NPAC: Performing Arts Unite in Denver

Less than a month from now a remarkable event will take place in Denver: the National Performing Arts Convention, scheduled for Tuesday, June 10 through Saturday, June 14. Although it's billed as the second such convention (the first was in Pittsburgh in 2004), it will actually be a first in most ways. In Pittsburgh, the various service organizations combined for an opening session on a Wednesday night, and produced some combined discussions and sessions on Saturday. But on Thursday and Friday, the individual organizations each operated their own independent conferences.

In Denver, the content is combined into one joint true convention, with some time for the separate service organizations to have their own internal meetings. The five core organizations at the hub of this convention are the League of American Orchestras, Opera America, Chorus America, Dance USA, and Theater Communications Group. But there are dozens of other organizations involved as well.

By combining forces, we have been able to attract speakers and put together sessions that no one service organization could have attracted on its own. The result is going to be a very intensive, stimulating, provocative, and, I believe, productive gathering.

The must-see general sessions feature such speakers as business guru Jim Collins (author of Good to Great and Built to Last) and the visionary founder of Venezuela's music education program "El Sistema," José Antonio Abreu (whose session will be moderated by Marin Alsop). In addition, seminars from National Arts Strategies and the League's Orchestra Leadership Academy will offer NPACers substantial learning opportunities.

League constituency-meeting blocks will take place as usual, but time will also be set aside for breakouts, workshops, and special League presentations addressing the "El Sistema" success, electronic media, and what is becoming a hot-button topic, the "churn" phenomenon--how our orchestras attract newcomers but fail to effectively convert them to long-term supporters.

NPAC ends with a 21st-century Town Meeting on Saturday, conducted by AmericaSpeaks, during which participants will create the agenda that activates the performing arts community in America. Not to be missed.

To register, and for complete schedules, you can visit:

League members may want to see more specific information on the League's web site:

I hope to see you in Denver.

May 23, 2008 10:27 AM |



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