Submissions for this form are closed.

2018 Annual Convention: Ideas and Speakers Submissions

Topic Areas

Topic areas that we’re particularly interested in addressing include (we’ll ask you whether your idea resonates with any of these):

  • Accessibility
  • Advocacy
  • Arts Education
  • Capacity
  • Community Development
  • Diversity, Access and Equity
  • Engagement
  • Evaluation
  • Fundraising
  • Grantmaking
  • Leadership
  • Private Sector Engagement
  • Public Art
  • Public Value
  • Research

Themes and focus areas


This year, we have five loose themes, as well as two focus areas (health and well-being and social impact) where we will be dedicating up to 4 sessions. Please see descriptions below—you will be asked to indicate which theme(s) your idea or speaker relates to.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Focus Area: Arts, Health and Well-Being

Up to four sessions will be specifically crafted to engage with the intersection of the arts and issues of health and well-being. Specific focus will be given to four areas: 1) arts and aging(quality of life, lifelong learning, the prevention of disease and debilitation); 2) arts and public health (disparities in health outcomes, opportunities for prevention, community dialogue and public awareness); 3) arts and personal mental and physical health (loneliness/alienation, trauma-informed practice and creative arts therapies, arts-based physical rehabilitation); and 4) arts and disability (policy, design, access, awareness, education).

Focus Area: The Social Impact of the Arts

Up to four sessions will be specifically crafted to engage with the measurable impact of the arts on communities. Specific focus will be given to three areas: 1) new or landmark research into the demonstrable impact of arts and culture on other aspects of community life; 2) communication/advocacy discussions specifically about how social impact that become a more visible and acknowledged outcome of arts-based community development efforts; 3) long-term public will building and the role that socially impactful arts interventions can play in changing value and impact perceptions of the general population, as well as stakeholders, over time.