Sustaining Today's Artists will explore how, as artist-centered organizations, we can continue to support today's artists in their creative practice while sustaining our organizations. We will address the ways in which we can support artists holistically, and examine the interdependence of policy, place, professional development, funding, solitude, community, collaboration, and civic life in sustaining today's artists.

The conference will offer a mix of big-picture sessions, nuts-and-bolts workshops, and participatory discussions, along with opportunities to network and explore New Orleans.

For an overview of the conference, see Schedule-at-a-Glance.

jump to [ Thursday, November 12 ] [ Friday, November 13 ] [ Saturday, November 14 ]

7:45 am - 3:15 pm Pre-Conference Day of Service with Habitat for Humanity
Sign up for this optional volunteer day, to assist with new home building. Since Hurricane Katrina, Habitat for Humanity has constructed hundreds of new homes in New Orleans, including Musicians Village. Share in the ongoing efforts to restore New Orleans. Visit for more information. (Space is limited for the Day of Service; please sign up early.)
4:30 - 5:30 pm Registration and Check-in: Hilton St. Charles Hotel (333 St. Charles Avenue)
5:30 - 7:00 pm Opening Reception: Historic New Orleans Collection [read more about special events]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 (all events at Louisiana ArtWorks, unless otherwise noted)
7:45 - 8:30 am Second Lind Parade: It wouldn't be New Orleans without a parade! Join Panorama Jazz Band as we follow St. Charles Street from the hotel to Louisiana ArtWorks
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Registration and Check-in: Louisiana ArtWorks
8:15 - 9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 - 9:45 Welcoming Remarks: Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities; Ann Brady, Board Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities; Brad Kik, Green Chairman, Alliance of Artists Communities.

New Orleans Welcome: Jacquelyn Clarkson, City Council President, City of New Orleans

9:45 - 10:30 Keynote Address: Rebecca Solnit: Rebecca Solnit is an activist, historian, and writer who lives in San Francisco. Her twelfth book, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, showcases five stories over the last century – from San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
11:00 - 12:15 More than the Sum of our Parts: How Small Organizations are Working Together for Greater Impact: Three Chicago-based organizations will share how they collaborate to maximize their support to artists while staying small. Led by Sarah Workneh, Associate Director, Ox-Bow; with Elizabeth Chodos, Executive Director, ThreeWalls; Shannon Stratton, Director & Chief Curator, ThreeWalls; and Bryce Dwyer, inCUBATE.

Fostering International Exchange: This conversation will explore some of the benefits and challenges faced by international artists’ communities, including obtaining Visas, achieving a balance of participants from around the world, and facilitating collaboration and exchange among artists. Led by Linda Marston-Reid, Bellagio Center Coordinator, The Rockefeller Foundation; with Jean-Yves Coffre, Director, Centre D’Art de Marnay Arts Centre; and other speaker TBD.

Artist-Centered Advocacy How-To: Tom Birch, Legislative Counsel, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, will lead this hands-on workshop in connecting with legislators and championing policy.

12:30 - 2:00 Lunch and Open Studios at Louisiana ArtWorks

Tour Louisiana ArtWorks’ 93,000-square-foot visual arts facility and visit with the artists-in-residence that occupy 19 studios and numerous workshops throughout the building.

12:45 - 1:30 Lunch roundtables [read more about conference roundtables]

Friend to Fan: Social Networking and Grass-roots Campaigning: Join Brad and Amanda Kik, Co-Founders of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND), for an informal discussion on using new-fangled tools in old-fashioned ways, to build engagement and a broad base of loyal support.

CEC ArtsLink: Partnerships for International Exchange: CEC ArtsLink is an international arts organization, striving to create and sustain constructive, mutually beneficial relationships between the US and the 30 countries of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Working with artists, arts organizations and community-based institutions CEC ArtsLink provides an essential structure for ongoing dialogue between the US and these formerly isolated cultures. Find out how you might partner with CEC ArtsLink, with Program Manager Tamalyn Miller.

2:15 - 3:30

From Vision to Sustainability: Fundraising, Feasibility, and Fostering Engagement through Long-Term Planning: Part I: The bridge between vision and sustainability is a viable long-range plan, grounded in and inspired by the founding vision of the institution. Using The Ragdale Foundation’s experience in charting its own future, this session will identify the ways in which the right long range strategic plan can become the key to engaging new stakeholders, reenergizing board and staff – and transforming fundraising from a dreaded duty to an empowering and rewarding form of leadership. Led by Whit Shepard, President, RWS Consulting, and former board member of The Ragdale Foundation.

Making Your Case: Artist-Centered Advocacy: Wayne Lawson, Director Emeritus, Ohio Arts Council will lead this discussion, with Tom Birch, Legislative Counsel, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies; Mary Len Costa, Interim President/CEO, Arts Council of New Orleans; and Ra Joy, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois; to share perspectives on artist-centered advocacy.

Emerging Artists' Needs: Kate Haw, Executive Director of Development & Administration, Skowhegan; will lead Alix Refshauge, Artist-in-Residence & Development Director, HUB-BUB; Adam Natale, Director of Membership & Program Development, Fractured Atlas; and Alan Tracy, Coordinator, Rhode Island School of Design | Career Services; in a discussion sharing both their practical and philosophical approaches to supporting emerging artists.
3:45 - 5:00 From Vision to Sustainability: Part II (see description above for Part I)

The Ethics of Artist Selection: Led by Ce Scott, Director of Residencies & Exhibitions, McColl Center for Visual Arts; with David Macy, Resident Director, The MacDowell Colony; and Susan Page Tillett, Executive Director, The Ragdale Foundation; explore how artist selection can reflect an organization’s values.

Place-Based Art Making: Sam Bower, Director,, will lead artist Eric Dallimore, and Liz Engleman, Executive Director, Tofte Lake Center, in a conversation on how place informs art-making – from rural northern Minnesota to the post-Katrina streets of New Orleans – and how to steward artists’ engagement with their environment.

6:30 - 9:00 Reception: Newcomb Art Gallery [read more about special events]

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13 (all events at Louisiana ArtWorks, unless otherwise noted)
8:00 am - 2:00 pm Registration and Check-in: Louisiana ArtWorks
8:00 - 9:00 am Breakfast + roundtables [read more about conference roundtables]
9:00 - 9:30 Alliance at-a-Glance: Meet our nominees for the 2010 Board of Trustees, find out what new initiatives the Alliance is working on, and how you can get involved. With Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director; Hunter O'Hanian, Committee on Trustees Chair; Sara Jane DeHoff, Advancement Chair; David Macy, Member Services Chair.
9:30 - 10:15 Keynote Address: Mel Chin: Mel Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in his work. Unconventional and politically engaged, his projects also challenge the idea of the artist as the exclusive creative force behind an artwork. Chin’s current Fundred Dollar Bill Project and its sister initiative Operation Paydirt seek to engage students and others from around the US in a participatory art-making project that will culminate in creative solutions to New Orleans’s lead-contaminated soil problems.
10:30 - 11:45 Donor-Centered Fundraising: Part I: Penelope Burk, author of Fundraising in a Turbulent Economy, and Donor-Centered Fundraising, is celebrated for some of the most important innovations in modern-day fundraising. In 2000, Penelope introduced the not-for-profit industry to the concept of Donor-Centered Fundraising®, transforming the way the sector communicates with donors and bringing fundraising in line with donors’ needs. Today, Penelope’s groundbreaking research continues to gain international recognition for challenging long-standing but ineffective fundraising practices and showcasing evidence-based methods that raise more money. (Copies of Penelope's books will be available for purchase.)

Designing a Place-Based Artists’ Community: Architecture for Rural Art-Making: Robert Fakelman's studio designs at the Sustainable Arts Society in Blue Ridge, Georgia – a rural artists’ colony interested in preserving the land while providing artists with a retreat in which to create new work – integrate sustainable systems which gather the sun’s energy, harvest rain water, and naturally ventilate its spaces. Robert will share his work with Sustainable Arts Society and discuss approaches to designing for rural contemplation and art-making.

Creativity in Crisis: Supporting Artists in Turbulent Times: Cornelia Carey, Executive Director, Craft Emergency Relief Fund; Michelle Laflamme-Childs, Residency Director, Santa Fe Art Institute; and Gulf-Coast artists (TBD); will lead a discussion on offering artists safe haven and support, whether serving artists in political exile or providing sanctuary for artists who have lost their home, workspace, or archive in a disaster.

12:00 - 1:15

Donor-Centered Fundraising: Part II: See description of Part I above

Restoration Residencies: How Supporting Artists Can Help Heal a City: Ama Rogan, Managing Director, A Studio in the Woods, will lead Dr. Michael White, composer; Monique Michelle Verdin, photographer; and Elizabeth Underwood, public artist, in a conversation about restoring community and one’s relationship to place in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Supporting a Collective Creative Practice: Jennifer Calienes, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography; Mark Woods, New River Dramatists; and Olukemi Ilesanmi, Creative Capital Foundation; will discuss the needs of artists working collectively – choreographers and dancers, playwrights, performance artists, and others, while Alliance of Artists Communities’ Executive Director, Caitlin Strokosch, will share recent data on significant gaps in support for collaborative, performance-based artists and lead a discussion in how to better meet the needs of these artists.
1:15 - 2:00 Lunch and roundtables [read more about conference roundtables]
2:15 - 5:15 Off-site sessions and tours [read more about the arts tours]
(1) New Orleans Public Art Tour
(2) Changing Ecology Wetlands Tour
(3) Printmaking Workshop
evening Free night in New Orleans
6:00-8:00: Glass-blowing party at NOCGI
6:00-8:00: Patrons reception (by invitation)
7:00-9:00: Ceramics workshop and pizza part at Louisiana ArtWorks

8:30 am - 1:30 pm Registration and Check-in: Louisiana ArtWorks
8:30 - 9:30 am Breakfast + roundtables [read more about conference roundtables]
9:30 - 10:15 Keynote Address: Lolis Eric Elie: Lolis Eric Elie is an award-winning metro columnist and accomplished author. A recognized expert on New Orleans food and culture, Elie is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country, a book about the culture of barbecue; editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing; and producer of several culinary documentaries.
10:30 - 11:45 Artist-Centered Funding: This discussion will examine today’s funding climate, with a focus on support for individual artists and artist-centered work. With Michelle Boone, The Joyce Foundation; Mario Garcia Durham, National Endowment for the Arts; and Carolyn Somers, The Joan Mitchell Foundation; moderated by Hunter O’Hanian, Vice-President of Advancement, Massachusetts College of Art & Design.

Breaking Bread | Breaking Ground: Lolis Eric Elie will lead a panel in an exploration of the ways a community is nurtured and sustained through food and culinary traditions, and the intersections of food, creativity, and sustainability. With Donna Cavato, Edible Schoolyard; Daphne Derven, New Orleans Food & Farm Network; Rashida Ferdinand, Sankofa Marketplace; and Richard McCarthy, Market Umbrella.

12:00 - 12:30 2010 Showcase + Closing Remarks: Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities; Hunter O'Hanian, incoming Board Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities; Anna Shea, Director, Firehouse 13
12:45 - 1:30 Lunch + roundtables [read more about conference roundtables]
2:00 - 5:00 Our Collective Voice: Forging a Vision for the Field: Facilitated by Peggy Morrison Outon, Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management [read more about this special summit]
1:45 - 5:00 Off-site sessions and tours [read more about the arts tours]
(1) Alternative Art Spaces
(2) Visit A Studio in the Woods
3:00 - 5:00 Emergency Preparedness for Artists: Presented in partnership with the Craft Emergency Relief Fund / Artists Emergency Preparedness Coalition and the Arts Council of New Orleans, this session is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. There will be a reception immediately following the session, 5:00-6:00pm, at the Ogden Museum. [read more about this session]
7:00 - 10:00 Closing Dinner + Awards Party at Preservation Resource Center
(additional fee applies) [read more about special events]

For an overview of the conference, see Schedule-at-a-Glance.

The Conference

General Information
Events + Tours
Hotel + Travel
Explore New Orleans

I just wanted to thank you for making a newcomer to your conference feel so welcome. I also wanted to congratulate you on such an organized, content- and experience-filled conference … with sessions and conversations that left me truly inspired and energized!
–2008 Conference attendee

The Alliance's 19th Annual Conference is supported in part by grants from The Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Copyright 2009 Alliance of Artists Communities
Contact: 255 S Main Street | Providence RI 02903 | tel 401-351-4320 | fax 401-351-4507 |

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