July 28, 2008

Many thanks to the talented (and extremely busy) individuals who participated in Program Notes, a blog created to precede and then continue the dialogue generated by the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention in Denver, CO.

For those of you coming to this blog after June 2008, a brief explanation: Program Notes was set up in two parts, the first being weekly contributions from established performing arts bloggers, and the second, frequent, daily reports from attendees of the convention. The convention organizers felt this juxtaposition of the "big picture" and the "day-to-day" accurately conveyed the range of issues dealt with in Denver.

For information on future national performing arts conventions, please contact info@performingartsconvention.org
July 28, 2008 5:11 PM | | Comments (0)
June 19, 2008

Thanks to all who continue to participate in this blog; our 10 performing arts bloggers, attendee bloggers, and those who have participated via their thoughtful and insightful comments. We're very excited about the conversations that have been and continue to be generated by the thousands who have visited!

Comments are flying around the blogosphere about NPAC's (lack of) digital presence.  Surprise - we agree!  Of course there was more we could have done digitally -  there was more we could have done in every aspect of the  convention, given more time, money, resources, man-power and experience - but now we can hope that arts organizations will use the digital work we did do here as a launch pad for their own conferences, meetings and events going forward.

So, let's hear it. Share your ideas here for better convention web strategies in the future. Sky's the limit. Let's pretend NPAC is the one arts organization in the world with unlimited  resources for the sake of discussion.

Here are a few to get you started:
Doug Fox on Great Dance
Andrew Taylor on The Artful Manager
Butts in the Seats
Theatre North Carolina
Drew McManus on Adaptistration

posted by Amanda Ameer.

June 19, 2008 1:11 PM | | Comments (1)



Much thanks for your encouragement of a broad-based conversation about how the performing arts community can use the Internet. And I much appreciate your openness to all ideas--both the positive and the constructive ones.

I look forward to learning how other performing arts organizations, both through national initiatives such as the NPAC conference and on a local and regional level, are using the Internet for advocacy, outreach and other efforts.

Andrew Taylor explores the performing arts' capacity for collective action here.

  • We're unaware of the resources around us
    I heard often during convention conversations that ''there ought to be an organization or resource that...'', describing an entity or resource that had actually been around for decades (arts education on-line repository: ArtsEdge, national advocate for the arts in the public sphere: Americans for the Arts, detailed information on community demographics and trends: American FactFinder from the U.S. Census). It's clear performing arts professionals don't currently have the time or incentive to explore these larger resources, or to understand and inform their value or potential.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 19, 2008 9:36 AM | | Comments (0)
Has this ever happened at an AmericaSpeaks assembly before?

posted by Michelle Mierz.
June 19, 2008 8:56 AM | | Comments (0)
June 18, 2008

The following strategies were presented and voted on during the final Town Hall meeting of the National Performing Arts Convention. Many strategies were put forward, and we hope they all find champions and serve the field. Those with the majority of votes will emerge in the national strategies and agendas of the host service organizations, and will be encouraged as local and organizational priorities throughout the country. If you have specific examples, ideas, or ''best practices'' that relate to these top strategies, please post them in the comments section of this entry.

The Challenge/Opportunity
The increasing diversity of our communities creates an opportunity to engage a variety of ages, races, identities, and cultures in our audiences and organizations.

What should we do about DIVERSITY on a NATIONAL level?

Charge national service organizations to create dialogue at convenings, create training programs, promote diverse art and artists, and partner with grassroots organizations who are already connected to diverse communities - 43%

Diversify boards, management, and staff in all national arts organizations - 26%

Create a media campaign with artists from diverse communities including celebrities to provide exposure to diverse art - 15%

Raise national funds to support internships, reduced price events, and under-represented artists - 9%

Create national forums, listserves, and websites to support sharing of successful diversity efforts - 7%

What should we do about DIVERSITY on a LOCAL level?

Open an honest dialogue across community groups and sectors to share priorities and identify barriers to participation - 31%

Partner within the arts, as well as with community organizations, to build relationships - 23%

Expand beyond traditional venues to establish new points of access - 17%

Create programming to address the experiences of the diverse elements of the community - 11%

Engage community leaders from outside the arts to serve in arts leadership positions - 7%

Use diverse voices, experiences, and traditions to market arts programming - 7%

Organize a recurring local performing arts convention - 4%

What should we do about DIVERSITY on an ORGANIZATIONAL/INDIVIDUAL level?

Discover arts in your community offered by cultures other than your own and establish peer relationships - 37%

Set long term goal and plan to have staff, board, programming, and audiences reflect the demographics of your community - 32%

Program more diverse artists and content - 15%

Create an internship / entry-level staff program that attracts and recruits diverse staff - 6%

Convene diverse ad hoc steering committees (including youth) for specific projects - 6%

Produce at least one large-scale, publicly accessible event per year - 5%

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE DISCUSSION. What do you think? Do you see strategies that are missing from these lists? What has and has not worked for your organization in the past? Do we need more specific action plans to really change things? Click here to share you ideas and experiences from NPAC and beyond.
June 18, 2008 2:07 PM | | Comments (0)
The following strategies were presented and voted on during the final Town Hall meeting of the National Performing Arts Convention. Many strategies were put forward, and we hope they all find champions and serve the field. Those with the majority of votes will emerge in the national strategies and agendas of the host service organizations, and will be encouraged as local and organizational priorities throughout the country. If you have specific examples, ideas, or ''best practices'' that relate to these top strategies, please post them in the comments section of this entry.

The Challenge/Opportunity
The potential of arts education and lifelong learning in the arts is under realized.

What should we do about arts EDUCATION on a NATIONAL level?

Devise an advocacy campaign to promote the inclusion of performing arts in core curricula -

  • Enlist artists as full partners in all aspects of arts education through training and creating an AmeriCorps/WPA-type program - 22%
  • Lobby for education reform, including rescinding No Child Left Behind - 20%
  • Form partnerships with national education infrastructure (e.g. National Education Association, PTA, teachers unions) - 13%
  • Invite new constituencies to experience the performing arts and create opportunities for lifelong learning by providing more points of entry - 5%
  • Research successful models / best practices and disseminate via the web - 2%
  • Establish diverse cross-sector committee to create an enriched arts curriculum - 2%

What should we do about arts EDUCATION on a LOCAL level?

Mobilize and collaborate with K-12 and higher education institutions to strengthen arts education and arts participation as core curriculum -

  • Strengthen relationship with school boards and policy makers through lobbying, electing "arts friendly officials", involvement in local politics - 17%
  • Innovate financial models to fund the arts: link to tax base, develop dedicated sales tax, connect to corporate funds - 15%
  • Integrate arts teaching in educators' professional development and integrate teaching programs in artist organizations - 16%
  • Bring art into non-traditional spaces (e.g. parks, workplaces, social programs)to  create new educational opportunities -- "enter into the communities we serve" - 14%
  • Develop joint arts education programs across disciplines and within the community for fuller distribution and comprehensive programming - 8%
  • Establish and share assessments that create empirical data to demonstrate correlation between arts and educational impact - 7%

What should we do about arts EDUCATION on an ORGANIZATIONAL/INDIVIDUAL level?

Lead lifelong education programs that actively involve people in multigenerational groups. "Make the arts part of a lifelong wellness plan." - 23%

  • Directly engage teachers to integrate the arts into their teaching and create professional development programs to address their needs - 19%
  • Commit your entire organization to arts education in mission, budget,     programs, and collaborations - 13%
  • Create new partnerships to share responsibility for planning and delivering local arts education - 11%
  • Leverage new technology to create art, engage more people (especially young people), and support learning. - 10%
  • Run candidates for school boards and local government - 9%
  • Use comprehensive education models to engage the whole family in your mission and programs. - 8%
  • Join, be active, and take leadership roles in civic organizations - 7%

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE DISCUSSION. What do you think? Do you see strategies that are missing from these lists? What has and has not worked for your organization in the past? Do we need more specific action plans to really change things?
Click here to share you ideas and experiences from NPAC and beyond.
June 18, 2008 11:21 AM | | Comments (2)


All the research proves that participation in any art form, will raise test scores. This information has not moved any politician to change the current lack of funding to art, nor my field as a public school music educator.

For a clear understanding of why this has occurred, read the book: Manufactured Crisis by Biddle, 1995.

As a 25-year vetern junior high band director from a midwestern urban public school district, that has been cut millions of dollars, the challenge to maintain the National Standards in Music Education.

For example. Each elementary school offers different music lesson opportunities. Most experience one 15-minute lesson a week with up to 8-10 students of mixed or unlike instruments, some a 30-minute lesson once a week, and at one elementary school, two 30-minute lessons per week. With this lack of continuity in the elementary programs, incoming students do not move into junior high at the same level of ability, yet are all scheduled for the same 7th grade band class.

So what has been done to repair this? In addition to designing a nine-month challenging "catch-up-immersion" curriculum, I earned a second master's degree: Arts Administration. I still teach daily, but also look at my public school band program from a professional managers point of view. I now negotiate and arrange band performances all over town, as I use the new contacts and networks from my intern positions.

Here are a few suggestions for those who want to consider doing the same.
1. Contact a local college music department. Negotiate (sectional) masterclasses at your school, or better yet, take your entire band to the college for a masterclass session. Include parents. Do this yearly, within 2 weeks prior to a concert.
2. Contact area performance venues: Live Theater. Negotiate a small jazz band, flute or brass ensemble, perform prior to a production in the foyer of the venue.
3. Contact local businesses or government centers; Negotiate a business partnership in which the students perform during a holiday season during the lunch period for employees, or in a park or garden area outside.
4. Brainstorm ideas with parents..keep them well informed and inlist their help. The tighter your relationship with the parent community (including calling regarding grades on a monthly basis), will keep the music program in the public schools.

Note; As the parents and students understand their performance abilities will represent their work in public, practicing increases and parents incourage it.

As a Department Chair of the Arts (Music, Dance, Drama, Visual Art) and an art teacher (K-12+) for over 25 years, I have encountered school systems that want to integrate the arts but don't know how. The Arts teachers at all levels have to be involved in this process of writing Integrated Curriculum at the local level and also be part of the professional development team to "educate" non-arts teachers how to "do" art, not just use art materials and call it an art project.

At the university and training levels, we need to develop knowledge and hands on arts experiences for our non-arts teachers with required college level classes for undergraduates and graduates as well.

The road goes two ways. Arts teachers are somewhat accustomed to integrated other world subjects into their programs. After all, what is art but life itself? There isn't a subject you can think of that doesn't contain art of some kind. Non-arts teachers might throw in some art fact in history or perhaps in a chemistry class (components of paint for instance), but the integration is so limited and biased that the art concept becomes relegated to the incidential and trivial.

For our art ed. teachers, we need to emphasize their importance in the education continuum, not only to themselves as a group, but to the administration.

Art is Life. This being so, we not only have a commitment to demonstrate this as teachers, but we also have a need to show the education genre in general how the arts affect learning outcomes. Many of our non-arts teachers have no idea how the artist's right brain works to solve a problem!

Educational research has shown that students who have taken arts classes have higher SAT's. With this fact in mind, is it not in our best interest to emphasize the arts in our core curriculum? The National Stardards for the Arts (the first subject area that was completed before math, science, language arts and social studies when this project was initiated by the government!) has the arts as a necessary component of education. Why have we not followed through more intensely on the state and local level?

As a facilitator and initiator of a pilot program in Integrated Curriculum many years ago, I see today there is minimal progress in this area. Why? The reasons are many, but the problem does not lie in the curriculum itself, however. At most, it is a nice concept and gets talked about in education circles when talking about the rest of educations' ills gets tiresome. Implementation is not forthcoming.

It is one thing to see the problem of the arts being less and less important in the education of our future. It is another to realize being a part of that problem. And lastly, it is that same highly civilized and educated populace who will have to find a solution to this problem.

The following strategies were presented and voted on during the final Town Hall meeting of the National Performing Arts Convention. Many strategies were put forward, and we hope they all find champions and serve the field. Those with the majority of votes will emerge in the national strategies and agendas of the host service organizations, and will be encouraged as local and organizational priorities throughout the country. If you have specific examples, ideas, or ''best practices'' that relate to these top strategies, please post them in the comments section of this entry.

The Challenge/Opportunity:
Our communities do not sufficiently perceive the value, benefits and relevance of the arts, which makes advocacy and building public support for the arts a challenge at every level.

What should we do about arts advocacy and communicating our value at the NATIONAL level?

Organize a national media campaign with celebrity spokespersons, catchy slogans  (e.g. "Got Milk"), unified message, and compelling stories - 27%

  • Create a Department of Culture/Cabinet-level position which is responsible for implementing a national arts policy - 23%
  • Lobby elected political officials for pro-arts policy and funding; demand arts policy platform from candidates - 14%
  • Create a coordinated national performing arts policy campaign involving artists and organizations - 12%
  • Collect, analyze and disseminate data demonstrating the value of the arts (e.g. economic, intrinsic, developmental/educational values) - 12%
  • Establish a National Arts Day/Festival with free performances, open houses, and art-making opportunities - 8%
  • Explore interactive new media initiatives to increase access and relevance (e.g. create a "Google Arts"-type resource, blogs,YouTube) - 5%

What should we do about arts advocacy and communicating our value at the LOCAL level?

Create an arts coalition to get involved in local decision-making, take leadership positions, and strengthen relationships with elected officials - 21%

Forge partnerships with other sectors to identify how the arts can serve community needs -

  • Foster cross-disciplinary conversations to share data and best practices, develop common goals, and create joint activities/ performances - 14%
  • Mobilize audiences to be advocates for the arts - 13%
  • Utilize existing advocacy and data to influence local funding, policy and public support for the arts - 9%
  • Create collaborative local marketing campaigns in mass media and public venues - 8%
  • Develop and promote recognizable champions for the arts - 7%
  • Create new cross disciplinary events and festivals to promote the local arts community - 6%

What should we do about arts advocacy and communicating our value at the ORGANIZATIONAL/INDIVIDUAL level?

Build relationships with non-arts groups, including governments, corporations, community development organizations, etc. - 26%

  • Create opportunities for active participation in the arts for all ages (including interactive websites, open rehearsals, etc.) - 24%
  • Expand relationships across the community to find and develop new leaders (e.g. through Board development) and local champions for the arts - 12%
  • Participate in the local political process by lobbying city council, school board, etc. - 10%
  • Create multi-media marketing strategies (including YouTube, Facebook) to communicate and demonstrate value and relevance - 9%
  • Connect the stories and experiences of local community members to new and existing artwork - 9%
  • Create arts supporters out of our audiences - 7%
  • Build relationships with local media to widen their coverage and exposure of the arts - 4%

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE DISCUSSION. What do you think? Do you see strategies that are missing from these lists? What has and has not worked for your organization in the past? Do we need more specific action plans to really change things? Click here to share you ideas and experiences from NPAC and beyond.
June 18, 2008 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
June 17, 2008

Well, perhaps a metaphorical one. Actually is was a pretty sterile, windowless convention center "ballroom", but throw some arts folks in there and you've got a pas de duex to Cotton-Eye Joe, the wave, and shout-outs like "I'd like to phone a friend."

Here are the slides that were projected when the 1300+ attendees were asked to submit demographic information:

region3.jpgRegion 1:    Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Region 2:     New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC
Region 3:     Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky
Region 4:     Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas
Region 5:     Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
Region 6:     Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado
Region 7:     New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona
Region 8:     Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho
Region 9:     California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii Islands
Region 10:   International

June 17, 2008 12:56 PM | | Comments (0)
From the NPAC website:

Saturday: 21st Century Town Meeting®: Building A Performing Arts Community

All convention participants will be seated in the Korbel Ballroom at assigned discussion tables. We will work with each of the top opportunities/challenges, one at a time. First, we will consider the major action ideas that emerged from caucus three. Then using wireless keypads, each person will vote on the top priority actions to be taken--at both a national level and a local level. By the end of the meeting we will have established clear priorities for action toward a stronger future for the performing arts in America. Leaders from the national performing arts community will respond to this collectively-developed action agenda--noting steps to ensure that this agenda is enacted.

The NPAC steering committee selected AmericaSpeaks to lead this meeting approach because of the impressive results that AmericaSpeaks has achieved in engaging large groups of people--as many 4,500 people in a single room--in focused and productive conversations that lead to action. AmericaSpeaks developed the 21st century town meeting® as a response to the growing disconnection between citizens and leaders across the U.S., so that people can have a genuine voice in the most important decisions that affect their lives. AmericaSpeaks has employed this approach in addressing a wide range of issues including the rebuilding of the World trade center site, the recovery of New Orleans, and health care reform in California. We believe that our performing arts community can benefit from this approach--especially in this nascent stage of our development as a community, where the need to create accountability, trust and action is so essential.

Slides were projected on two large screens, and participants knew the results of their voting within minutes (slides posted in the following entries). I had the good fortune of sitting next to the very-cool Elizabeth Streb (her business card says "Elizabeth Streb - Action Architect"; I'm thinking about changing mine), and together we figured out the seemingly uncomplicated keypads (you had to vote as soon as voting opened OR at the very end - not while everyone else was doing it). I was greatly amused by the number of TECHNOLOGY signs that flew up after the first (ten) round(s) of using the keypads; New Technologies in the Arts indeed.

IMG_0285.jpgposted by Amanda Ameer.

June 17, 2008 12:44 PM | | Comments (0)
More folks reporting from Denver - please add a link in the comments field if I missed you!

Opera Vivente
Gathering Note
Notes from the Kelp
Mind the Gap

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 17, 2008 11:38 AM | | Comments (0)

This week was filled with revelations, realizations, and restorations.  NPAC was an amazing, exhausting experience.  Here are my wrap up comments.

Friday's General Session:

Friday's General Session was a masterpiece of powerfully moving ideas and accomplishments.  Once again, I will focus my comments on ideas rather than individuals.

A gem from a speaker:

"Let's move the Arts from the fringe of education to the core of education."

Gems from Señor Arbeu:

"The orchestra is the only community that gets together to agree with each other."

"Art can create a Nation."

"Rhythm is the international pulse of the Soul."

"Material poverty can be overcome by spiritual richness."

"In Venezuela there are more children in music than in sports."

"Culture directed at the poor cannot be a poor culture."

"He who helps the poor will never be poor."

Saturday's Closing Session:

I was thrilled at the closing session when "Louie, Louie", by The Kingsmen, came on in the room; it was the first song that "engaged the audience" from the first note, and lifted the mood of all.  I consider this audience effect a good reminder for us to "Reevaluate what is Art!"

The shared vision resulting from our week of effort will be published for us all to embrace.  Basically, we will Advocate for, Educate in, and Encourage Diversity in The Arts.  

At the end of the closing session, we were asked to make an expression of commitment toward our mutually conceived community vision for the Arts.  

My words at the closing session were heartfelt, and a direct response to a 22 year old dancer at our table who, with great sadness and disillusionment, said to us all, "I can't believe that survival of Artists didn't make the top three priorities."  

The agony in her eyes and her words motivated me to "move the finger" in our midst.  May we advocate, educate and diversify to enrich our Great Nation with Great Artists who can feed their families, care for their health, and Live for their Art.

I stood, and expressed myself with words similar to this:

"I am a musician, entertainer, educator, historian, and entrepreneur in the new Zydeco and Cajun Grammy category (yet another accomplishment said to be impossible).

I will commit to the best of my ability, without causing material harm to myself, to actively contribute by making every disciplined decision with the success of our shared vision in mind.  I'd like to get started on this process immediately.

Toward that end, my personal mission states, "Just as the fingertip can conceal from the eye the World's greatest mountain, so, too, can the rigors of daily living conceal Life's greatest treasures.  My job is to move the finger."

I'd like to move the finger right now.

There is a massive contradiction between our first strategic priority, to advocate for and communicate the value of the Arts, and the noticeable absence  of "Survival of the Artist" in our top three priorities.  May we all work together toward our shared vision, but keep the Makers of Art, the artists themselves, in our minds.  Art must not be incompatible with practical survival.  Let us hope that we Advocate, Educate and Diversify to create a population of new artists who can feed their families, buy health insurance, and Live from their Art."

I especially want to thank Sandra Gibson, President of APAP, for her care and guidance for everyone in our Artistic world.   Thank you, Sandra, for giving me the marvelous opportunity to participate in NPAC.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself on behalf of the young artists who will follow in our footsteps.  Thank you for bringing me into your Arts family.  Thank you for being my friend.

I have already taken action toward our Vision.  I have made contact with several movers and shakers in Education, Community, and Government, to share our Vision, and offer to help in any way I can.  I have also turned an upcoming concert that I am producing in Chicago toward all three goals of our Vision, diversifying by inclusion of multiple cultural charities as recipients of our donations of proceeds.  I am also going to feature an up-and-coming Artist to share the stage with us as an educational experience.  And I will integrate Arts Advocacy into all our PSAs and Outreach associated with this concert.  It is easy for me to embrace these strategic goals because they have always been our standard practices.  What is new is that we are now a part of NPAC Community mission.

Thank you all for creating a vision we can work toward.  Together.

posted by MOJO.
June 17, 2008 9:04 AM | | Comments (0)
June 15, 2008

International tours for US troupes travelling with tools-of-the trade i.e. instruments, pros, sets, costumes or equipment, are threatened by the pending 10+2 US security initiative. This will require harmonized tariff numbers on carnets for these tool-of-the trade and thus create unnecessary barriers to cultural exchange unless carnets are allowed the requested waiver. Said waiver was requested by the League of American Orchestras and the United States Council for International Business and is still in play.

posted by Amanda Ameer.

June 15, 2008 7:35 PM | | Comments (0)
The convention is now over, finally got a good nights sleep... and I'm now dealing with the humidity of New York City rather then the unbelievable dryness of Denver.  I just wanted to try and get one more post up before I'm back in the office tomorrow.

By Friday I was able to sneak away to a few more events although I'm sorry to say that there wasn't a single session which I saw from beginning to end.  I suppose the place to start is with Friday's general session, "Radical Ideas from Beyond the Border".... since that was the first event I was able to get to that day:

Germaine Acogny:  Inspiring
José Antonio Abreu: Inspiring
Marin Alsop: Inspiring
The quiet and respectful protest: quiet and respectful

I don't want to get in the middle of the debate about the absence of Ms. Dutta but I do wish that our friends at NPAC had dealt with this situation better.  It is interesting that a quick Google search for "Madhusree Dutta and NPAC" still brings up links to websites of two organizations (actually three) which STILL say she will be attending.  Come on.

I was also able to catch about 15-minutes of "Taking Note" which presented/previewed(?) some of the initial results of the Columbia University survey of composers across the country.  Again, there seemed to be few surprises but it may be better to confirm what we suspect rather than have to re-think what the life of a composer is like these days.  I hope to track down a copy of the presentation so I can see the results first hand and in context.  Apparently 75% of composers network online... I think the only surprise here is that it's not higher.

Then I was off to Nixon in China and Altitude Adjustment (the 35&under party at Orange Cat Studios)...  Both were great and I'm happy to have attended, but for all you kids out there, it's probably better to eat at least once during the day if you are going to attend a three-hour opera and a late-night party... especially if you are also going to drink more at the hotel after.   A little food and a lot of water will help in an evening like that.

This is already a longer post then I intended so I'll be wrapping this up....
Technical problems aside, I was very VERY impressed with the final AmericaSpeaks Town Hall meeting which closed the conference on Saturday morning.  Close to 1500 convention delegates were able to make their voices heard (with instantaneous results) on topics which our industry as a whole has now committed to following through on.  Be looking for the nation wide media frenzy in the not-to-distant future!  Then it was off to the airport in a super-shuttle full of exhausted but vocal delegates, it was kind of like one final caucus meeting before heading home.  This small sampling seemed in agreement that this National Performing Arts Convention was infinitely better then the first attempt in Pittsburgh in 2004 - they also wished that there had been one more day but without changing the content.  They seemed to think NPAC in Denver was great but too much information in too short a time.  We'll see what happens in 2012.

posted by James Holt.

June 15, 2008 6:59 PM | | Comments (0)
June 14, 2008

I'm NPAC-biased, so I'll let others report on today's caucus in detail. I enjoyed it immensely, and will post the results on this blog as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Throughout the convention (most especially at the caucuses), I found myself thinking about something my mother always says: who owns this problem? She would say it in the problem-solving context of everyday life - if you don't own the problem, it's not your job to solve it or stress out about it - but I think it's especially applicable to the convention on two distinct levels:

First, who owns the problem of, say, community building? Is it the artist managers' responsibility to put together interesting cross-genre collaboration projects or is it the artists'? Why isn't it the presenters'? The funders'? The publicists'? Similarly, whose job is it to spark inter-organization collaboration? Who picks up the phone, the local choral society or the local art museum? One thing we discussed at my caucus table today was the problem of educating the educators in the arts; not the music/fine art/drama teachers, but the math/science/history/english teachers. If arts programs are going to be cut, we must incorporate the arts into every academic program we can. So who calls whom? Does someone from the Metropolitan Opera call the New York City Department of Education and offer to teach future teachers about opera? Does the DOE call the Met? Who owns this problem. My mom would say that technically the students own the problem, which is the tragedy of it all.

Second, who owns the problem of what to do with all this AmericaSpeaks caucus information. Will NPAC simply disseminate the results and let organizations and conference attendees do with it what they will?  Then they effectively do not own the problem anymore. My humble, completely biased opinion is that NPAC should seek out a corporate sponsorship to create an interactive, informational website for the performing arts. American Express' PerForum, or something suitably cute. The site would have resources for performing arts organizations and artists  -  step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook page, for example - in addition to a digital bulletin board. For example, someone posts "We're producing Hamlet in Berkeley and worry that our usual audiences won't enjoy its contemporary nature. Suggestions on how to reach out to a new audience without losing our existing one?" Then, other marketing directors (or marketing interns, or actors, or whomever) can post responses based on their experiences. The threads can be archived into Theatre, Marketing, Shakespeare, Hamlet categories, so a library of ideas can be created. The site could also connect people with some of the terrific informational/professional networking sites that are already out there - The Winger, Sequenza21, Great Dance and Violinist.com to name a few - perhaps exposing current readers of these sites to those in different genres, and possibly leading folks to realize similar challenges and successes across art forms?

Organizations could join and create profiles: Name, location, venue size (if applicable), number of employees, operating budget, usual audience, recent projects etc.. This way, a database of organizations could be created, and e mails could be sent out when needs/interests line up; match.com for performing arts collaboration.

So much to do.

posted by Amanda Ameer. 

June 14, 2008 1:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Voting on the future of the performing arts with Eric booth sending us forth to serve.

posted by Michelle Mierz.

June 14, 2008 12:12 PM | | Comments (0)
Today [Friday] was a very different day at NPAC, for me anyway. Yesterday was crammed from 8:00 am until 11:00 pm with discussions, speeches, sessions, and stimulating conversations. Today there seemed to be fewer things going on, and I found myself more inclined to buy books in the exhibit hall -- a LOT of books. After three days at this conference, I have come to the conclusion, as a teacher, that I must work harder to introduce my students to the many ideas and studies about the arts that are being published. Whether the Wallace Foundation, or the NEA, or WolfBrown, or any number of other sources of ideas that contextualize, explain, and reveal the larger issues that permeate our artistic landscape, there are too many opportunities for artists to take control of their artistic lives. Why does the academy focus almost exclusively on "skill development" and leave to chance the development of a worldview, an aesthetic philosophy, a socio-political understanding of the place of the arts, and a sense of the economic life of our nation? By doing so, we disempower artists who find themselves at the mercy of those with a broader perspective. As a result, the art suffers as well as the artist, both of which fail to acquire depth and profundity. It must be changed.

A disturbing controversy arose at today's keynote following the truly inspiring conversations with Jose Antonio Abreu and Germaine Acogny. Both of these brilliant artists illustrate the point that I was trying to make above: they have a strong sense of their art form, its place within the world, and its effects on society and the artist.  They were thoughtful and passionate, and as a result they transformed those who worked with them. After they were finished, and after we had given them an enthusiastic standing ovation, we were offered a performance by the Colorado Children's Chorale Tour Choir, a group of young singers who sang with energy and innocence. As the strains of their rendition of "America, the Beautiful" faded away, an NPAC participant approached the podium as a large number of audience members stood up holding signs that read "Where is Madhusree Dutta?" The woman at the microphone explained that Dutta was supposed to be the third panelist, but she had politely declined to attend when she was told she must edit out two pieces of her introductory film, pieces that condemned George Bush and the Iraq War. The word "censorship" was uttered, and the image of the NEA 4 raised, and a plea for solidarity among artists made. The source of the request for the de-politicizing editing  was left rather vague -- was it American Express, the NPAC organizers, the US government? Whoever it was, and whatever the reason, what is disturbing is the idea that politics cannot be discussed in this setting, and criticism cannot be expressed, and all in the name of what? Of avoiding controversy in order to forge a fragile sense of unity and togetherness among the attendees? It was clear that the person who made the announcement was being careful not to be "incendiary," as if we were all children who were not to be worked up lest we become overwrought and unruly. But what is puzzling is that the political content was unexpected -- how could you look at Dutta's work and not expect political content?

The very basis of this conference is political: Taking Action Together. And so to exclude the political expression of someone who stood as a symbol of taking action together seems lacking in self-reflection, if not hypocritical. If this is where we have come to in this final year of the Bush Administration, where self-censorship is the order of the day, then as artists we should abandon our idea of "taking action together," because we have not thought deeply, have not developed courage, and have not understood our role in society.

Perhaps if I change my approach to teaching and introduce my students to the broad thinking that is this conference at its best, then iat future conferences they will be able to listen without fear to the political, religious, or philosophical expression of those who have strong feelings and commitments without fretting about the effects of controversy. Perhaps then we will have become a mature group of artists who have fully embraced our own power.

Posted by Scott Walters.

June 14, 2008 10:43 AM | | Comments (1)


From what I have heard from several very reliable sources was that the decision was made by the conference organizers themselves (not at the request of any funder--in fact, major funders were surprised to hear that this took place and were equally surprised that artists have censored each other). I believe that Melanie Joseph handled the situation incredibly well. Prior to the session, the moderator and panelists didn't know the situation.

If we can't be trusted with having civic dialogue around an artistic product, how can we work together for change? The conference organizers couldn't have handled the situation in a worse manner. Shame on them. I have the feeling that this isn't going to be the last we hear of this. The Rocky Mountain News picked it up in an article, and I heard rumblings that the New York Times would be covering this incident. And rightfully so...

June 13, 2008

Day 3, and it's the day of Abreu. For the League delegates, getting two
bites of the Maestro is a real privilege. and what is clear from the mood
at both gatherings is the sense of possibility El Sistema offers. You can
feel orchestras swooning at the prospect of a fully-funded youth orchestra
programme, delivering on social objectives as well as musical.

Not surprisingly, Britain too has been swept by El Sistema fever. The
performance by the Simon Bolivar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at
last year's BBC Proms (which just happens to be this month's featured
concert on British Airways' in-flight entertainment) caused a sufficient
stir for even the politicians to take notice. Commitments have been made
to experiment with El Sistema style pilot projects in both England and
Scotland. But what is lacking is long term commitment and money. There is
a fantastic project being piloted on the Raploch estate in Scotland. But
just one year's funding has been committed. El Sistema has taken over 30
years to be integrated into every fabric of Venezuelan society. What do
the politicians and arts mandarins think can be achieved in just one year?

The other development of the day was spending time with my counterpart at
Orchestras Canada, Katherine Carleton, sharing experiences and chewing
over the problems we share. The League is a phenomenal organisation - well
funded, well resourced and capable of delivering on a range of services
for its extensive membership. In contrast, Orchestras Canada, with 48
members, and the Association of British Orchestras, with 65, have limited
capacity in terms of finance and staff. We are proud of what we achieve,
punch above our weight, but look enviously at the infrastructure you have
been able to develop here.

From a small nation to a big one, it's ta ta for now. Nixon in China
beckons - and if the review in this morning's Financial Times is anything
to go by, we are in for a treat.

posted by Mark Pemberton.
June 13, 2008 8:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Sports and the Arts: what are the collaboration possibilities?

Twice this week I've heard sports/arts collaborations mentioned. The first was in the caucus yesterday. A woman from (the board of?) the Altoona Symphony Orchestra told me she had a meeting with Altoona's AA team, the Altoona Curve next week. Then today at the general session, José Antonio Abreu said he was working on a project between El Sistema and Venezuela's sports teams.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 13, 2008 8:30 PM | | Comments (0)
I feel like I've been a bad blogger, having been in Denver for two  
days and only now sitting down to make a quick entry, but that is the  
nature of the beast with these conferences: too much to do, too many  
people to meet with, and not enough time!

While I've been to a couple of sessions so far, most of my time has  
been spent meeting with colleagues from other cities.  The opportunity  
to meet with so many people regarding a wide variety of projects all  
within a few days is, for me, the best reason to attend the Opera  
America conference.  This is not to say that the actual sessions are  
not valuable, but there is only so much that one can take in, so it  
becomes a matter of priorities.

This morning, I attended an excellent session about Board  
Development.  As I run a small company that is, at this stage in our  
development, more of a service organization than a performing company,  
I face some unique challenges in developing my board because we don't  
have a great deal of public programming through which prospective  
donors, board members etc. can get to know us.  A lot of what we do is  
'behind closed doors' - something I realize we need to change, to the  
extent that it is possible without altering our core programs.  The  
session I attended, however, did give me some new ways to think about  
Board Development beyond the typical "go to your current Board or high  
level donors and get them to open their rolodexes."  One of the most  
practical suggestions actually came from a fellow attendee, which was  
to approach the HR officer of major corporations  and not to ask them  
to be on the board, but rather to introduce the company and our  
mission and programs to them, and to let them know that we are  
actively seeking to new Board Members with x specific  
characteristics.  The idea is to encourage them to let any senior  
executives who might have an affinity for our mission know about our  
organization and the potential to play a vital role by serving on the  
board. This sort of strategy is actually very actionable for us, as I  
already have an HR executive on my Board who is well connected to  
other HR executives in the community, and in fact, I have been trying  
to figure out the best way to 'use' her connections.  I left that  
session feeling that I now have a viable plan of attack to discuss  
with this Board member that will not only help ALT, but will get her  
engaged in the company in a way that really uses her skills and  

This afternoon, I attended a session that provided a survey report on  
the Metropolitan Opera's HD movie transmissions.  As there has been so  
much speculation in our field about the potential impact - both  
negative and positive - of these transmissions, I was very curious to  
hear the results.  While the data reported was only a summary (and I  
look forward to receiving the full report when it is available to us  
through Opera America), I was not particularly surprised by the  
results.  The transmissions are not attracting new audiences to opera  
(I believe the figure was less than 2% had never been to an opera  
before), and the ethnic diversity of those attending HD transmissions  
was even LESS than those of audiences in the opera house (a figure I  
suspect may have been skewed by where the sample was taken from, as  
those giving the report could not give any information about the  
demographic statistics of the areas from which the sample group  
came).  The survey was also administered prior to the actual  
transmissions, so qualitative questions about potential effects of  
having experienced the transmission on future attendance could not be  
asked.  All in all, it was interesting to get this information, but I  
hope that in future research, a more extensive set of questions is  
asked to the sample group so that we can learn more actionable  
information as it relates to building participation at live  

Signing off for now... off to see Nixon in China, directed by my  
colleague Jim Robinson... I'm very excited to finally see this  

posted by Lawrence Edelson.

June 13, 2008 8:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Molly Sheridan blogs from the American Music Center booth.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 13, 2008 5:48 PM | | Comments (0)

Margaret Lioi, CEO of Chamber Music America, (wo)mans her booth.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 13, 2008 5:33 PM | | Comments (0)
"Radical Ideas from Beyond the Border"

Marin Aslop
Artists who have aligned art and social benefit
for them, art and activism are the same thing
video on Germaine Acogny - new technology!
working on a duet about love - research what love is, all the possible manifestations of love
transitions from African dance to African contemporary dance
training school for all African dancers
"Mama Germaine"
lots of discussion of "planting seeds" in Africa.
the company/school is 61 years old or she is 61 years old?
standing ovation for Germaine Acogny.

Marin, Germaine, interpretor are on the stage
I think Germaine and I are wearing the same red flats. I think she looks better in them.
the phrase "stylistic styles" was part of the question (really?)
to get into her school, you have to have a really solid grounding in traditional dances so you can be yourself while interacting with people from other places.
"the key expression for me is tradition/innovation"
exchange their traditional techniques so they have a database of work
learning from other cultures while being yourself
traditional African dancing comes from the ground - it's a grounding thing - keep that grounding feeling so they know who they are and can learn from others
I'm very interested in rituals - lay and religious - tradition in Senegal - incense in the fire that releases a wonderful odor that releases into your clothes and everything.
learned the "before dinner drink" ritual from her German husband.
Marin - "we'll be experiencing that tradition later."
when a subject affects me deeply, i want to do something with my art - i want to cry out with my instrument which is my body - i think of my body as my pen
my work evolves over time - the environment changes
"What did you learn from your grandmother?" -Marin
[the woman in front of me is knitting.]
her name means "the mother has returned" (Germaine's, not the knitter's)
"what are your goals for your students as artists and citizens"
my husband and i established this school primarily for African dancers - "sacred forest" where students learned out to be human beings, so this is a modern sacred forest, a school for life and learning
i look at dance as education and communication - we don't just teach dance
making a living from art - pull-out theme from the convention
help artists gain self-confidence and make a difference in the world
"how do these collaborations"..."reflect your view on globalization" (yikes, I hope she had these questions before)
response - i like working with other cultures - "I think of the body as a multi-cultural thing."
you have to be well rooted in your own culture to work with someone from another culture
[i like this interpreter. she's lovely and articulate. what kind of memory must it take to be a translator.]
[who's video-taping this and why can't i have the footage for the NPAC site or the blog?]
i look for differences and similarities - no matter what i did, i remained who i am
i think each of us needs to keep our specific approach - i'm not in favor for globalization for the arts. you end up with a mismatch with no spice to it.
Marin - "what do you hope your legacy will be"
i would like to leave a sense of pride for being African
translator is explaining the two different words for poverty - in Africa, we have the first kind, in Europe, they have the other = "if you're poor in Europe, you're miserable"
i sometimes have feelings of inner violence - the idea is to get rid of those inner feelings of violence, and then it would be a group thing, not depending on a political movement to do it
the role of art is to change people.
no standing at the end, where I think standing was much-deserved.  

José Antonio Abreu
the person who plays in an orchestra - understands playing as a team - where everyone is responsible for others - working together to create beauty.
language of the invisible transmitted through music
music as an agent of social development
solidarity,mutual compassion
proud to witness the transformation of social history in our country
turn the masses into a nation
this is not an artistic development plan with the intention of producing a few concerts
we are beginning a new era where art is an enterprise for the majority by the majority
one must paddle always to the future, that way, the future is already past
rhythm is the internal pulse of the soul
transmitted without words to other human beings
to generate a message and to generate values
what do people feel?
a revelation.
only penetrated by intuition
[this has got to be the most articulate man on the planet.]
art is the only world where we can bring revelation into being.
a country where every town has a choir and orchestra.

[...and down goes the computer to stand up.]

Marin - the Venezuelan musical miracle - how did the idea start, and how have you kept with the same idea for so many years
thanks to the League - that's night - salute Mark Churchill, dean of the New England Conservatory.
answer the question first as a Venezuelan and then as a musician.
i was always worried that artistic education in Venezuela during the 19th and 20th century was not part of the mainstream education of the county
music education was not taken into account because there was not sufficient funds to acquire instruments
the few people that could acquire instruments belonged to an elite
music education itself was a product of the elite
my first objective was to make music education recognized as a main aim of education
the second aim was to direct this musical education to the centers of the population with the fewest resources
in synthesis to bring a strong system of education for social inclusion
central ideal = social inclusion - after 33 years, we still have a lot to do
265,000 youths are part of the system, but we'd like to take this number to one million.
the miracle is the result of our music teachers - most are from humble origin - apostles of music education
music education can produce dignification of a person. is dignification a word. i like it if it is.
material poverty can be overcome by spiritual richness.
once the child is spiritually rich, he's prepared to overcome material poverty.
the system breaks through the system of poverty
more children doing music now in Venezuela than doing sports - and the crowd goes wild!!! all the artsy people who weren't picked for dodgeball.
next year there's going to be an alliance between sports and arts in Venezuela - also incorporate other arts - dance, theater - into the project.
create a network of the arts in the project
[marin's only asked one question and he's still going!]
second question - "Do we need to clone you to achieve this in America? What can we do to move forward?"
The US has enormous potential to develop a program like this
The US has excellent music schools, teachers, availability of instruments - has everything to produce a real musical explosion.
intersect the orchestras' individual initiatives
interconnection in the united states, and then interconnection with the rest of the continent
[why didn't some exhibitor give out NPAC Blistex tubes? my lips are falling off my face.]
diversity is not an obstacle to obtain integration - we must find the mechanism to achieve it.
insistance on musical excellence - a social program that led to musical excellence
everybody speaks Spanish except for me.
"Culture directed toward the poor cannot be poor culture"
Marin - how has this happen - a product of El Sistema is about to become the music director of the LA Philharmonic
brief history of Dudamel - i'm sure this is in his bio
from the LA Phil position, he hopes to do social work
Venezuelan/NEC encounter recently
Denver Youth Orchestra to Venezuela?
talking about the director of the choral program in Denver
Marin - you've embodied the idea of maximizing opportunities. "sempre sempre"

Marin - no excuse not to make this a success.we are obligated to do this.

Oh boy. Children's choir in purple shirts and white pants singing about Colorado and Chevies. That's my cue. 

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 13, 2008 5:14 PM | | Comments (0)
It's Friday afternoon.  There is a NPAC session going
on which I am sadly late for.

Last night was great fun.  TCG held it's reception.
Good food.  Good people.  Free beer!

That night Curious Theater hosted a rockin' party.
Open mike, burritos, and...FREE BEER!!  (I love this

This morning I went to Marty Pottenger's session on
theater as civic dialogue.  Marty is a leader in this
sector and the session was perfect.  Great people and
ideas and lessons we'll take home with us.

More anon.

by Mark Valdez.
June 13, 2008 5:07 PM | | Comments (0)
Have I suddenly become my mom, in that the slightest sentimental moment makes me misty? I'm now back in my hotel room after today's League of American Orchestras luncheon. (I really wish "The League" would give us all capes.) Anyway, it was a lovely tribute to Henry Fogel. He sounds like a true gem.

Meanwhile, I want to sleep and sleep HARD. Being 3 places at once for fear of missing something has worn me out. And the dry air has me sounding like a pack-a-day-for-30-years smoker.

This morning I went to the Music Critics Association panel "Not So Much Fun with Critics." There was a rare sighting of the breed known as Jim Oestrich, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear his perspective. Mainly the panel addressed the role of the critic: Cheerleader? Aggregator? Taste-maker/breaker? Reporter? Investigator? Teacher? Between Susan Elliott, Bryan Miller, The Oestrich, Mary Lou Falcone,  Jessica Lustig, and Fred Bronstein, the opinions differed. Nothing was solved, just examined.

posted by Sarah Baird.
June 13, 2008 5:03 PM | | Comments (0)
View from the Thursday night TCG party.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 13, 2008 3:24 PM | | Comments (0)
To revisit my earlier post in regards to the 56 options for a 3 hour slot of time:
> I walked out of my first choice session after 20 minutes (along with 15 or so other attendees) because their session description promised out of the box and new earned revenue ideas, then I was presented with 'success' stories of merchandising, summer camps, renting rehearsal space, and selling DVD's. I've only been in the field for 5 years, but I've seen all that before and I didn't fly to Denver to revisit old ideas. I felt really bad for the volume of people walking out on the consulting firm, but c'est la vie.
> As I was planning my escape from old school revenue, and looking through the other options in the catalogue, I saw a truly interesting option: How to make your arts org environmentally friendly. I realized that running a dance company in Prius covered Los Angeles, and already doing a lot in my personal life to reduce my carbon footprint, it made logical sense to take those values into my company. And my audience members and audience would really jump on board! Directors from Shotgun and Berkeley Rep in California shared their success stories of solar panels, paperless audition processes, and many other fresh ideas that I can implement tomorrow, even in my small organization. Things I can do tomorrow? That's exactly what I'm looking for from this convention.
For more ideas visit: http://berkeleyrep.org/about/greenroom.asp or http://wolftrap.org/Learn_About_Wolf_Trap/Go_Green_with_Wolf_Trap.aspx

posted by Michelle Mierz.

June 13, 2008 12:19 PM | | Comments (0)
Thursday was a busy day, a day of revelations and recognition.  Every contact was productive and meaningful.  Insight was nurtured; revelations educated us all, and caused many to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in our policies and practices.

The morning caucus was, once again, a lot like playing "Telephone".  What ultimately comes out at the end of the process will be a product of the process.  Whether it will be a direct reflection of what went into the process is something that remains to be seen.

Our conversations reminded me of the old adage, "when you consider changing someone else, remember how difficult it is to change yourself." Expand that to "when you consider something to do, just remember how difficult it is to decide on something."  Now scale that to "how do you get eight people to do something together?"  And, now, "how do you get a community to do something together?" Pretty tough.

The highlight of my week was Jim Collins address at the General Session entitled, "From Good to Great and the Social Sector".  Dr. Collins' knowledge is developed from studies of the contrasts between and among "good" organizations and "great" organizations, and identifies what differentiates the good from the great organizations.  The results are voluminous, and suggest powerful, insightful, feasible, justified, and successful concepts to embrace as we develop our NPAC Vision.

Here are some of the main gems I took from Dr. Collins' address:
-America cannot be a great nation without great performance art;
-Greatness is not a function of circumstance; it is a function of disciplined choices, decisions and actions;
-A culture of discipline in thought and action takes a long time to build;
-The fall from greatness is often a result of the undisciplined pursuit of more, too much, too fast;
-What you do should focus on that which is in your control to fix;
-Disciplined people, thoughts, and actions, are a product of a great leader, getting great people into the process and wrong people out of the process, who can adapt to whatever hits you (it's not the plan, it is the people);
-Great leaders are humble, with overwhelming ambition for a cause, work, art, but not "self", to succeed in the mission;
-The arts are a legislative community with diffuse power management, and we must create the conditions for right decisions to be made by legislation among power managers;
-Greatness requires RIGHT decisions, NOT CONSENSUS decisions, that are executed properly;
-Money is not the definition of success in the Arts; we must define success and its measurement;
-Minimize what is out of our control, and take action;
-Strategically fire bullets of funds until you hit the target, then fire cannonballs;
-Understand and hold to your values and reason-for-being regardless of times;
-Understand the differences between practices (traditions) and values (core values);
-Focus and Discipline will prevail over forces and circumstances;
-WE are on an adventure together.

I was moved.  I found new practices to embrace, and I found reinforcement for very difficult decisions I have made in the past.  I hope to move from good to great, and hope we will all move to greatness together.

Based upon my NPAC experiences thus far, my observation is that our our community will be brought together by circumstances around us, the environment we will attempt to survive in, and that hopefully we will retain our identities and goals as we adapt.  

My analogy was that of "Gumbo"...

My trick when making gumbo is to use the best of ingredients (sausage, chicken, green pepper, onion, celery, individual spices, etc.).  The gumbo is cooked for a while, all ingredients simmering together in a boiling environment; but flavors are not yet combined despite their marvelous individual flavors.  Then, I stop cooking for a few hours, changing the environment, delivering a sudden cooling off period.  Then I suddenly heat it up again.  Amazingly, after the cooling off and sudden reheat, the flavors have all combined into an amazing, unified, incredibly satisfying "GUMBO" that engages and delights the audience.  

We, the performing arts community, are a gumbo.  We've simmered for decades, flavors unmelded, and now we are suddenly forced to cool, to change, to adapt.  Now we must come together, blend, and become a GUMBO of the arts.  We will nourish our communities with delight, enrich our world, together.

Definitely, not everyone is feeling the same pressure from environmental changes.  Our measurement systems are so different in many facets of our community.  Some of us are in survival mode, while others never have to worry.  We are not on level playing fields, but, perhaps we can all focus on a loftier goal, "National Performing Arts", and buy-in to a broad, deep, communal goal to nurture all the arts at all levels, from aspiration to inspiration, from education to maturity, from fringe to mainstream, to National Greatness.

posted by MOJO.
June 13, 2008 12:18 PM | | Comments (0)
I was able to sneak away from my registration area just long enough to catch about the middle 30-minutes of the break-out session called "Adventurous Programing" which was moderated by Ed Harsh of Meet the Composer  and included Jennifer Higdon as one of the four panelists.  The most encouraging thing that was talked about was new and interesting ways to commission new works.  Over the years organizations such as Bang on a Can  and Wind Ensembles from across the country (if you allow me to lump all of them together) have created interesting and powerful models for commissioning.  Bang of a Can is now known for what it calls the "Peoples Commissioning Fund" in which anyone can donate any amount and will go directly to funding the creation of three new works for their "All-Stars" ensemble.  Wind Ensembles (largely found in Universities) have for many years found the power of coming together as a consortium (perhaps a dozen or more) who will pool their funds for a new piece which each group will in turn perform at least once.
During the breakout session on Adventurous Programing it was encouraging to hear that these two commissioning models (and others) are becoming more and more common among orchestral, choral and opera organizations.  Jennifer talked at length about her experiences as resident-composer in organizations of all sizes in all parts of the country and how asking a community to come together and invest in something new for THEM can bring more to a premier then simply: composer writes new piece, orchestra rehearses/performs new piece, composer comes on stage and bows, composer goes home. 
I hope that these ideas continue to spread through the orchestral world as the successes continue to be noted as well in dance, opera, theater, and on and on.
Today - more time at my registration table but also the general session with José Antonio Abreu  and tonight Nixon in China.
posted by James Holt.
June 13, 2008 11:13 AM | | Comments (0)
I just got news this morning from Susan Butler, former Billboard writer on the publishing beat.

Remember my last post about creative solutions to the changing/diminishing gigs for critics? How about launch a digest or webzine with exclusive content and charge your contacts for a subscription?

From the press release: "Today is my last day with Billboard; I resigned two weeks ago. Next week I will launch MusicConfidential.biz, a weekly digital magazine with my coverage of international music business news and my analysis of that news -- including my columns, which many of you have read in Billboard. ...

MusicConfidential.biz will be all original reporting based on information confirmed by expert, qualified sources -- no wire service news, no stories
based simply on other media reports, no blog reports and no gossip from
new-hires. You won't find this type of coverage anywhere else."

She's offering her contacts a free trial this month, after which the subscription fee will be $100 per person per year. Hey, a journalist's gotta eat. Good for her.

posted by Sarah Baird.
June 13, 2008 11:11 AM | | Comments (0)
I've been hearing a lot, in my meetings with concert presenters, about what projects and artists would and wouldn't work for them based on what they know about their audiences.  This is obviously very important, as I certainly want my projects and artists to succeed wherever they go, and I have no prayer of actually understanding all of the wildly different markets across the country at the same time, like some kind of Patrick Stewart X-Man of audience response.  But I do sometimes wonder if, through no direct fault of the various decision-making components that choose concert programming (artistic administrators in conjunction with music directors, executive directors, marketing departments, etc), this sense of what an audience will respond to becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy based on conception rather than actual content.  Believe me, I know orchestra marketing departments have a seriously tough job that many of them do fantastically-- but it worries me to hear that sometimes orchestra administrations are having to basically negotiate the Treaty of Versailles to program even rep that's vaguely on the fringe of the core, let alone new music.  Much has been said and will continue to be said about this, but as it is very late at night, I will paraphrase for now just one thing that came in part out of the Adventurous Programming panel this afternoon and relates specifically to new music: the admittedly important we-know-our-audience power is only effective when it is wielded as a response to actual music, rather than to the idea of a piece of music.  To say "our audiences hate new music" is patently ridiculous, since there is no actual musical notion that could remotely cover the humongous range of music that's being written or has been written in the last, say, even 30 years-- what they may hate is some aspect of the concept of new music.  If an audience legitimately hated a piece of new music that was programmed and the music director was flooded with hate mail, fine-- certainly no one likes everything, and no one wants to spend lots of money on a ticket for something they hate.  But I think the response to that should be not to say that we tried and failed on the new music front, but instead to address the actual musical response and program another piece of new music that is completely different, and certainly there are limitless choices, no matter what the starting point might be.  "New Music" is not a style or a format in itself; it's a realm of programming that happens to be exciting and essential.  To insist that whole swaths of people in a certain market hate new music seems to me like insisting that everyone in Kansas City hates paperback books or that everyone in Chicago hates food served on white plates.  I know it's not simple, but I would hope that framing the discussion around programming content rather than programming concept would allow non-core programming to become a valued and unquestioned part of every market's season (and several of the panel participants today have successfully done so), which will make the discussion of what each market's audience is looking for much more valuable and relevant to everyone involved in providing that content.

posted by James Egelhofer.
June 13, 2008 4:33 AM | | Comments (1)


Actually, everyone in Chicago does hate food served on white plates. Crate & Barrel has had to entirely revamp their approach to the Chicago market because of this geographical quirk.

What a day!

It started with a great discussion of Mike Daisey's outstanding "How Theatre Failed America." Daisey has raised important issues, and I was glad to hear him willing to stand up for actors. I became angry about a comment one attendee made that implied -- no, that actually stated -- that it reflected a sense of entitlement to insist that theatre artists be allowed to lead a reasonably stable life. In my opinion, the idea that "nobody asked you to go into the theatre, and so don't expect anything but the most marginal existence" is destructive, and resembles the same words used against coal miners and auto workers when they would go on strike for better pay or working conditions. To commit your life to theatre does not involve a vow of poverty, to my knowledge, and to regard it as entitlement to expect a living wage devalues artists.
Caucus today was fascinating, especially considering I was the only theatre person at the table. It was interesting to hear members of other art forms talk about the way things work there. We decided our number one priority was health insurance and a living wage for artists -- no doubt reflecting our sense of entitlement.

Collins' keynote was dynamic and thought provoking, if a wee bit emotionally manipulative. I will get a copy of the book, however.

The session on increasing arts participation in rural areas was fantastic: passionate, creative, and committed. I came way feeling a deepened sense of commitment to geographic diversity and respect for members of small communities. I think the point that was made that large metropolises are really not a massive whole but a series of small, disconnected neighborhoods just like small towns on the plains of Montana was astute.

Today, I am certain this is the best conference I've attended. Now it's midnight -- I must sleep!

posted by Scott Walters.
June 13, 2008 4:32 AM | | Comments (0)
Today I attended two panels on blogging; one with the Music Critics Association of North America and the other with NPAC. Plus another panel on "Fun with Music Critics" which touched on the replacement of music critics with bloggers. It was nice to hear so many perceptive perspectives on blogging. And I learned quite a bit in terms of statistics and business models from Doug McLennan of artsjournal.com (which you're currently reading).

But I'm kind of over the whole discussion when it comes to newspapers. I mean, OK, so the newspaper model is decreasing in importance as sites like craigslist.org and blogs replace demand for printed publications. What next? There was life before newspapers as the primary form of mass communication. There will be life after it.

I would rather discuss these questions:

1. What forms of media can we use and what business models can we create in order to communicate intelligently and effectively about art in our communities?

2. What jobs can we generate for those arts critics currently losing their jobs? Or, what can a person with a background in musicology, a clear writing voice, and a sharp ear do with their time in order to make a living?

posted by Sarah Baird.

June 13, 2008 4:30 AM | | Comments (4)


I'm one of the MCANA members who writes as a freelancer for various publications and has a blog (called Northwest Reverb). I agree with Sarah's commentary. It should be noted that some of the critics who have been given a blog within that paper's web site are not allowed to have a competing blog anywhere else on the web. However, newspapers could easily accommodate other bloggers as strings/sub-bloggers and help to establish a community of bloggers. The newspapers could set up the free tickets and pay some minimal fee to these critic-bloggers, and they would help to reestablish that paper as the focal point of arts news for that city. I mentioned this idea to the newspaper critics and they thought that it was a good one - but one that no newspaper would embrace. So, there. Everything stops cold - at least with the current newspaper business model.


Much thanks for the overview of the blogging sessions!!

Hi Doug,

Here are some notes (poetry) on the blogging sessions.

The Music Critics Association panel was geared toward critics, obviously, some who have vibrant blogs and others who are bewildered by the concept of the internet. From this I learned that there are over 300,000 arts blogs currently in existence and that a site called technoratti monitors this stuff. I also learned that newspaper readership has actually increased but that readers have flocked online, leaving the physical paper behind. Critics were strongly encouraged to create their own blogs for personal branding -- whether they are free-lancers who need a localized site to use as a spine or whether they are to blog for their current employer/newspaper. Then there was some nuts and bolts discussion on how to set up a blog.

The NPAC panel addressed issues of responsibility and conflict in blogging. Bloggers from various disciplines discussed the etiquette and trends that have evolved. For example, frequency of posting (setting up expectations for your readers and remaining consistent). Walking the line between offering a candid, insider's view and respecting the privacy of your colleagues. If it's a group blog, whether or not to have a moderator who keeps the talk back on track (or, if it's a personal blog, whether or not to approve comments for posting).

The "Fun with Critics" NPAC panel turned to blogging insomuch as some panelists believed that blogs will replace newspaper critics in 3-5 years. My opinions were in line with those of Marc Shulgold of the Rocky Mountain News, who said that art/music continues to thrive and always will. And he believes that as long as art continues to thrive there will be a demand and wealth of discourse. He was less concerned with the medium than the flourishing arts world. Still, though, the conversation wallowed in "arts coverage is decreasing. All we can do is wait and see what happens to all of us."

And that's when I lost patience. Why so passive? Why so fixated on the current business models and the plot of land you've inherited? Why do we act as if the music industry happens TO us? Why do we think the only solution is to wait and see what happens? Are we not the very people who currently constitute the music business? Are we not the decision makers, the rain makers, and the taste makers? THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THINK CREATIVELY. IF THE OUTLET FOR YOUR WORK IS COLLAPSING THEN CREATE A NEW OUTLET.


All right. I'm finished now. I hope that helps you feel like you were here. :)


I couldn't make it to conference. I'm very interested in focus of blogging sessions.

Are you saying too much time was devoted to decline of newspapers? What other topics and opinions were shared?

Were new/emerging business models were shared for how artists and arts organization can use social media and the Internet in general? What recommendations were made?


Thursday began with breakfast provided by Dance/USA, the service organization under which I've registered for NPAC. The Dance/USA Honors dinner last night honored not only Rena Shagan, but also still-dancing-at-94 Freddie Franklin and former New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff. As sometimes happens at these conferences, I found myself across the breakfast table from Ms. Kisselgoff this morning, who was talking about the state of dance criticism in the city (dismal) and about her feeling at being honored (delighted).

Running off to the second caucus, I mentally prepared for more facilitation. My six tablemates at the caucus session provided some interesting food for thought about the changing face of America, and how each culture that comprises this new America brings with it integral songs, dances and handicrafts that are inherent to their daily life. The idea surfaced that this influence will hopefully promote arts participation throughout our nation.

The evening's agenda was the Mile-High Dance Showcase at the Newman Theatre on the campus of the University of Denver. BIG props to the showcase selection committee for a truly fantastic array of dance artists. The evening opened with a technologically-fueled solo work by the Australian company Chunky Move. The showcase artists included Paradigm Dance Company, featuring the positively riveting dance legend Carmen DeLavallade. I found it impossible to take my eyes off of this dancer who exudes grace and dignity, even now. I was not familiar with the 3rd Law Dance/Theater Company, but they delighted the audience with a funny, clever take on "musical chairs", made especially quirky by the fact that the music was provided by balalaikas. The Brian Brooks Moving Company evoked an Esther Williams swim spectacular, continuing the lighthearted mood. Battleworks Dance Company presented a solo piece in which the dancer literally became the physical embodiment of the great Ella Fitzgerald's scatting. Incredible!

Then the time difference got to me, and I turned into a pumpkin. Goodnight!

posted by Amy Dupain Vashaw.

June 13, 2008 4:28 AM | | Comments (0)
June 12, 2008

It's day 2 of the conference, and my jet-lag is (hurrah) beginning to wear

But first, a comment on last night's festivities. What an extraordinary,
and slightly bizarre, pre-concert party that was. A real melee of arts
folk. Actually, what is the word for a collection of arts managers?
Suggestions on a postcard, please.

The concert proved the quality of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. It also
led me to think about the position of composers in the UK. The Corigliano
piano concerto may not be to everyone's taste, but at least American
orchestras are prepared to programme difficult, and lengthy, contemporary
works. In the UK we are trapped in what I would call 'premiere syndrome'.
Our Arts Councils want our orchestras to justify their public funding
through the commissioning of new works. This has led to a succession of
new short works (usually no more than 10 minutes length) smuggled into
more traditional repertoire so as not to frighten off the audience. The
problem is, these works are rarely played again. Composers earn a meagre
living by lurching from commission to commission. And by only daring to
commission short works, we are failing to develop the symphonic
repertoire. A fact I was bemoaning with Sarah Osborne of Schotts at the
fabulous IAMA lunch party in the ArtTown. Do make sure you visit their
stand - they have comfy chairs!

So what of today's sessions? Well, another punishing 8am start, but the
presentation of the research into first-timer ticket sales by Oliver Wyman
was fascinating. I think the findings are very relevant to British
orchestras and will follow developments of trials by American orchestras

I was unable to attend yesterday's Caucus, so made sure I joined in this
morning. I think my international perspective proved useful to the others
on my table, and was delighted to meet Margaret Martin of the Harmony
Project, who is a bit of a star in the UK following her ill-fated West End
production of Gone With the Wind. Her passion for and advocacy of arts in
education shone through and is an inspiration for all. I made one gaffe -
an example of Churchill's comment that we are two nations divided by a
common language. In response to a question from someone on my table from
the Dance community as to what he should see when he is London next month,
I recommended the Royal Ballet but stressed that quite a few dancers are
injured as it's the "fag-end of the season". A look of horror and
bafflement crossed the faces of everyone on the table - at which point it
dawned on me that they would not know that in England a "fag" is a

Which reminds me of one of the more embarrassing moments in my life. Back
in 1987, when I was young, frivolous, and a smoker, I went to visit a
friend of mine who had moved to New York. One night we went to a literary
party in honour of E.L. Doctorow, where I helped myself to too much free
booze. We then went on to see the incomparable Bobby Short at the Carlyle
Hotel, and after more drinks, by which time I was frankly pretty tipsy, I
ran out of cigarettes. At which point I lurched out into the hotel, went
up to two young men on reception and asked in a loud voice, "Excuse me,
can you tell me where I can find some fags?" Thankfully, they had had
enough experience of drunk young Brits to steer me towards the nearest
cigarette machine.

Anyway, back to the conference. I'd been looking forward to the Jim
Collins speech. And my reaction? One of slight disappointment, actually.
Yes, he is undoubtedly a charismatic speaker. But it had been billed as
"why business thinking is not the answer". But, er, he appeared to say the
exact opposite. That the "culture of discipline" (which could be
misinterpreted by S&M fetishists) is applicable to the social and arts
sector as much as business. By the end, I'm afraid, as he began his homily
on great moments in his appreciation of the arts, he'd lost me, and lunch
became an enticing prospect.

After lunch I thought the Futurist session looked interesting. Well, I'm
not sure it told me anything I didn't know already, but it helped clarify
contemporary trends. Still not quite sure how this brave new world will
impact on performing arts organisations. Will the reaction to IT overload
be a craving for the live, collective experience? Let's hope so;
otherwise, we're in trouble. I have seen the future, and it hurts.

And now it's back to the hotel and I'm delighted to find I can get the
football (or soccer, as you call it) on the hotel TV and am able to catch
up with the European Championship. What a shock - Germany beaten 2-1 by
Croatia. How wonderful to see the triumph of the underdog.

By the way, why do you call American Football "football", when it involves
throwing the ball? Where do the feet come into it? I'm prepared to be

by Mark Pemberton.
June 12, 2008 9:35 PM | | Comments (0)
I'm happy to report that we're not the only blog act in town. Read more on the convention here:

Sarah Bryan Miller at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Frank Oteri at NewMusicBox.
Molly Sheridan at Mind the Gap.
Brian Dickie here.
Andrew Taylor at The Artful Manager.
AJ Hernandez at The Denver Post.
Brad Stephenson here.

posted by Amanda Ameer.

June 12, 2008 6:44 PM | | Comments (0)
It's the second full day and already my brain is so

A quick recap from yesterday:

1. Kwame Kwei-Armah spoke at a TCG Plenary.  He was
great!  So eloquent and passionate.  He challenged us
to think about the global impact of our work and
invited us to look abroad, to break out of an
isolationist mentality.  It was great.

2. Bill Rauch is the greatest rock star in American
Theater.  He's gracious and giving and caring and
committed...I can go on.  He's efforts in Ashland,
Oregon to bring in the Latino community are
great--he's turing the "public green" in a plaza, with
bi-lingual performances.  And this is in Ashland!!  

3. Mike Daisey's performance was great.  It inspired
lots of conversation.  Which takes me to today:

Thursday 8am I was on a response panel with Diane
Rodriguez, Victor Maog, Scott Turner, Mike and his
wife, moderated by James Bundy.  I was a little
surprised that no one questioned the premise that
theater has failed America nor was there protest of
his criticisms/observations as to why it failed
America.  Still, there the session was appropriately
heated and the discussion was good.

On to hear Jim Collins speak.  Very insightful.  Makes
me want to read his book "From Good to Great."

Lunch with some colleagues

Had to bail on the first round of sessions--my brain
needs a rest.

On my way back.

Wish you were here!

posted by Mark Valdez.
June 12, 2008 6:24 PM | | Comments (0)
There is a beautiful link between the arts and science.  Jim Collins didn't explicitly speak about this but reminded me of it.  Perhaps we often forget that the most important advancements in the arts happen through a rigorous, diligent, empirical, scientific investigation and the most important advancements in the sciences happen through creative, imaginative, artistic moments. 

posted by Zack Winokur.

June 12, 2008 4:24 PM | | Comments (2)


Not a new book but a great book on the connection between art and breakthroughs in science is the book Art and Physics by Leonard Shlain.


I couldn't agree with you more about link between arts and science. It's something I continue to look for more examples of.

One of the main focuses of my Kinetic Interface blog is to explore this connection as it relates to dance and science.

Here are few recent posts related to this intersection:

- Wayne McGregor's Random Dance Explores Cognition and Artificial Intelligence

- Armitage Gone! Dance to Explore "The Elegant Universe" at the Guggenheim: I write preview of this performance that grapples with theoretical physics. The actual performance was a pleasure to see.

- Dance Helps Improve Movement and Balance of People with Parkinson's Disease - I attended the PD dance class at Mark Morris in Brooklyn 2 weeks ago. It was fun dance class that merged ballet, jazz and modern.

If you come across programs at conference that cover links between art and science, please blog about them.

Enjoy the conference!

My name is Zack Winokur.  I'm a delegate from The Juilliard School in New York.  I'm a dancer.  

It has been a curious experience, this first day at NPAC, or as someone aptly renamed it at breakfast this morning NPAniC.  Thrilling to navigate the hallways where it seems much of our world has gathered.  The first days climax for me is the caucus.  We are asked to accomplish a herculean task in an insanely compressed amount of time.  This pressured environment is a battlefield, but in a way remarkably poetic.  I facilitated a table.  The situation was odd for many reasons.  First, it was an empowering experience for me and perhaps strange (one person scoffed upon seeing my red facilitator ribbon) for those sitting at my table that I, at 19, would be facilitating a conversation with 9 other people at least 10 years older than me about the future of arts in America.  And this age gap far from went away. But thankfully it became an important facet of the discussion that unfolded: not only interdisciplinary, but intergenerational.  What i found truly odd, however, was how the conversation, the caucus (the focus of the convention) is so far removed from the practice of art making.    In fact, for me, as a young artist, this whole convention, in a fascinating way, is characterized by absence.  The absence of young people, absence of a majority of artists, absence of time, absence of visual artists, absence of owners of alternative performance spaces (gallerists, for example).  Of course, if this convention included all those absent, it would be an entirely new, entirely different convention.  It is not the point of this convention.

posted by Zack Winokur.
June 12, 2008 4:20 PM | | Comments (0)
First a quick introduction...
In my life in New York I spend (hopefully) about 50% of my time working at the League of American Orchestras in Membership and Marketing and the other 50% of my time as a composer and trying to promote myself as a composer.  During my time at National Performing Arts Convention this week I have been 100% part of the NPAC staff faithfully overseeing the registrations of those with last names ending in T-Z.  From the registration desk all I have to report is my favorite quote from someone trying to find their materials, "...Oh, I see, I didn't understand how the alphabet was working." I Love It!
I was however able to catch most of the Jim Collins Session which ended moments ago.  I found it to be really inspiring (although often verging on sap for my taste) - in particular it was nice to hear him talk about things which I suspect re-enforce our individual thoughts about the business of arts across the boards.  I was fortunate to have a wonderful teacher and mentor and friend in college who said, "you don't define yourself by what you do, you define yourself by what you don't do," I think that saying you won't do something, or don't believe something is more powerful than just saying yes to everything.  Collins touched on this nicely when he talked about the "Things NOT to-do-list." 
I'm due back at my post at NPAC registration, and will likely be there for most of the day, but I hope to catch at least pieces of the breakout sessions this afternoon.  Either way I'll try to get more of my reactions up here as soon as I can.
posted by James Holt.
June 12, 2008 4:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Honestly, I knew the name and that he was of legend-status in the ballet world, but this 93 year old man rocked my soul last night at the Dance/USA Honors Dinner! At each major Dance/USA gathering, they host an Honors Celebration Dinner where 2-3 awards are given to individuals in the dance field who are either 'behind the scenes,' creating the work, or serving the entire field in a huge way. Among the honorees were Anna Kisselgoff, former NY Times dance critic, Rena Shagan, who helped found Dance/USA, and a bubbly 93 year old ballet dancer Frederic Franklin.
Freddie is turning 94 tomorrow and still performing with ABT, yes, performing ballet at 94! Beyond that, his generous nature and love of the craft of dance left not a dry eye in the ballroom at the Denver Sheraton. My business partner, LACDC Artistic Director Kate Hutter, put it best "This is why we dance." It's so true that we that get lost, especially at these conventions, in the nuts and bolts of "operating" and "sustaining" the arts. It was terrific to stop, just for a moment, in a small ballroom at a jampacked convention and reconnect to why we do what we do.
Thank you Dance/USA and Freddie for an unforgettable evening.
Freddie's bio.

posted by Michelle Mierz.
June 12, 2008 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Two conference attendees wearing NPAC green.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 12, 2008 2:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Recently appointed Director of Career Development at The Colburn School (and my former boss) Edna Landau uses the "Cyber Cafe".

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 12, 2008 2:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Blog "advertisting" "campaign".

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 12, 2008 1:58 PM | | Comments (0)
The blue bear!

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 12, 2008 1:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Hey, Y'all!

Here I sit, preparing my first blog.  In fair warning, you will be reading a stream of consciousness.

mojo_angel_head.gifI come to NPAC with no pre-set expectations.  Unmet expectations can be the biggest disappointments in life, and I am hoping to be enriched and thrilled by the NPAC experience... not expecting, but hoping.

I'm an artist, a professional musician and entertainer for 44 of my 55 years.  I run my own companies (management, booking, production, recording, etc.) to provide the business infrastructure that supports my artistic expression.  I'm in the music business; it's 99% business and 1% music.  

I must succeed in all these aspects of my career to feed my family.  I must understand, collaborate with, and mutually serve my family, my colleagues, my clients, my ideals.  The entire supply chain is in my creative world.  We all work together to enrich lives and make the world a better place by making people happy.

I am participating on a scholarship provided by APAP.  I'm honored, pleased and ready to rock and roll in the community building process known as NPAC.  So, here we go....

My first day, Wednesday, was a mix of new and old.  I saw many of my friends and colleagues (I am lucky that they are one and the same).  I met many new friends.  The day was well spent.

My first experience was the market/village.  Here I was able to take care of some business (a team effort to do some spot tours in Canada), and attempt to connect with some organizations I've never been able to gain access to.  We'll see if I can break into their communities by Saturday.

Our opening session was inspiring.  There were some wonderful messages expressed that, hopefully, will be realized.

Rather than speak of people, I will speak of ideas.  There were many great ideas expressed in the opening session.

Public Art in the community, as an institution of its own, is a powerful notion.  I was impressed by a call for us all to rethink the "Perception" of what an Arts Institution is.

The pursuit of Grace and Kindness, successfully implemented through an interactive building of art through community and community through art was demonstrated.  Multiple generations of a single family, among many families, to create art as a community impressed me.  I had not previously thought of things this way, but this is a foundation of my own culture and experience, and I see the power of the artistic process building family, community, and these groups creating art for today and for tomorrow.

I heard the call to integrate cross-cultural art works, and can steal that idea to include opening acts from other cultural expressions, and thereby enrich the audiences that we get to share with.

Art is world altering, and I embraced the concept that communities to nations can come together through art.  I've lived this in personal experience, performing across cultures, and in other countries.  I will now embrace and act consciously upon this paradigm.

From our speakers ideas, I see new opportunities to enrich and expand our outreach.  I loved the concept of musicians and artists as Ambassadors to our young people... the musician or artist Ambassador in the lunchroom is a phenomenal idea, and I plan to implement it as part of our arts outreach to children.

Shared resources, such as medical care or legal services, is a great idea that I have seen implemented in many different organizations. Rarely have I seen true partnerships, but I would welcome such resources.  

Our first Caucus gave me mixed emotions.  I met some very interesting new friends/colleagues.  I encourage everyone to to let go of their agendas, their personal business objectives, and their need to "get their stuff out".  Strategic thinking is going to be extremely important for the NPAC caucus process; tactical, personal objectives can follow later.

The first Caucus process kinda felt like playing "Telephone" when we were kids.  I am concerned about the end result being a reflection of our expressions.  That's my major impression from my first caucus experience.

Regardless of the end result, some powerful concepts emerged in our discussions.  We truly need to understand and communicate each others' "success measurement" systems.  Presenters, Artists, Agents, Producers, Audiences, Suppliers, all have different measurement systems for success.  If we learn about each others' needs we can be more sensitive and successful ourselves as a group.  We've always worked with the "Everybody must Win!" concept in our project.  Understanding each other is the key.

And now a word about "stealing".  I openly encourage people to steal anything I do if they see value in it.  Steal ideas, steal techniques, steal tricks of the trade.  Anything you steal and use will make my Art live forever.  Let's all steal from each other, and build an Art legacy that will outlive us all.

Throughout the opening session I kept hearing the voice of my late friend, Dr. Isaac Asimov (author of hundreds of sci-fi books, including "I Robot").  We once shared a cocktail discussion of robots in the arts (robot composers, painters, etc.).  Dr. Asimov said something profound; he said, "Robots will never capture the human essence.  Art is the human essence."

Dr. Asimov was right.  Let us capture the human essence, and together share it with the world.

posted by MOJO.
June 12, 2008 12:07 PM | | Comments (1)


"Anything you steal and use will make my Art live forever."
To contribute 2 anonymous phrases to a lullaby that soothes generations yet unborn is priceless--a life well lived.

Just spent an hour (starting at 8am!  but we're theatre people!) at a TCG roundtable on New Work Development.  Maybe 40 people in the room?  We probably could've kept going all day. 

posted by Jaime Green.
June 12, 2008 12:04 PM | | Comments (0)
My flight arrived too late to attend the plenary or the caucus, but I made it to the reception, where I found thousands of stylish, intelligent, and articulate arts types. Since I really didn't know anyone, I found myself constructing hypotheses about the people involved in the different art forms and testing them out. Here is one that seemed to hold true much of the time: if they were wearing a dark suit with matching pants and a white shirt, they were likely with the Orchestra or the Opera organizations (this was definitely true if, in addition, the men had dramatic, Beethoven hair); theatre people, on the other hand, were more...eclectically dressed with brighter colors and more mix and match. All bets were off if they were from Europe.

Had a great conversation about community-based theatre with Robert, who will be doing an Augusto Boal -inspired cooking show at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Check him out at merococinero.com

Posted by Scott Walters.
June 12, 2008 11:03 AM | | Comments (0)
I was thinking about Target tonight. Who does their PR? I'd like to sit at their feet for a while. As great as it is to meet my fellow arts PR folks for the first time ("OMG -- you're Jo LaBrecque!?!?! We've been e-mailing since I worked at ______ in 2004!") I think we'd all do well to make frequent visits outside of The Arts (TM) community to learn from successful businesses elsewhere.

(As I write this I have Target's "Good Buy" ad campaign looping through my head:
Hello, hello!"). Tonight Target sponsored the opening night cocktail party, complete with food, beverages, and trapeze artists. (What?? That guy's climbing up a purple ribbon? That's amazing!) I don't know how active Target has been in communities across the U.S. but I know that they sponsor free Fridays at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan. It was at a Target Free Friday that I met my husband on a cold January day, by the way. (Um...thank you, Target?)

Contrast Target's image with that of Wal-Mart, for example. Wal-Mart has been blocked from NYC completely. How did Target get in? Strategic sponsorships and community development? I've often wondered. Their image is certainly a healthy one. Shop at Target.  Live a meaningful life with lots of friends and happy families. Do good. Save money. Go see modern art in New York City. Have extremely white teeth. Climb up flowing lavender ribbons. WEE.

Speaking of branding, did anyone other than Mark Pemberton go to the branding panel this morning? I wanted to go so badly but I couldn't understand why it cost another $165 to attend the super secret closed session. What did my conference registration pay for if not to attend relevant, informative panels?

The same goes for "Putting Your Best Story Forward" with Mary Lou Falcone. I was dying to attend that session but the budget wasn't there. Does anyone have CliffsNotes? Trade you a bourbon and apple juice for a photocopy of them! Or perhaps a brain dump over said bourbon and apple juice?

<<sigh>> I guess, even if a) I had been able to shell out the extra cash and b) the session times had been disclosed to the laypeople, I still would have had c) a P.I.T.A. technology problem to deal with back at my booth. IT is great. Except for when it isn't.

posted by Sarah Baird, reporting live, dehydrated, and barefoot from her Eee PC. Thank you, Opera America, for margaritas.

June 12, 2008 4:08 AM | | Comments (0)
The random friend-making today has been inspiring.  This morning, going from the big TCG sessions to the even bigger NPAC opening session, I felt rather thoughtful and in-my-head.  Lots of folks are here with other people from their institutions, and lots of people know lots of other people.  It's not like I didn't, on the first night, run into a playwright I worked with on The 24 Hour Plays and the director who helmed the single weirdest play I ever acted in when I was in college, but I started the day rather as a loner.  Not necessarily a bad thing - like I said, it put me in a thoughtful place.  But starting with the caucus meeting this afternoon, things changed.  My table (42!) featured an exciting mix of folks (including the president of the arts telemarketing company I worked for my first summer in NYC), and our conversation was invigorating.  Bonus: as we left, one of my tablemates, a professor at Baruch College in New York City and producer of a jazz concert series, asked for my card - I'd mentioned that I love jazz, but never know where to hear it live, and he said he insisted, assuring me it was "in a purely professional way," to take me to a jazz concert.

Shortly afterwards, at the NPAC opening party, I ran into a woman I'd met at Tuesday night's TCG mixer, the Artistic Director of what sounds like an awesome theatre in Austin, Texas.  On the intensely packed line for the bar, we started chatting, and ended up hanging out for most of the evening.  Turns out we were both going to the same performance tonight - Jigsaw Nation - so we split a cab.  But not without adopting another person heading that way, the Producing Artistic Director of a great regional theatre.  (I overheard him saying, at the end of the party, that he was looking for one of the TCG staffers with the 'Ask Me' buttons.  I was, too - it turns out I needed the address of the theatre we were going to, which he had, and he needed to know the best way to get there, which I knew was by cab.)  On the way back to the hotel from the theatre, our entourage was joined by a recent grad of the Yale School of Drama.  Turns out he's just moved to New York, so we talked neighborhoods and subway lines.  

Of course, it was also a day of talking marketing, arts in education, community building, audience demographics, artist support, interdisciplinary crosspolination... Community-building has many aspects.

posted by Jaime Green.
June 12, 2008 4:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Opening day of NPAC -- the energy and enthusiasm of the nearly 3600 registrants is palpable. Lots of unfamiliar faces but as an industry, we are generally a friendly bunch and lots of good conversations ensue. The focal point of each day of the conference is the caucus sessions: a chance for the entire field to, in facilitated small groups, build a vision for the performing arts sector. I'm so pleased to be serving as a facilitator for this important process. Today's was definitely an experiment, but I think it worked. A variety of folks across the country and across the nation have worked together to create a vision statement for our industry, and today's task was to talk about our reflections of it. It's very comprehensive and involved -- definitely the work of a committee! Everybody came to my table ready and eager to share their views on it. The caucus session was immediately preceded by an arts-packed plenary session, hosted by Anna Deavere Smith -- seeing her mind at work is an amazing sight - truly, as NEA Chair Dana Gioia introduced her, a force of nature!

Off to the Dance/USA Honors Dinner. Congratulations to Rena Shagan, whom we will be honoring.

posted by Amy Dupain Vashaw.
June 12, 2008 4:04 AM | | Comments (0)
June 11, 2008

I was roped into facilitating a caucus, which I actually enjoyed. Lots of good stuff was discussed at table 27, no thanks to my yammering I'm sure. Some thoughts:

Why don't performing arts organizations offer artistic development to their staff? Piano lessons, dance classes, etc.. Half days on Fridays to go to rehearse with a choir, free passes to the local dance school. Some kind of development program to keep us in touch with the making of art. A program like this would also provide an opportunity for arts employees who may not have an arts background to become closer to their organizations and co-workers. This could also be a way to build bridges between organizations and their corporate sponsors; Target employees could get dance passes to the same school as the staff of the organizations they fund, could be taught art history by the staff at the museum they sponsor, so on, so forth.

Are the arts a viable career choice? Obviously we all think it is, but to the proverbial world-at-large? The random businessmen I shared a cab with from the airport last night thought I had a "cool job", but does that mean they'll encourage their kids to grow up to be classical music publicists? Errr...

Where is our modern-day Ed Sullivan Show? Where is the television variety show that features all art forms, "popular" and "classical" alike? Not just a featured musical guest on [insert show here], but an entire show devoted to the hodge podge that is the arts.

posted by Amanda Ameer.
June 11, 2008 7:59 PM | | Comments (0)
As I entered the ladies room, I overheard "those old people at my table wouldn't let me speak."

We just left our first caucus session with Americaspeaks and I felt the opposite: that those either more tenured/older or those from more traditional disciplines were very open to hearing my younger, very different point of view on the state of the performing arts in America.

We'll see where this takes us in crafting a vision for the community as a whole in the next 3 days.

posted by Michelle Mierz, from the ladies room. Kidding, kidding.
June 11, 2008 7:56 PM | | Comments (1)


If only everyone could agree that "Respect Your Elders" and "Embrace Innovation" were equally important ideals.

I'm delighted to have been invited by Amanda to contribute a conference
blog. I suppose what I can bring is an international perspective, to
comment as a Brit on this hugely ambitious gathering of the American arts

The first problem with this, of course, is jet-lag. I flew in from London
last night, after a 10 hour flight and with a 7 hour time difference. That
meant I woke up at 2am, after just a few hours sleep, with my body telling
it was 9am and time to get up. Luckily that meant that I was able to join
the Orchestra Leadership Academy session on Branding, at the, to my
British way of thinking, unseasonable hour of 8am.

And it was a fascinating session, The presentation from Sametz Blackstone
was succinct, comprehensible and inspiring. Having just signed off a new
website I realised to my shock I had it all wrong. As soon as I am back in
England we have to rip it up and start again. And I need to see if I can
get Roger and Brandon over to the ABO conference, as I am sure our members
would benefit enormously from their expertise.

The second half of the session was fun and useful, and a great chance to
meet other delegates. And it was good to find I was not the only
international representative, with Megan from the New Zealand Symphony
Orchestra on my team. Which put my moaning about the 10 hour flight in

After lunch with Megan and her colleague Rachel in the SmartBar, it was on
to the opening General Session, Now, I need to be careful what I say here,
but I did think it was overly dominated by theatre and community arts. I
couldn't quite see where professional orchestras got a look-in. And the
Mayor's presentation seemed to me to miss a crucial point. In his vision
of Denver in 2028, we had as the backdrop frequent images of cars on
freeways. Er, forgive me if I'm missing something, but have Al Gore's
valiant efforts to raise consciousness of global warming been all in vain?
The general mood of the hall seemed benignly Democratic, but there was not
a single mention by any speaker, or in the declaration flashed up at the
end, of climate change and our responsibilities as citizens towards the

I strongly urge delegates to include this subject in their caucus
discussions. Because there is a prize to be gained. The performing arts
can be an advocate for awareness and for change, and can be part of the
solution. Because research in England has shown that there are more
emissions created by audiences travelling to arts events, than the events
themselves. So the solution is simple - make sure every citizen has access
to high quality theatre, dance and music on their doorstep. The future is

posted by Mark Pemberton, our British correspondent on the proceedings.
June 11, 2008 7:43 PM | | Comments (1)


The climate(and by that I mean more than the weather, but rather the political, social, and economical climate) has had my mind racing for weeks leading up to this conference. I agree with Mark that, while the conference does bring together a larger performance sector, there is something missing.

Of course there are lots of ways in which institutions can "go green" as Mark suggests, which move beyond just adding recycle bins to their lobbies, but that actively encourage their patrons to move to more green methods of communications (e-blasts and other social media come immediately to mind), but if you are feeling more environmental, you can require your printer to print all your materials on recycled paper, and on and on.

But my mind landed on global relevance. Is there a global perspective that is intrinsically tied to the arts? We spend countless hours talking about innovation, but we can't look outside our own national bubble. Why aren't we creating a global arts community? Why aren't we looking outside our own definitions and traditions of art to other cultures around the world for innovation? And why aren't we encouraging global participation?

I would love to see theatres looking to bring other companies from around the world to America, and not just to perform, but to teach and create a dialogue about their innovations. Now perhaps opera, dance and symphonies have a better handle on the international pulse, but it seems to me that American theatre is woefully behind the global conversation.

So I ask "How would a theatre be different if it looked to make a global impact?"

I am surprised at how quickly we can adapt. After only three years in New York City, I have forgotten how comfortable life can be elsewhere in these United States. As a matter of fact creature comforts make me somewhat uncomfortable. Why did that strange woman just smile at me? Why does the ladies room smell like amaretto extract? Why do the bellhops at the Hyatt swarm me with offers for cab service every time I exit the lobby?  Why is everything so...pleasant?
And so this is Denver. This unexpectedly flat, arid, elevated city perched on the edge of the Great Plains, gazing longingly at the Rockies. The city chosen by the National Performing Arts Convention (and the Democratic National Convention) for 2008. I had never been to Denver until I stepped off of the Jetblue flight on Monday morning. The most remarkable thing I've noticed so far (and appropriate for a performing arts convention) is the presence of citywide audio installations.   As my colleague and I stepped into the shuttle train at the Denver International Airport, a Jetsons-style voice cooed words of guidance over the speaker system before a couple bars of stride piano alerted us to the closing doors. An interesting take on sound cues -- the MTA just gives us a descending major third on the NYC subway.
Fast-forward past Monday night's dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange (buffalo, elk, quail, ostrich, rattlesnake on your plate and on the walls, bourbon and apple juice in your glass) to Tuesday morning at the Convention Center. The need for a Sharpie sent me scurrying out of ArtsTown and onto the escalator. Welling up from beneath the stairs were bubbles of laughter---women, children, men. The NPAC attendees in front of me began looking around for the source, quickly realizing it was a recording, which led them to laugh at themselves. I found myself laughing nervously as well. Is this designed to force people to laugh? If so, it's kind of like an unwanted tickle attack. But an interesting alternative to silence.
So I did a bit of quick research on Google and Wikipedia to find that these audio installations are the work of sound artist Jim Green. And there's more. In addition to the local voices and stride piano at the airport and the "Laughing Escalators" at the Convention Center, Jim Greene's work can be heard at the Denver Art Museum "Singing Sinks" and on Curtis Street between 15th and 16th Streets. I haven't heard the "Talking Sidewalk" yet but according to this Los Angeles Times article from June 8, "you will hear howling beasts, mysterious voices and thundering hoofbeats rising from the sidewalk grate."  Sounds like something to check out around midnight this Friday, the 13th.

posted by Sarah Baird, representing Boosey & Hawkes and noticing sound art....which is...music, too?
June 11, 2008 5:08 PM | | Comments (0)
"The Power of Community Building"

Dana Giola

NEA received the largest percentage increase of any agency in Washington this year.

one hour ago - congressional liaison - interior subcommittee has recommended 11% increase - over 15 million dollars - focused on direct grants - "don't spend it yet" - still needs to go through congress.  (I feel like I'm on The West Wing!)

Anna Deavere Smith

she was actually on The West Wing
art is largely responsible for the happiness part of things (as in life, liberty, the pursuit of)
art coming to the middle of the piazza, across from city hall, small arts complex in the white house? that would make it easy to get corporate funding - laughs, laughs
president's dance group, president's music ensemble
press - outside vs. inside the white house - powerful and influential in the way she finds disturbing - so close to the power that they believe they are the power
"let's not go the route of american journalism" - pause, scattered applause
no talking about diversity - laughing
lots of talk about the election - "black man" - lots of applause.
even as we applaud, we should remind ourselves not to be too self-congratulatory
how diverse is your community (i thought we weren't going to talk about diversity? facetious? missed that.)
afraid of the word "public" as if all public things were public toilets - really?
"you live rights, you defend rights" you don't talk about rights - live them out and then capture them.
a jazz musician wrote our constitution in music before a lawyer wrote it in words.
as artists we could be the future - really?
dancers can see out at Alvin Ailey, people can see it.
"i think about the piazza" - open piazza vs. institution - tents versus walls - new fabrics for building tents - great bathrooms, great green rooms? less to do with comfort, more to do with perception - would an arts institution be taken seriously? "i think about tents because of the implied mobility"
"a tent is useful because of the implied service"
who is the exemplar of grace and kindness - Bill Rauch - Oregon Shakespeare - "minister of grace and kindness"

Bill Rauch

he's younger than i thought he'd be
whatever we did succeeded even against spectacular failure
move out of comfort zone
passages of plays in different languages
talk to the person in the room with whom you are most afraid
Mississippi - cast Romeo who had failed state literacy test - after learning the entire role he passed
the arts are one of the few activities in which multiple generations can participate together
have to understand that the results of your work may not be immediately realized - it could take years
always asked if what he's doing is art or social work
"all art is based in community"
language-based theatre - committed to exploring the intersection between contemporary culture and theatre.
entire United States of America as a community
Obama as community organizer (more on the election) - community building as essential to national leadership
artistic expression as essential to our communities - deeply proud to be among you.

The Mayor!

is the mayor playing the piano? why is the mayor playing the piano?
Denver 2028 is the theme
he has a powerpoint presentation
"new generation technology" and "futurists". what is a futurist, per se.
lines between social activism and art are blurred - art can happen anywhere
fundamental appeal of the performing arts remains
shakespeare quote time! R & J with "Denver" inserted
impromptu shakespeare production time! now there are theatre people on the stage. thespians in our midst.
now there are dancers. a little arts montage. i wonder if the mayor is playing the piano.
now we have a chorus in the audience.

Eric Booth
...is outlining the plan for AmericaSpeaks.
he kind of looks like Josh Lyman from The West Wing
he's describing the four days of NPAC as "the largest improv production in performing arts history" - i don't like improv, but i see his point
we can't just talk about these things, we have to do something
will update on Saturday to see what the verdict is

Anna Deavere Smith (is back)
more on american journalism!! what is going on with the journalists! is this a wide-reaching problem i wasn't aware of?? maybe i'm spoiled by the classical music folks.
art as public policy-making
power of kindness, care and grace
make new collaborations
"competitive, greedy, warring world" - "i wish you the best". yikes.

posted by Amanda Ameer during the session. Apologies for typos and randomness. 

June 11, 2008 4:36 PM | | Comments (1)


Good article, community planning is a good thing.



http://">http://www.treatmentcenters.org/mississippi">http:// Mississippi Treatment Centers.a>

This morning, the second Plenary Session of the TCG conference ended with a standing ovation.  British playwright and director Kwame Kwei-Armah gave a rousing speech on "Theatre as Foreign Policy," exhorting us to make theatre that captures and evokes our communities, to transport that across the globe.  It was an inspiring talk, and also surprisingly funny - Kwame knows how to work a room - but something he said at the very beginning caught my attention, and made me think about what we're doing here.  
He was describing his childhood, growing up as the son of West Indian immigrants.  He told how he learned what slavery was from the "Roots" mini-series.  Explaining the power of this, he said (and this is a rough quote), "A narrative came into my life, changing my worldview, how I saw myself and the course of my life."  This is an inspiring example of the power of art, but I had to think - "Roots" isn't theatre.  "Roots" was a tv movie.  Kwame mentioned the power of August Wilson's plays, Public Enemy's music, the book The Autobiography of Malcom X.  All true examples of the power of art, its importance in shaping how we see our world, our communities, and ourselves.  But what wasn't addressed - and what often gets lost - is how theatre is different. 
The fact that this is a National Performing Arts convention is fantastic - arts organizations across genres share so many concerns and issues.  But so often we fall into "No one cares about the arts.  How can we make them realize they need theatre/opera/music/dance?"  This is an important concern.  But as a theatre practitioner, I also want to talk about what makes theatre different.  One Artistic Director told the assembled TCG audience that his theatre has just hired a full-time videographer and videoblogger.  I assume this is to market to and reach out to the YouTube world.  But what if, rather than reaching people differently, rather than trying to convince people that theatre is vital, we made vital theatre?  I know it's not that simple (and this Artistic Director happens to helm an institution producing exciting, new work, so they're not just hoping a videoblog will draw in new audiences to old, musty programming), but, well, it's a question that this convention has got me asking.  Which is probably a fantastic thing.  Four days isn't enough time to change the world.  But we can have our assumptions challenged, ask questions, and reassess how we look at what we do.  I'm excited to keep that going.

posted by Jaime Green, at her first performing arts conference!
June 11, 2008 3:54 PM | | Comments (0)
I'm a one woman marketing, production, fundraising, publicity, HR, legal...(you get it, I'm an entrepreneur in the performing arts) Founder/Exective Director for a 2 year old dance company.

That being said, after I received my NPAC registration materials, I became even more overwhelmed than usual. There are 56 choices for the one session/workshop block, whoa! So I'm picking the innovative sustainability earned revenue streams in depth session. Hope the other 55 aren't as interesting as they look!

posted by Michelle Mierz, on the move, from her Blackberry.
June 11, 2008 3:51 PM | | Comments (0)
June 10, 2008

I realize that, in principle, the whole point of a convention is to cram lots of people into one space and force them collide either by design or accident to create brilliance.  But as I was making my way to the airport gate this morning with my friend / co-attendee / co-blogger Jaime, having already dealt with an early-morning feline stomach ailment as I was dashing out the door and then trekked by subway, NJ Transit and Airtrain to Newark Airport, it occurred to me for the first time that I might actually run into more co-attendees at the airport or on the way to the hotel in Denver, before I was prepared to be even a tiny bit brilliant.  The day to that point had not provided much opportunity to generate the perfect collaboration or figure out how to sell millions of Schoenberg recordings to an eager public.  I scanned the gate waiting area inconspicuously and anxiously, and didn't see anyone I knew, to my relief.  But when our boarding group was called, and Jaime and I were shuffling down the plane aisle to row 20, I heard my name and whipped my head around to see in row 13 the one Denver-bound person whose schedule I could or should have actually looked up in advance: Natasha Paremski, a pianist I manage and the soloist at the Colorado Symphony's concert on Wednesday night.  Since she is already completely aware of my lack of brilliance, we can safely call it a potential crisis averted.  There were no further premature run-ins (that I know of), and I'm safely deposited in my hotel room, hiding.  For now.  I'm a big fan of the citrus hand lotion here, so I think that will be my first seed of inspiration.

posted by James Egelhofer, sittin' pretty in Denver.
June 10, 2008 8:08 PM | | Comments (0)
From John Wenzel at The Denver Post, a particularly relevant piece to begin our live-blogging efforts.

posted by Amanda Ameer, stuck at LaGuardia airport.
June 10, 2008 8:06 PM | | Comments (2)


The panel was wonderful - could we have another hour or so to discuss the many issues raised and the ones we didn't get to?

I'm working with a group in Hawai‘i that is attempting to set up a creative media center so that people can play/work with all of the technologies(that they can't afford)in a large space. The DOE is interested in having us train teachers there, too. Johannes' comments about his space helped me to feel more confident about its positive value.

This is a terrific article that covers quite a number of important considerations affecting all of us -- whether art-makers, or art-consumers. If your interest is piqued by what you've read in the Denver Post and you just can't contain yourself (!), please join me for a very lively panel that I'll be moderating that will explore these very topics, and more:

New Technologies/New Opportunities
Thursday, June 12: 4:30 - 5:45pm

Moderator: Alex Shapiro, composer
Speakers: Rob Capili, www.VoiceofDance.com
Johannes Goebel, founding director, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Hollis Headrick, consultant
Erin West, Vice President of Marketing, POP

I'm really interested in what those who attend our session have to say on the subject from their many perspectives, and these panelists are fabulous, so come and participate in the conversation!

See you soon,



About this blog From April 1 through June 9, 2008, weekly entries were posted here by some of the performing arts community's top bloggers. This 10-week intensive series served as a unique forum for digital debate and brainstorming, and both the entries and comments were archived for use at the live NPAC sessions in June.  Participants:

Jaime Green - Surplus
Nico Muhly
Kristin Sloan - The Winger
Jason Grote
Jeffrey Kahane
Eva Yaa Asantewaa - InfiniteBody
Greg Sandow
Hilary Hahn
Tim Mangan, Paul Hodgins, Richard Chang - The Arts Blog
Andrew Taylor -
The Artful Manager

During the convention, June 10 through June 14, 2008, a
ttendees from across art forms and job functions reported on their conference experiences. Participants:

Amanda Ameer
- web manager, NPAC
Sarah Baird - media and public relations executive, Boosey & Hawkes
Joseph Clifford - outreach and education manager, Dartmouth College Hopkins Center for the Arts
Lawrence Edelson - producing artistic director, American Lyric Theater
James Egelhofer - artist manager, IMG Artists
Jaime Green - literary associate, MCC Theatre
James Holt - composer; membership and marketing associate, League of American Orchestras
Michelle Mierz - executive director, LA Contemporary Dance Company
Mark Pemberton - director, Association of British Orchestras
Mister MOJO - star, MOJO & The Bayou Gypsies
Sydney Skybetter - artistic director, Skybetter and Associates
Mark Valdez - national coordinator, The Network of Ensemble Theaters
Amy Vashaw - audience & program development director, Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
Scott Walters - professor, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Zack Winokur - student, The Juilliard School
Megan Young - artistic services manager, OPERA America

Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the independent contributors and participants, not the National Performing Arts Convention or the organizations they represent.

NPAC - the National Performing Arts Convention - took place in Denver, Colorado on June 10-14, 2008. "Taking Action Together," NPAC sought to lay the foundation for future cross-disciplinary collaborations, cooperative programs and effective advocacy. Formed by 30 distinct performing arts service organizations demonstrating a new maturity and uniting as one a sector, the convention was dedicated to enriching national life and strengthening performing arts communities across the country. 

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