last year’s preconference on racial equity in local arts agencies, and is designed for anyone who is working at a local arts agency or nexus organization and wondering, “How do I make sure I’m considering equity in my work?”—whether the work involves grantmaking, professional development, space sharing, or advocacy.





Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 5:42pm
Marc Morial

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and one of the country’s preeminent civil rights leaders, will launch the 2018 Annual Convention with an inspiring opening keynote. As president of the Urban League, our country's oldest and largest community based organization, Morial has used his platform to push for economic and political empowerment, combat racial discrimination, and support policies that encourage greater equity. Before his time at the Urban League, Morial was mayor of New Orleans, where he put in place a series of anti-crime measures and reformed the police department, setting in motion a precipitous drop in violent crime in the city.

In this inspiring opening keynote, hear Morial’s thoughts on what artists and arts organizations need to do to transform the country into the equitable vision we dream it can be.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 9:48am

Americans for the Arts is pleased to offer a number of full ride and general scholarships to members interested in attending the 2018 Annual Convention in Denver June 14 -17.

Scholarships are available for emerging and mid-career leaders, practicing artists, leaders of color, leaders with disabilities, for each of our three preconferences, and more. Visit the Scholarships page for a full list of opportunities!

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 2 at 11:59 PM (EST). Applicants to Americans for the Arts scholarships must be current members. (Not a member? You can join now to become eligible for scholarships and other Convention discounts.) Individuals may apply for multiple scholarships but finalists will only be awarded one.

For questions regarding scholarships please contact Dennis Barrett at  For questions regarding your membership status, please contact or call (202) 371-2830.

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 10:07am

It’s time to book your plans for the Americans for the Arts Convention Attendees2018 Annual Convention! Arts and community leaders from across the country will gather in Denver, June 14-17, to discuss pressing issues around public art, community development, education, advocacy, and equity. With ample outdoors opportunities, a health food & localvore movement, a booming wellness & healthcare industry, and, of course, a culture bursting with art, the Mile High City is an ideal setting for important conversations and a good dose of creative fun.
•    100+ speakers at more than 30 sessions
•    3 keynotes
•    Preconferences on public art, creative youth development, and equitable investment
•   10 ARTventure tours across Denver
•    Parties at top cultural venues
•    And more!
Register today and save up to $150 with our special Early Bird registration rate—the deepest discount we offer for Annual Convention! Early Bird registration ends Wednesday, April 11, 2018 and is available online, by fax, or by mail.

Friday, January 19, 2018 - 11:33am

We can’t wait to see you in Denver at #AFTACON—but until then, we’d love to see you online! Whether you’re planning to attend or still thinking it over, you can get social with us and other arts professionals in our Annual Convention 2018 Facebook event. We’ll be sharing news, announcements, and exclusive content leading up to and during Convention, and we don’t want you to miss out.

Just let us know whether you’re “going” or “interested” on the event page, and you’ll get the latest Convention news. Plus, you can post your own thoughts and e-meet other attendees. Don’t forget to share the event and invite your network—after all, Convention is more fun with friends!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 9:25am

Believe it or not, the big blue skies of Denver, site of the 2018 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, are just around the corner! And now it's time to submit your session and speaker ideas!

What makes for a new vision for the role of the arts in community life? Tell us the topics, concepts, theories, practices! Your ideas will directly inform the creation of 25-30 main conference breakout sessions representing the full breadth of what is concerning and exciting advocates today!

CLICK HERE submit your ideas between now and October 15!

Friday, June 30, 2017 - 9:11am

Our thanks to the city of San Francisco for being a welcoming and dynamic host for the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention! If you’re missing it as much as we are—or you missed out and didn’t get to join us—check out our highlights from the weekend. You’ll find:

  • A selection of nearly 5,000 tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts posted during #AFTACON;
  • Footage from 11 recorded sessions, including keynote speeches, sessions on public art, community activism, and more;
  • Sessions slides; and
  • Some of our favorite photos from San Francisco.

And save the date for the 2018 Annual Convention, June 15 -17, in Denver! We can’t wait to see you there!

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 9:57am

2017 Annual Convention T-shirtShow your Americans for the Arts and Convention pride all year long with this awesome T-shirt!

Get yours here! But hurry, they won’t be around for long.