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10/28/19 - 10/31/19 | St. Paul | MN
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Full Schedule

[ Tuesday 10/13 ]  [ Wednesday 10/14 ]  [ Thursday 10/15 ]  [ Friday 10/16 ]

All activities at Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903 unless otherwise noted.

Learn more about this year's special tracks here. Feel free to mix and match the sessions you attend. The above key helps you quickly identlfy the focus of certain sessions.

Full Schedule

Please note: Schedule details are subject to change. Check back for updated sessions and speakers.

Tuesday, October 13

10am - 3:30pm

Preconference Tour + Lunch: Norman Bird Sanctuary
Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, Rhode Island

Discover the Norman Bird Sanctuary - one of Rhode Island's most celebrated natural preserves and an emerging artist residency! Set in coastal Middletown, the Sanctuary sits on 325 breathtaking acres of open farmlands, gently rolling hills, rugged cliffs. Tour American painter Mabel Norman's 18th-century farmhouse, take a guided walk with an expert birder, and enjoy a hearty lunch with fellow attendees.

Lunch will be provided on site. Norman Bird Sanctuary is 36 milles from Providence. The bus will leave from the Biltmore Hotel. This is an optional preconference tour - separate registration is required ($45 fee).

10:30am - 2:30pm

Preconference Partner Event: Rocky Neck Art Colony Open House + Tour (no transportation provided)
Meet at: Rocky Neck Cultural Center, Gloucester, MA

4pm - 6 pm

Registration + Check-In
Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI

6pm - 8pm

Opening Night Reception
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI

Connect with old friends and make new ones during the festive opening reception hosted at AS220. Come see how this bustling center is energizing local arts in Providence and help us kick off the 2015 Conference in style. Toast to AS220 on their 30th anniversary! Plus, be sure to check out Discodecahedonism - a psychedelic audiovisual performance by ACRE’s TONY BALKO and A.E. PATERRA (Zombi, Majeure) at 7:30pm.

Free for attendees! Cash bar and light hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Wednesday, October 14

All activities at Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI unless otherwise noted.

Featured Event

Theaster Gates: Gail Silver Memorial Lecture presented in partnership with the RISD Museum.

Artist and innovator Theaster Gates combines strategies of urban planning, object making, and performance. A special evening keynote presented in partnership with the RISD Museum. [ read more ]

8:30am - 4:30pm

Registration + Check-In
Pick up your registration packet, sign up for tours if you haven't already, and gather general information. Coffee/tea will be at the registration desk.

Funder Consultations
Sign up with one-on-one consultations with featured funders including the National Endowment for the Arts. First come, first served. Sign up available at registration desk.

9am - 4:30pm

Board Track
Join us for the Board Track - a highly productive day of workshops and discussions designed for board members and staff of cultural organizations addressing strategies for shaping a healthy, passionate board; embracing governance responsibilities; and building fundraising expertise. (Advance registration required. Click the link above for more information.)

Susan Meier | Principal, Meier and Associates

9am - 10am

Welcome to Providence!

Alliance Welcome | Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities + Jason Kalajainen, Executive Director, Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago / Alliance Board President

Providence Welcome | Rosanne Somerson, President, Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island Artist Medley Part I // Emcee: Randall Rosenbaum | Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA)
With so many phenomenal local artists, we couldn’t pick just one! Our Rhode Island Artist Medley features just a few of the state’s established and emerging creative voices. Presented in partnership with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Christopher Johnson (w/Everett Company + Rachel Rosenkrantz) | Spoken Word Artist
Mary Beth Meehan
| Photographer + Educator

10:15am - 11:45am

Breakout Sessions 


(1) Melding Public and Private: Residencies in National Parks + Other Public Spaces

Residencies that operate in public spaces must balance a commitment to the public with a loyalty to individual artists - and navigate an ever-changing dynamic between the two. This session brings together established and emerging public residencies - from the heart of Times Square to the interior of the National Parks - to explore creative practice in the public eye. Panelists will address targeting artists who are a good fit, setting and communicating expectations, understanding the 'public' and 'private'  in the residency experience and in public spaces themselves, and exploring what kinds of art-making are most successful in public residencies. 

Daniel van Benthuysen | Artist
Sherry Dobbin | Creative Director + Director of Times Square Arts, Times Square Alliance
Aaron Forrest | Principal, Ultramoderne;  Assistant Professor, RISD Architecture
Susan Friel | Cultural Coordinator, City of Chicago - Department of Cultural Affairs + Special Events
Charles Tracy | National Park Service

(2) Nontraditional Partnerships in Action

Join panelists for a discussion on cultivating creative partnerships. From collaborations with biological preserves and parkways, to joint programs with elementary schools, presenting organizations, and housing cooperatives – three case studies look at the surprising benefits of looking beyond the usual suspects when forming partnerships. Presenters offer tips for identifying partners, setting benchmarks, and balancing the needs of artists, partners, and one's own program over time.

Lisa Hoffman | Associate Director, McColl Center for Art + Innovation
Bruce Rodgers
| Executive Director, Hermitage Artist Retreat
David Szlasa | Co-Director + Artist, Range Studio

(3) Let’s Take the Long View: Deep Investments in Creative Practice

What does it mean to invest deeply in artists? How can we challenge ourselves as individual organizations and as a field to move beyond traditional models of support and develop longer, deeper, and more integrated programs for artists to create new work? A conversation on how we make room for artists to stretch out, take creative risks, and encounter surprising results.

Ben Cameron | Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Curt Columbus | Artistic Director, Trinity Repertory Company
Jean McLaughlin | Executive Director, Penland School of Crafts
Jeff Prystowsky | Musician + Founding Member, Columbus Cooperative

(4) Alternative Models for Artist Residencies in China

An energetic network of artist-run spaces and artist residencies has formed in China’s rural and urban centers, despite almost no public funding for the arts. Residencies must constantly come up with creative strategies for funding artists, finding space, and collaborating with local communities, universities, tech startups, organic farms, hotels, and even trans-Pacific container ships. Join residency directors, funders, and organizers with a birds-eye view for a tour of the quickly changing landscape and new perspectives on sustainability. 

Jay Brown | Founder + Director, Lijiang Studio
Emma Karasz | Director, Red Gate Residency
Kira Simon-Kennedy | Co-Founder + Director, China Residencies (moderator)

11:45am - 1pm

Lunch (provided)

1:15pm - 2:45pm

Breakout Sessions 


(1) Creation, Research, Engagement: Social Practice in Residence

How can we best support artists whose work is activated through community engagement? Cultural leaders from a variety of urban settings will discuss the institutional and artistic implications, best practices, and complex challenges encountered when facilitating relationships between artists, interdisciplinary practice, social issues, and local communities.

Linda Earle | Executive Director, New York Arts Program (moderator)
Randi Hopkins | Associate Director of Visual Arts, Boston Center for the Arts
Shey Rivera Ríos | Artistic Director, AS220
John D. Spiak | Director + Chief Curator, Grand Central Art Center at California State University, Fullerton

(2) Rad Alt Spaces of New England’s Rocky Coasts

How do alternative arts organizations build spaces that support genre-defying work and foster a culture of experimentation and camaraderie How do we stay nimble and responsive while growing resources and programs? From a feminist arts collective in an abandoned library, to Portland, Maine's beloved arts hub, to a dance incubator on Martha Vineyard - meet three of New England’s most adventurous and contemporary arts spaces during this regional showcase.

Aaron Jungels | Co-Founder + Co-Artistic/Executive Director, Everett: Company, Stage and School
Nat May
| Executive Director, SPACE Gallery
David R. White | Artistic + Executive Director, The Yard Inc. (moderator)
Pippi Zornoza | Co-Founder, Dirt Palace

(3) Better Together: Collaborating for Creative Access

Integrating artists with disabilities means looking beyond facilities toward broader definitions of accessibility and participation. This session brings stories and lessons learned from the 2015 Creative Access Residencies Program - a new initiative connecting visual artists and writers who have spinal cord injuries with residency opportunities. In 2015 the consortium program provided 12 talented artists month-long residencies at Ragdale Foundation, Santa Fe Art Institute, or Vermont Studio Center. Panelists will discuss the benefits and considerations of hosting artists with a range of disabilities, and share practical resources toward greater equity through this collaborative model.

Kathy Black | Program Director, Vermont Studio Center
Nina Elder | Residency Program Manager, Santa Fe Art Institute
Jeffrey Meeuwsen | Executive Director, The Ragdale Foundation
Ryan Walsh | Development + Writing Program Director, Vermont Studio Center

(4) The 4th Dimension: Beyond Time and Space

What does it mean to be artist-driven? As cultural organizers, we have a critical role in providing direct support to artists. What are the various resources, expertise, and specialties that we can offer artists to support their careers, practices, and communities? Using the Long Table format developed by artist Lois Weaver, this session welcomes attendees to join the discussion by freely rotating in or out of the conversation among the artists and arts organizations at the table. Through this performative, dinner party style dialogue and open-ended non-hierarchical format, discuss what it means to be artist-driven and explore the ways in which we can expand our scope as well as focus our approach to address and anticipate the creative needs of artists.

Melissa Levin | Director of Cultural Programs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
Will Penrose | Director, Rema Hort Mann Foundation

3pm - 4pm



(1) Bring It Home: Pivoting Back To Local Contexts  

The arts and culture sector has unique power to engage challenging issues and foster a deeper understanding of a place. But how can organizations harness this power—boldly responding to their contexts, empowering artists and cultural producers to take a seat at the table, and addressing pressing issues of a neighborhood, region, and beyond? From Cleveland, to Alaska, to Santa Fe, and back to Providence—arts leaders and funders reflect on a moment when they pivoted to the local by taking deeper looks at their neighborhoods, engaging community dynamics, and tackling social and environmental challenges. Join an open conversation on ways we engage our places, and what it means for our own missions, programming, and future sustainability.

SueEllen Kroll | Director of Grants + Strategic Partnerships, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
Liz Maugans | Co-Founder + Executive Director, Zygote Fine Art Press
Jeremy PatakyIndependent Consultant, Overstory Consulting (moderator)
Sanjit Sethi | Former Executive Director, Santa Fe Art Institute

(2) Powering Art: Renewable Energy + Arts Facilities

Taking a “start where you are” approach, this session explores practical techniques for increasing building efficiency and sourcing renewable energy. After investigating cost-effective means of reducing total energy consumption, the conversation will turn to case studies of on-site solar installations. The panel will also discuss the essentials of developing a clear strategy for energy sustainability in order to garner funding support. Come away with innovative ideas for taking steps to make your facilities more sustainable and efficient.

David Macy | Resident Director, The MacDowell Colony
Kiel Moe | Associate Professor of Architecture and Energy, Harvard University
Jack Ruderman | Director, Community Solar Initiatives, ReVision Energy

(3) International Mobility + Exchange for Artists

Disrupting an artist's creative practice often leads to the exploration of new ideas. This creative disruption can be particularly accentuated when artists cross cultural and global boundaries. This session delves into the sometimes tricky logistics of supporting international artists - e.g., visas, taxes, health insurance - and shares exciting new models and funding opportunities for fostering international mobility and cultural exchange. 

Marie Fol | Programme Manager, DutchCulture | TransArtists
Mary Sherman | Director, TransCultural Exchange

(4) We Mean Business Part I | Cover Your Ass(ets): Untangling Insurance

Liability, coverage, and claims may not have been front and center in your mind when you decided to pursue a career in the arts—and insurance may still seem to be a big pill to swallow, but this session will change your thinking. Dare we say it…insurance can be thrilling? (Especially if you consider hurricanes, earthquakes, and alligators.)

Esther Grisham Grimm | Executive Director, 3Arts (co-moderator)
Gia Hamilton | Director, Joan Mitchell Center
Steven Pincus | National Practice Leader, Fine Arts and Private Client Groups, DeWitt Stern
Tamara Ross | Director - Programming Operations, The Banff Centre
Sharon Ullman | Chief Operating Officer, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (co-moderator)

(5) Advancing Support for Live Arts // Roundtable Discussion

Live arts (dance, theater, and music) have a unique ability to develop collaborations and engage audiences as a group through live performance. Recognizing that ensemble-based performing arts are under-supported in the residency field, Craig Peterson, AAC Board Member, will briefly share the Alliance's increased effort to foster a more vibrant network of support for live arts residencies followed by a roundtable moderated by Independent Consultant, Jennifer Calienes. Artists, organizers and funders are invited to share ideas for the collective advancement of research and development support for performing artists.

Jennifer Calienes | National Arts Consultant (co-moderator)
Craig T. Peterson | Director of Programs + Presentation, Gibney Dance (co-moderator)

6pm - 8pm

Gail Silver Memorial Lecture and keynote address: Theaster Gates | RISD Auditorium, 7 Canal Walk, Providence River Greenway, Providence, RI

One of the most celebrated artists of our time, Theaster Gates instigates the creation of cultural communities by acting as a catalyst for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change. The founder of the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation, he is currently a Professor in the Department of Visual Art and Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago. The Gail Silver Memorial Lecture is presented in partnership with the RISD Museum.

Urban Pond Procession will lead attendees from the Biltmore promptly at 5:30pm to RISD Auditorium.

8pm - 10pm

Providence Party | Peerless Loft Atrium, 150 Union Street, Providence, RI

Together with the City of Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, celebrate during a fun, not-to-miss night of music, food, and reveling in the arts of Providence. Wind down after a day of sessions and the evening keynote and enjoy a great time in this extraordinary downtown location!

Free for attendees! Beer/wine, food and music by Latin American singer/songwriter, Czésare Santana!

Thursday, October 15

All activities at Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI unless otherwise noted
Featured Event

Innovation Plenary :: Thread - Collaboration + Community in Senegal

New global visions in cross-cultural artistic exchange. A conversation with the Thread residency. [ read more ]

8:30am - 1pm

Registration + Check-In
Pick up your registration packet, sign up for tours, and gather general information. Coffee/tea will be at the registration desk.

Funder Consultations
Sign up with one-on-one consultations with featured funders including the National Endowment for the Arts. First come, first served. Sign up available at registration desk.

9am - 9:45am 

Innovation Plenary :: Thread - Collaboration + Community in Senegal

In the remote village of Sinthian in southeastern Senegal sits the Thread residency –  one of the world's newest centers of creative production and interdisciplinary exchange. Melding the vision of artists Josef and Anni Albers, the futuristic designs of architect Toshiko Mori, Sinthian building and craft traditions, and complex environmental and sustainability needs of the region, Thread has emerged as an exciting vision for what an international residency can be. Join Nick Murphy, director of the residency, and Jordan MacTavish, lead architect, as they explore what it means to be both radically global and deeply local. This special plenary conversation shares the amazing story of the Thread program launch and upcoming collaborations between Senegalese and international artists-in-residence.

10am - 10:45am



(1) Zoning 101

Reimagining historic properties, merging living spaces with industrial production, and blurring the lines between public and private space can mean great things for artists, but can prove a nightmare when dealing with local zoning boards. Hear from leaders about zoning challenges and opportunities, with representatives from both cultural organizations and local planning departments. Gain tips for navigating zoning laws and hearings, advocating for arts-friendly zoning reform, and accessing resources to help you along the way.

Brad Kik | Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)
Robert E. Azar | Deputy Director, City of Providence's Department of Planning and Development

(2) Parents in Residence: Models of Inclusion

Parents face unique challenges when trying to pursue artistic careers. The time and space residencies offer can seem unreachable for those artists who are also raising families. Hear about the many ways residencies are opening their doors to parents and making the residency experience possible. This session will share lessons learned from three years of grantmaking specifically designed to encourage residencies to become more family-friendly. We’ll explore both the challenges and successes and describe some models that residencies are using right now to ensure that artists with children are welcome participants.

Tony Grant | Executive Director, Sustainable Arts Foundation

(3) Disruptive Change: Performance Mash-Up

Join choreographers Shura Baryshnikov and Sydney Skybetter for a dynamic exchange on new directions in performance. How will new technologies reinvent artistic practice and the way we engage live arts? How do we consider disruptive change in the advancement of creative work? Shura and Sydney present the ideas that keep them moving and will inform their upcoming collaboration.

Shura Baryshnikov | Choreographer, Dancer + Educator
Sydney Skybetter | Choreographer, Writer + Technologist

(4) Pioneering A World Exchange : A Providence-Centric Biennial

Venice, Sao Paulo, Sydney and… Providence! When a team of artists, writers, curators, and directors come together to create The Providence Biennial, they seek to design world-class art experiences expanding the unique context of this small arts-driven city. This session explores how we - as art leaders - can band together to amplify local and regional arts initiatives to launch into a truly international dialogue. Join organizers for tales from the first year of collaborative planning, then help to inaugurate the Biennial's next phase.

Judith Tolnick Champa | Founding Director, Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art
Vanphouthon Souvannasane | Director, Yellow Peril Gallery 
Lori Urso | Executive Director, Slater Mill

(5) Telling Our Story: The Craft Schools Initiative

The Craft Schools Initiative is a joint project of historic residential craft schools, which have been meeting together for the past three years. With a two-fold charge, the group has developed joint marketing efforts to reach new creative audiences and has conjured increased cooperation and communication among the programs. Panelists will be sharing unique insights from their efforts including how their organizational values have informed their work. Organizations interested in working collaboratively are encouraged to come learn about strategies and progress to-date.

Ennis Carter | Founding Director, Social Impact Studios
Stuart Kestenbaum | Strategist,
Kristin Müller | Executive Director, Peters Valley School of Craft

11am - 12:30pm

Breakout Sessions


(1) The Matter of Money: Compensation, Equity, and Valuing Artists

This discussion will explore the ethics of artist support: how our practices around charging fees to or paying artists impacts who we serve, how organizations and artists can better navigate the value of non-monetary support, and how organizations can ensure artists are given adequate resources to succeed.

Elizabeth Chodos | Executive + Creative Director, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency
Alec De León | Program Specialist, National Performance Network - Visual Artist Network
Carolina García Jayaram | CEO, United States Artists
Laurel Ptak | Director, Triangle Arts Association
Lise Soskolne | Core Organizer, W.A.G.E.

(2) Revealing Process + Place: Structuring Ecological Residencies

While artists have been inspired by the landscape for hundreds of years, the nascent field of ecological art proposes that the artist more fully engages with the environment in ways that can have long-term, performative impacts. As hosts to artists, how do we facilitate meaningful work at the intersections of art and the environment -- from structuring a productive and supportive context, identifying resources, and building opportunities for cross-discipline collaboration.

Christina Catanese | Director of Environmental Art, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Stacy Levy | Artist
Deenah Loeb | Executive Director, City Parks Association/Art in the Open
Jennifer McGregor | Director of Arts + Senior Curator, Wave Hill
Jan Mun | Media Artist

(3) Artist-run: Balancing Artist + Administrator

Leaders of artist-run organizations must constantly juggle roles - shifting between administrator, organizer, academic, and artist. What are the ethics, aesthetics, and challenges involved in juggling multiple roles and identities? Join these leaders for a frank discussion on how working artists make time and space for their own creative careers and interests while simultaneously supporting the needs of other artists.

Mike Andrews | Academic Director, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency; Associate Professor, Department of Fiber and Material Studies, SAIC
Jacques Louis Vidal | Resident Director, The Lighthouse Works, Inc.
Lauren Was | Co-Director, Art Garda; Critic, Wassaic Project

(4) We Mean Business Part II | Strange Bedfellows? Getting from Finance to Fundraising

What do fundraising and finance have in common, other than an “F?” In this session, an experienced funder and a finance expert will share their ideas, observations, and suggestions on how to design and present a cogent budget and use the numbers to support a compelling proposal. This is an opportunity to get your burning questions answered.

Nicholas Constantakis | President, Constantakis Consulting Group
Cathy Edwards | Executive Director, New England Foundation for the Arts
Esther Grisham Grimm | Executive Director, 3Arts (co-moderator)
Sharon Ullman | Chief Operating Officer, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (co-moderator)

(5) Critical Feedback for Creative Work: Fieldwork

How can artists get helpful feedback on their artistic work? How do we facilitate rigorous exchange that honors the creative process and builds community? Join The Field and AS220 for Fieldwork, The Field’s nationally recognized peer-to-peer critical feedback method. Fieldwork is utilized by The Field in NYC as well as by The Field’s 13 national and international sites. Watch as AS220 artists share short works-in-process and take part in this objective and supportive feedback method. (Can’t attend? Come be a “fly on the wall” at a Fieldwork session at AS220 on Tuesday or Wednesday, 11am-1pm.). Please note: This session takes place at AS220's Black Box Theater - 95 Empire Street, Providence RI.

James Scruggs | Fieldwork Facilitator, The Field
Jennifer Wright Cook
| Executive Director, The Field
AS220 artists TBA

12:30pm - 2:30pm

Lunch Plenary // Looking Back, Moving Forward: Advancing Cultural Equity | Senator Pell Lecture on Arts + Humanities

Honoring the late Claiborne Pell - who was instrumental in the development of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities - this year’s Pell Lecture celebrates the 30th anniversary of Rhode Island’s Expansion Arts program and challenges us to develop a more equitable arts ecosystem.

Welcome: Mayor Jorge Elorza

Jeffreen Hayes
, Ph.D. | Principal + Artistic Producer, bridge/arts
Clyde Valentín | Director, Ignite Arts Dallas
Patrice Walker Powell | Retired, Cultural Worker + Public Servant (moderator)
Raymond Two Hawks Watson | Executive Member, Eastern Medicine Singers

Sussy Santana
Eastern Medicine Singers

The 2015 Senator Pell Lecture "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Advancing Cultural Equity" is presented by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, in partnership with Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Rhode Island Foundation, and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. This project is part of the Pell Humanities Initiative in Rhode Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

3pm - 5:30pm

Off-site tours, workshops, and adventures
Space is limited; free to attendees, but registration required.

Artists Doin' It for Themselves
Southside Cultural Center
Providence Public Library
Cable Car Cinema

6:30pm - 8pm

Enjoy an evening on your own! Check out our suggestions for dining and fun events near the hotel. Or meet up with one of these groups!

AAC Network Meet Ups

Join a network of your peers for a casual, happy hour networking event. The following meet ups are hosted by the Alliance's cohort and regional networks.

  • Upstate New York Arts Meet Up - Local 121 Bar + Restaurant - 121 Washington Street; 0.2 miles from Biltmore Hotel
  • Live Arts Supporters + Creators Meet Up - The Dorrance – 60 Dorrance Street; 0.1 mile from Biltmore Hotel
  • Arts + Ecology Happy Hour - Faust – 122 Fountain Street; 0.2 miles from Biltmore Hotel

Friday, October 16

All activities at Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI unless otherwise noted
Featured Session

Spotlight on Creative Placemaking and Community Transformation

A dynamic conversation among funders representing national, regional, and local support for the transformation of communities around arts and culture.
[ read more ]

8:30am - 1pm

Registration + Check-In
Pick up your registration packet, sign up for tours, and gather general information. Coffee/tea will be at the registration desk.

Funder Consultations
Sign up with one-on-one consultations with featured funders including the National Endowment for the Arts. First come, first served. Sign up available at registration desk.

9am - 9:45am

Welcome + Introduction // David N. Cicilline | United States Congressman, Rhode Island

Morning Keynote // Jane Chu, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

The eleventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and an accomplished artist and musician, Chairman Chu will offer attendees a bold new vision for collaborating and connecting in the arts. This special program will be followed by a Q+A with the Chairman.

Rhode Island Artist Medley Part II // Emcee: Randall Rosenbaum | Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA)
With so many phenomenal local artists, we couldn’t pick just one! Our Rhode Island Artist Medley features just a few of the state’s established and emerging creative voices. Presented in partnership with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Ifa Bayeza | Playwright + Director
Jed Hancock-Brainerd + Rebecca Noon
| Co-Directors, Strange Attractor Theatre

10am - 11am



(1) Block Party in A Box: Toolkits for the Arts

A model for sharing resources and programs on a broad scale, toolkits allows for widespread collaboration without a top-down, “colonial” approach. The toolkit is a technique for prototyping, evaluating, and then widely sharing a specific program idea. From Springboard for the Arts Creative Exchanges (Artists Health Fair, Block Party in a Box, Pop Up Museum) to ISLAND’s Long Memory Project, this session explores how toolkits are engaging artists and communities in new and exciting ways and extending the impact of artist-centered organizations. Come away with toolkits to try - as well as the information you need to create your own!

Brad Kik | Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design/ISLAND
Naomi Schliesman | Artist Development Coordinator, Springboard for the Arts
Carl Atiya Swanson | Director of Movement Building, Springboard for the Arts
Holly Wren Spaulding | Director, Poetry Forge + STORYhouse Partners

(2) Pittsburgh Spotlight: City of Asylum + Office of Public Arts

An artist residency in a community setting sounds great on a grant application, but how can they also be truly great experiences for the artists and the communities involved?  Join Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Art (OPA) and City of Asylum to explore two projects that grappled with this question - and encountered surprising results. Learn how OPA developed their Artist in the Public Realm Residency Program (and newly minted guide) and hear about City of Asylum's newest collaboration between French theater director Pascal Rambert and people living with disabilities. A discussion on building momentum, navigating community, and the power of public works. 

Silvia Duarte | Program Manager, City of Asylum
Renee Piechocki | Founding Director, Pittsburgh's Office of Public Art

(3) Free Agents: Roundtable on Arts and Entrepreneurship

Free agents with a taste for subversion, artists are the classic entrepreneurs—more so now than ever, in the midst of technological change and institutional shifts. This roundtable will delve into this messy overlap to identify maps for organizational sustainability. How do we support artists as entrepreneurs? Can we combine artistic critique and entrepreneurial disruption? Or borrow startup tactics, including early and frequent release, public iteration, benchmarks for success and scaling strategies? Facilitator Roddy Schrock will draw on his experience as director of Eyebeam -which is mobilizing its alumni community, diversifying its programming, and dispersing its production sites - to lead this open roundtable discussion.

Roddy Schrock | Director, Eyebeam

(4) Making Space to Nurture Writers of Color

SonEdna and the new Rhode Island Writer's Colony share a mission of supporting artists of color, but their approaches reflect distinct contexts. Reflecting on both the overlaps and divergence in their work in places as different as a rural town in the Mississippi Delta and the mill city of Warren, Rhode Island, Karen Allen Baxter and John Stephenson will address the start up, challenges, and rewards, of their programs to benefit writers of color. Author Naomi Jackson will offer her perspective as a leader of workshops for writers of color, a beneficiary of residency programs, and former funder. Participants can expect to gain a holistic perspective on the need for both specific programs focused on writers of color and integrating support for writers of color into traditional residency programs.

Karen Allen Baxter | Managing Director, Department of Africana Studies - Rites and Reason Theatre, Brown University; and Founding Chair, SonEdna
Naomi Jackson | Writer
John Stephenson | Managing Director + Co-Founder, The Rhode Island Writers Colony

11:15am - 12:45pm

Breakout Sessions


(1) Funding Spotlight: Creative Placemaking and Community Transformation

Join us for a dynamic conversation among funders representing national, regional, and local support for the transformation of communities around arts and culture. Creative placemaking involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrating arts and culture into community revitalization work. This holistic approach puts arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, environmental, public safety, and other planning sectors. Hear from grantmakers about how the rise of creative placemaking has impacted funding decision-making, how this hybrid work brings new notions of impact, and what factors contribute to successful creative placemaking efforts across cities, towns, and rural communities.

Maria Rosario Jackson | Senior Advisor/Arts & Culture Program, The Kresge Foundation
Caitlin Strokosch
| Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities (moderator)
Jason Schupbach | Director of Design Programs, Visual Arts Division Team Leader, National Endowment for the Arts
Jayson Smart | Program Officer, Rasmuson Foundation

(2) Residency/Presenter/Artist: Supporting Performance Through Collaboration

Residency sites and presenters can more robustly support performance artists’ work - from conception to performance - through earlier and more intentional engagement. Starting with examples from recent collaborative efforts, American Dance Institute, MANCC (Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography), Brooklyn Academy of Music, and artist David Neumann open a discussion about different models for partnering and working in tandem while maintaining institutional, curatorial, and artistic sovereignty. Designed to appeal to artists looking for more continuous support for new work, residency sites concerned with the support available to artists, and presenters interested in fully incubated and well-resourced new work, the session will solicit audience participation in discovering new and more complete support structures.

Amy Cassello | Associate Producer - Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
David Neumann | Artistic Director, Advanced Beginner Group
Carla Peterson | Director, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography
Adrienne Willis | Executive Director, American Dance Institute (moderator)

(3) Open Doors: Engaging Underserved Artists

Join Kemi Ilesanmi (The Laundromat Project) and Elaina Richardson (Yaddo) for a conversation on equity in the arts. How do artist-centered organizations take an honest look at who they are and - just as importantly - who they are not reaching? How do we more effectively take action toward inclusivity? Participants will share reflections from two years of work with Yaddo aiming to address these gaps, and will share strategies for identifying and addressing barriers to participation and ways of fostering access across a range of program models. An open discussion between panelists and the audience follows, moderated by Mario Garcia Durham.

Mario Garcia Durham | President + CEO, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (moderator)
Kemi Ilesanmi
| Executive Director, Laundromat Project
Elaina Richardson | President, Yaddo

(4) We Mean Business, Part III | Somewhere Over the Numbers: Evaluating Mission Impact

How can we assess an experience or a creative process? How do we evaluate success when we don't dictate outcome? Is there a world between anecdotes and numbers? This session will present case studies that will help you develop ways to express the value of your mission.

Mary-Kim Arnold | Director of Evaluation + Learning, Rhode Island Foundation
Esther Grisham Grimm | Executive Director, 3Arts (co-moderator)
Sharon Ullman | Chief Operating Officer, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (co-moderator)
Risë Wilson
| Director of Philanthropy, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

12:45pm - 2pm

Lunch (provided) + Closing Remarks

2:15pm - 4:30pm

Off-site tours, workshops, and adventures
Space is limited; free to attendees, but registration required.

The Steel Yard
Trinity Repertory Company
Roger Williams National Memorial
Architectural Walking Tour
Public Art Walk - Seen/Unseen

5:30pm - 7:30pm

Closing Night Award Party | Aurora, 276 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

Close out the conference with a special reception at Aurora, a mixed-use creative venue in the heart of downtown Providence. This glittery silver celebration launches our 25th year! Join us for chill music, delicious snacks, and a super group photo! Don't miss the pop-up performance of Connect | Disconnect - a project by Arvid Tomayko and Hannah Thompson.

Free for attendees! Cash bar and hors d'oeuvres will be served.

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