Preconferences and Workshop Intensives

In 2015, we’re excited to be expanding our programming happening before the main Convention! Before the main event, attend one of three preconferences and two new workshop intensives. The preconferences run over the course of three days, while the workshop intensives offer a five-hour deep dive the afternoon before the main Convention starts.

All three preconferences for 2015 Annual Convention run from Wednesday, June 10 through Friday June 12. The workshop intensives are on Thursday, June 11.


Evolution and Revolution

Arts Leaders Powering the Future of Arts & Communities

Join us for the 2015 Arts Leadership preconference, Evolution and Revolution, to build on the past and revolutionize the future! The future of the arts is being crafted by those who test norms, evolve, and anticipate tomorrow. Build your expertise on new audiences, technologies, and competition with new models, partnerships, and vision!

Evolution and Revolution is generously supported by American Express.

The Arts Leadership preconference begins at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 and goes through 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 12. This preconference will take place at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier and at the Chicago Sheraton, convention headquarters.

View the schedule.

View the presenters.

Art, Power, and Empowerment

Acting for Cultural Equity

Art, Power and Empowerment: Acting for Cultural Equity explores exemplary practices and initiatives advancing cultural equity and cultural democracy locally and nationally.  Join 120 colleagues from across the country to engage in substantive case- and place-based learning about the values, policies, and practices required to achieve and sustain cultural equity.

This artistically infused program takes place throughout Chicago in spaces where the rubber meets the road including the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Little Black Pearl, the Old Town School of Folk Music, and the Arts Incubator and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts [University of Chicago] and others. If you are concerned with creating conditions and policies that support a culture of equity in your community, this is an opportunity for learning and exchange you should not miss. 

Check back for details on presenters – coming soon!
*Schedule is subject to change.
Please be advised that buses will depart the hotel promptly each day and return participants to the hotel after sessions have concluded.

Art, Power, and Empowerment has been developed By Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy team in consultation with Chicago leaders.

Art, Power and Empowerment is generously supported by The Joyce Foundation.

The Cultural Equity preconference begins at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 and goes through 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 12. This preconference will take place in various locations throughout Chicago.

View the schedule.

View the presenters

Beyond the Now

The Future of Public Art and Placemaking

Now, to celebrate how far the public art field has come and to dive into the future of public art and placemaking. Centered in one of the most dynamic cities in the world, this preconference will draw deeply from Chicago and its art, places, and architecture—don’t miss out!

The Public Art & Placemaking preconference begins at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 and goes through 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 12. This preconference will take place at the convention headquarters, the Chicago Sheraton, with special public art tours occurring throughout Chicago.

View the schedule

View the presenters

Workshop Intensives


Deep, cheap, and to the point–this new, five-hour intensive programming is just the right dose of practical training on two of today’s local arts hottest topics! Use data to make your case with the geniuses at the Cultural Data Project, or hear from field experts on the three biggest arts education trends that you and your constituents need to know about now. Limited to 70 participants each, so act fast!

Workshop Intensives are only available to attendees of the main Convention. You may only select one of the two Workshop Intensives when registering and be advised that they overlap with preconference programming.

Both Workshop Intensives, one on Arts Education and the other on Data and Storytelling, begin at 1:00 p.m. and go until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. Both Workshop Intensives will take place at the convention headquarters, the Chicago Sheraton.


Workshop Intensive 1:Workshop Intensive 2:

Creating a Data-Driven Case for Arts Advocacy

Curated in Partnership with the Cultural Data Project

Big Ideas in Arts Education for Local Arts Leaders

Curated by the Americans for the Arts Education Program

Creating a Data-Driven Case for Arts Advocacy is supported, and curated in partnership with, the Cultural Data Project. Our thanks for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation for its support of this workshop.

And after all that, preconference & Workshop Intensive participants are invited to network with each other during a reception Thursday evening at the beautiful Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center.