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


Tuesday, October 30 
12pm - 5pm Lawrence Arts Tour
1pm - 5pm

Urban Residencies Pre-Conference Meeting
A half-day gathering focused on the challenges and opportunities posed by urban residencies. View the agenda here.
Hotel Phillips, 106 West 12th Street
4:30pm - 5:30pm Registration (note: attendees who do not pick up conference packets at this time may do so at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center throughout the conference)
Hotel Phillips, 106 West 12th Street
6pm - 8pm

opening night reception
Kansas City Artists Coalition, 201 Wyandotte Street
buses leave from Hotel Phillips between 5:45pm and 6:15pm; latecomers may take cabs from the hotel or walk 0.7 miles to KCAC
Wednesday, October 31  

9am - 5pm

Board Track
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road
buses leave from Hotel Phillips at 8:15am and 8:30am

9am - 10:15am



Welcome + Keynote
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road
buses leave from Hotel Phillips at 8:15am and 8:30am; continental breakfast will be available at the Kauffman Center

Welcome Address:

  • Wayne Lawson, Board Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities
  • Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities


Opening Performance: Glenn North, poet, American Jazz Museum

Keynote speaker: Eames Demetrios, Creator, Kcymaerxthaere

10:30am - 12pm























Breakout Sessions 

(1) Let’s Take the Long View: Artists, Residency, Community
For the past 15 years, art centers have been at the vanguard of what has come to be known as “community engagement” – opening our physical spaces, creating windows into creative process, and providing opportunities for artists and our communities to interact with one another for mutual benefit. But how might we refine and advance our practice in terms of artist and community engagement? What happens to our programming choices and our planning activities when we consider the importance of sustained community engagement? What are the tools for building community engagement into our work as a strategy of sustainability, and what can be learned from organizations involving their communities in the program-development process? The Gina Gibney Dance Center (NYC), Center for Creative Research NYC), McColl Center for Visual Arts (Charlotte, NC) and National Performance Network’s Visual Arts Network (New Orleans, LA) will address these questions in a short panel presentation followed by an informal Q&A discussion with session participants.

  • Dana Whitco, Director, Center for Creative Research
  • Gina Gibney, Director, The Gina Gibney Dance Center
  • Suzanne Fetscher, President/CEO, McColl Center for Visual Art
  • Alec De León, Program Specialist, Visual Arts Network - National Performance Network

(2) In Residence, In the World
Artist residencies offer artists a disruption in their creative practice that can lead to the exploration of new ideas – even more so when residencies cross cultural and global boundaries. This session will explore artist-centered approaches to international exchange, including lessons learned and strategies for ensuring meaningful engagement.

  • Paulo Acosta Cabezas, Owner and Director, Cara + Cabezas Contemporary
  • David J. Fraher (moderator), Executive Director, Arts Midwest
  • Shalonda Ingram, Founder, Nursha Project
  • Liz Maugans, Executive Director, Zygote Press

(3) Selecting Artists: Process and Priorities
This panel will examine the varied ways that organizations select artists for residencies, reviewing the benefits and challenges of each system. Panelists will share their organization’s process for application submission and artist selection, provide insight into how artists can best represent themselves when applying, and discuss how the processes we choose impact equity and access.

  • Heather Johnson (moderator), Residency Program Manager, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
  • Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director, Hermitage Artists Retreat
  • David Macy, Resident Director, MacDowell Colony
12pm - 1pm


1:30pm - 3:00pm

















Breakout Sessions 

(1) Sustaining Artist Communities in a Midwestern Town
This session will look at how art-based communities can thrive through creative problem-solving. Three presenters from Newton, Kansas (population 20,000) will discuss the different ways in which they have sought to create and maintain art-based communities (in music, dance, visual arts, and art therapy) and creatively forge partnerships to foster viability. Following short presentations, panelists will facilitate a dialogue with audience members, seeking input from other arts advocates who have worked to foster arts activity and creative community in small-town settings.

  • Danika Bielek, Executive Director, Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts
  • Micala Gingrich-Gaylord, Director, Newton and Youthville Expressive Arts Center
  • Rachel Epp Buller (moderator), Assistant Professor of Art, Bethel College

(2) Making a Living, Making a Life: Supporting Artists’ Careers
With less reliance on traditional systems of support and funding, artists are acting as entrepreneurs, marketing and promoting their work and building networks to sustain a career. Artist services organizations, fundraising resources, and state and local arts councils are key to connecting artists to a wider network of support for all aspects of their practice. Panelists will discuss how they have built resources that respond to the changing needs of artists, including opportunities through state and local arts councils, crowd-funding, professional development workshops, and the range of resources available to artists through artist services organizations.

  • Paul Tyler, Grants Director, ArtsKC
  • Katharine DeShaw, Executive Director, United States Artists
  • Eleanor Whitney (moderator), Program Officer - External Affairs + Fiscal Sponsorship, New York Foundation for the Arts

(3) Residencies + Education Programs: Finding the Balance
Many arts centers offer residencies as well as workshops, classes, and other education programs. Through facilitated discussion, this session will explore the challenges in developing a balance between educational and residency programs and the opportunity for synergies between the two. It will also look at the private and public roles of organizations focused on the one hand in creating a supportive environment for artists to create while on the other hand opening their facilities to audiences from their community and the larger public. This session is designed for arts leaders who are considering offering or are already implementing educational programs.

  • Jim Baker (moderator), Executive Director, Pilchuck Glass School
  • Susan Tate, Executive Director, Lawrence Arts Center

3:30pm - 5:00pm













Breakout Sessions

(1) Artist-Centered Assessment
Recognizing the importance of assessment for both the internal operations of our programs and external stakeholders, this session will explore how we can maintain a commitment to open-ended outcomes, continue to evaluate our programs through the lens of serving artists, and advocate for an artist-centered approach when there are competing interests.

  • Ann Brady (moderator), Consultant
  • Rob Garris, Managing Director - Bellagio Center Programs, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Risë Wilson, Program Manager - Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC); and Founder - The Laundromat Project

(2) Arts and Artists of Kansas City
Join three Kansas City artists in conversation with Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of the Nelson Atkins Museum, for a look into the surprising and energetic art scene of America’s Creative Crossroads. This session will explore the intersections of Kansas City’s distinct art sectors and some of the projects and people that are changing the face of the city’s art scene. Panelists will discuss new models of sustainability that have hatched in recent years including artist-run businesses and creative partnerships.

  • Peregrine Honig, Artist
  • David Ford, Artist
  • Jose Faus, Writer + Artist, Latino Writers Collective
  • Julián Zugazagoitia (moderator), Director, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

(3) Community Engagement for Rural Residency Programs
Artist colonies in rural areas, including areas that are facing shifting demographics and economies, have specific challenges in relating to their local community while preserving a private and secluded atmosphere for resident artists. This panel will look at finding ways to meaningfully connect and collaborate with regional schools, farms, towns, residents, and other community organizations without undermining the primary purpose of a retreat residency for the artist.

  • Sharon Dynak, President, Ucross Foundation
  • Brad Kik, Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)
  • Lesley Williamson, Director, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts & Saltonstall Arts Colony
  • Kristofer Mills, Program Resident Manager, Djerassi Resident Artists Program
  • Cara Benson (moderator), Program Manager, The Millay Colony

7pm - 10pm

Halloween Bash + Auction Party
The Studios Inc, 1708 Campbell Street
Buses will depart from Hotel Phillips between 6:45pm and 7:15pm

Join us as we celebrate with an evening of awe-inspiring performance and ghoulish fun at our annual auction party! All are welcome at this one-of-a-kind Halloween celebration in The Studios Inc. industrial gallery space. Musician Mark Southerland will create his award winning “Noise Camp” to usher in a hallow’s eve unlike any other. Come enjoy a beguiling mix of jazz standards and free improvisation from the musicians of his candy-colored crew. Costumes are encouraged but not required. Masks and face-painting will be available to get you in the spirit of the festivities. (tickets required; more info here)

Thursday, November 1  
9am - 9:45am Keynote interview: Bebe Miller, in conversation with Wayne Lawson, Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road
buses leave from Hotel Phillips at 8:15am and 8:30am; continental breakfast will be available at the Kauffman Center








(1) Art Galleries + Residency Programs
Galleries and other exhibition / presenting venues are increasingly home to artist residency programs, offering opportunities for the public to not only view work but to better understand the creative process. This session will address lessons learned around residencies within presenting venues – from remaining artist-centered to ways of engaging the community.

  • Darlene DeAngelo, Consultant and former Curator of Exhibitions, Huntington Beach Art Center

(2) Creative Conversation with Adania Shibli
Beirut39 prize Adania Shibli will discuss how art and texts interact, exploring her own work and that of a number of Palestinian writers and artists, in a conversation with Lori Wood. The discussion will explore how artists and writers interact with reality, in its harshest expressions and manifestations.

  • Lori Wood, Founder, Fes Medina; and coordinator of the Alliance of Artists Communities’ “New Voices of Modern Arab Literature” project
  • Adania Shibli, Writer

11am - 12:30pm

















Breakout Sessions

(1) Creative Placemaking: Artists' Roles and Opportunities
This conversation will explore the role of artists in placemaking and models for training and developing artists’ capacity to contribute to their communities, using the Irrigate project as a model. Irrigate is a unique collaboration between Springboard for the Arts, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and the City of St. Paul, Minnesota; with a variety of additional partners, including six district councils, the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, and ArtHome.

  • Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts
  • Jun-Li Wang, Artist Community Organizer, Springboard for the Arts

(2) (How) Can Artist Communities Support Artists with Families?
Most traditional residency programs are designed to serve as nurturing retreats for artists, and for good reason: the creative process often requires the sustenance that peace and quiet offer. But peace and quiet are not generally the first conditions associated with children. So how do a handful of artist communities respond to the needs of artists who are also parents? Can children fit into residencies? If so, how? If not, how can artists with children be supported with the time and space they need to create? Three panelists who are passionate about this subject will offer real-life examples and a candid examination of the challenges and rewards of residencies that put children in the mix.

  • Cara Benson, Program Director, The Millay Colony
  • Esther Grimm (moderator), Executive Director, 3Arts
  • Tony Grant, Founder, Sustainable Arts Foundation
  • Matthew Suib, Artist

(3) Long-term Residencies: Extended Relationships, Deeper Engagements
For many artist communities, the length of the residencies offered to artists has a profound impact on the nature and intensity of the work process that occurs. In what ways do long-term residencies impact the artists and influence the nature of the community engagement? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these extended relationships? Can long-term and short-term residencies be mixed or do commitments have to be made to one or the other? How does offering a long-term residency dictate the kinds of artists who might apply? Learn how four different artist communities manage extended artist residencies.

  • Colby Smith, Director, The Studios Inc.
  • James Woodfill, artist
  • Dana Moore, Programs Director, Penland School of Crafts
  • Bruce Rodgers (moderator), Executive Director, Hermitage Artists Retreat

(4) Teamwork: Supporting Collaboration
Many artist residencies have opened their program not only to individual artists but to collaborative teams of artists working across disciplines. While offering exciting potential for innovative work, collaborative teams bring distinct challenges to residency programs. This panel will focus on some of the practicalities of working with such teams, including assembling juries capable of judging collaborative and cross-disciplinary work, adapting facilities for use by groups, and integrating collaborative teams into a community of other artists.

  • Ralph Crispino (moderator), President, I-Park
  • Marco Dessardo, Sculptor
  • Sarah Walko, Executive Director, Triangle Arts Association

12:30pm - 2pm


Lunch + Town Hall Forum

Join us for a discussion on the Alliance’s current and upcoming initiatives and share your vision of the future in this town-hall style forum for members and non-members alike.

2:15pm - 5pm

Off-site tours, workshops, and adventures
Buses will depart from the Kauffman Center at 2:15pm and drop off at Hotel Phillips after the tours


Explore the city on your own!
Friday, November 2  
9am - 9:45am

Keynote speaker: Calvin Trillin, introduced by Stephanie Olmsted, Secretary of the Board, Alliance of Artists Communities
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road
buses leave from Hotel Phillips at 8:15am and 8:30am; continental breakfast will be available at the Kauffman Center

10am - 10:45am


(1) A Better Home: Exiled Writers of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh
This talk explores the work of City of Asylum, a sanctuary to writers exiled under threat of persecution. City of Asylum seeks to make a better home for writers, readers, and neighbors alike. By programming in places like public streets, they have explored a new model for an accessible “cultural commons” not made of plazas and parks. Extending this programming into homes and private gardens (and the internet) has brought the public into private spaces and linked the private spaces to the public. Attending or hosting an event is at once arts and civic participation, a way to join all levels of what it means to “make a better home.” Learn more about what City of Asylum/Pittsburgh and its community do for exiled writers and why this residency program for exiled writer has become the heart of its neighborhood.  

  • Henry Reese, President, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh

(2) Strengthening Communities and Helping Artists: A Local Public Funding Model
The health and quality of Cuyahoga County’s (Ohio) arts and cultural sector is one of the community’s distinct competitive advantages as a key driver of the regional economy. Through a voter-approved 10-year cigarette tax, the community affirmed the importance of using public dollars to strengthen the community through arts programming. This session will explore how Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has used public funds to make a difference in a myriad of ways, including support for organizations of all sizes and significant support for artists, and how this model might be adapted to other communities seeking new ways to support the arts.

  • Karen Gahl-Mills, Executive Director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

(3) Channeling Dr. Phil in the Art World: Secrets of Production and Problem Solving
Great works of art can be transformative, but sometimes the process of creating them is more wrenching than an episode of Dr. Phil. Grand Arts embraces this challenge by focusing on projects that are ambitious and complex. Recent collaborations have involved sending an artist to astronaut training camp, isolating the DNA of William S. Burroughs, and building a seven-story artwork called “IOU/USA” across the street from the Federal Reserve in Kansas City. How do these kinds of projects get realized? What’s the backstory? In this lively group conversation, Grand Arts’ artistic director and key production staff will share lessons from the untold stories of an artwork’s making.

  • Stacy Switzer, Artistic Director, Grand Arts

11am - 12:30pm


Breakout Sessions

(1) Trends in Public Philanthropy
In a lively discussion, panelists will look at current issues and trends in arts philanthropy among local, regional, state, and national government funding agencies. The group will also discuss the grantmaking process and what makes a successful funding application, with audience questions welcome.

  • Michael Orlove, Director of Presenting + Artists Communities, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Ann Friedman (moderator), Manager, Grants and Foundations, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Llewellyn Crain, Director of Development, Kansas City Symphony
  • Mary Kennedy, Executive Director, Mid-America Arts Alliance

(2) More Than Just Scenery: Cultivating Ecological Work at Residencies
The most pressing predicaments of our time are tied to ecology: climate change, peak energy, species extinction, and pollution on a bewildering scale. Now is the time for large numbers of artists to engage these issues, yet the furthest most of us have gotten with connecting arts and ecology is to create beautiful spaces in the woods for artists to work. Knowing that ecological art is essential, how do residencies help to foster that kind of practice? How can we nurture a meaningful context for ecological art, without dictating to artists? We’ll use two models of environmental art residencies as a launch point for an in-depth brainstorming session.

  • Brad Kik, Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)
  • Ama Rogan, Managing Director, A Studio in the Wood

(3) Artist-Centered at Every Stage
As artists advance through the various stages of their careers their needs change and evolve. Whether it’s help with professional development skills, networking opportunities, mentoring, or access to equipment and space, residencies can use their resources to best benefit artists with needs specific to their particular career stage. Three residencies that work effectively with programming specifically geared towards emerging artists, mid-career artists, and/or professional artists will present their experiences.

  • Lori Bauman and Steve Vande Zande, Co-Founders, RedLine Milawaukee
  • Melissa Levin, Director of Artist Residencies, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
  • Mary Heathcott, Deputy Director, Artpace
  • Alix Refshauge (moderator), Research + Special Project Associate, Alliance of Artists Communities

12:30pm - 1:30pm


1:45pm - 4pm

Off-site tours, workshops, and adventures
Buses will depart from the Kauffman Center at 1:45pm and drop off at Hotel Phillips and Leedy-Voulkos Art Center after the tours

4pm - 6pm

Closing reception
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore Ave
Buses will depart from Hotel Phillips at 4pm and 4:45pm; latecomers may take cabs from the hotel or walk 0.8 miles to Leedy-Voulkos

6pm - 9pm

First Fridays Gallery Night
Following a reception at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, enjoy Kansas City's "First Fridays Gallery Night" in the Crossroads Arts District, with dozens of galleries, shops, and alternative art spaces, free and open to the public