2016 GIA Conference
Saint Paul, MN   October 16–19
A Confluence of People, Cultures, and Ideas

Conference Sessions

Following is a partial list of sessions to date. The full schedule will be posted soon.

Building a Rural Arts Movement

Organized by Maxine Adams, Executive Director, Lake Region Arts Council.

Participants will learn how Springboard for the Arts and the Lake Region Arts Council have developed and learned from two programs that support and promote rural arts. These programs have been successful within the growing coalition of Minnesota funders who are focusing on rural/metro inclusion. The Arts Resource Fair is an event that provides regional artists in West Central Minnesota and Minnesota funders the opportunity to meet and connect with each other while creating a stronger arts community in the region. The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biennial event that gathers national artists, art organizations, funders, and community and economic development leaders interested in the role of art in rural community development. Tool kits will be available.


Capitalization: Putting the Concepts into Practice

Organized by Kate Barr, Executive Director, Nonprofits Assistance Fund.

Many grantmakers, with GIA’s leadership, have developed a greater understanding of capitalization over the past five years. Now it is time to put this knowledge into practice by supporting healthy capitalization for our arts and culture partners. Kate Barr will share eight lessons learned through Nonprofits Assistance Fund’s investment of capital into arts and culture organizations, and practices that grantmakers can apply in their work. Examples will include case studies of organizations that have leveraged capital. The session will also highlight new offerings from NAF that incorporate capital investments, new management practices, and technical assistance. The session will include opportunities for attendees to share their success stories or works in progress as they support capitalization principles for their grantees.


Americans Speak Out About the Arts

Organized by Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts.

In December 2015, Americans for the Arts and Ipsos surveyed 3,020 American adults to measure their personal engagement and opinions about the arts. The study offers funders a mirror to see how their programs align with changing audience demand and a public that experiences art digitally and shares using social media. The data reveal a public that also supports arts education and believes that the arts “unify us, regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” – personal and community well-being benefits that are shared across all socio-economic strata. Following a presentation of the findings will be a group discussion of what funders can do next. We will discuss the opportunity (and strife) that comes with using data to lead internal conversations and make program changes to serve the arts in contemporary America.


Racial Equity Policies and Practices Define Future of LAAs

Organized by Randy Engstrom, Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

There is a change in attitude and perception of the racialization of systems in our cities. Policies will drive practice in determining how communities will or have responded to protests of inequity and injustice. In some cities and states, this movement has clearly defined the future of political discourse. Others are in the throes of understanding how to change practice that addresses the institutionalized systems that keep African, Latin@, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) communities, artists and arts groups from flourishing…while still others are in denial that there is any problem at all. The demand for racial equality has taken on a new dimension, a new strength, and a more honest approach. The arts will either be an example of policies that make a difference and change practice or they will become irrelevant. Through an interactive process, this session will explore policies that lead to racial equity practice and and discuss practice that makes grantmaking more equitable.


Obtaining and Maintaining Dedicated Public Support: How Can Grantmakers Help?

Organized by Karen Gahl-Mills, CEO + Executive Director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Obtaining and maintaining public (tax) support for arts and culture requires dedication to advocacy by all arts and culture stakeholders in a community, including a community’s existing funders. In this workshop, presenters will share the creative advocacy strategies that have allowed their communities to obtain and maintain robust public support for the arts. Participants will be engaged in a dialogue about the conditions necessary to ensure success of such advocacy efforts and provide practical examples of ways that funders can help communities think about advocacy as an ongoing, important endeavor.


Arts at the Service of Juvenile Justice: A Public–Private Partnership Focus on High Risk Youth

Organized by Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

The Los Angeles County Probation Department formed a powerful partnership with Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Children’s Defense Fund to embed arts programming within juvenile justice facilities throughout the county. This bold pilot program blossomed into the formation of the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network – a collaborative of eight organizations offering high-quality, sequential arts instruction in visual and performing arts. Presenters will share how putting the arts at the center of juvenile justice can reach youth by building on their strengths in programs that develop empathy, teach responsibility, and harness creativity to inspire a positive perspective on their reentry to the community.


#PopJustice: Challenging our Frames for Art, Pop Culture, and Social Impact

Organized by Sharon Alpert, President and CEO, The Nathan Cummings Foundation; and Taryn Higashi, Executive Director, Unbound Philanthropy.

Pop culture is increasingly being recognized by funders as a vehicle for catalyzing social change. Its ability to influence dominant narratives and culture more broadly makes pop culture – TV, Hollywood, music, etc. – a powerful tool for transforming harmful stereotypes about people of color and immigrants. However, when framed as an arts and culture strategy, some perceive a tension between art and pop culture. This session will examine the symbiotic relationship between art and pop culture, highlighting examples where the arts – theater, independent film, etc. – have moved into entertainment/celebrity spaces and strategically scaled their social impact. Participants will learn about the #PopJustice report series – and its recommendations that are seeding a collaborative fund – and engage in conversation about the role of philanthropy in this shared endeavor.


Curating the Researcher-Practitioner Relationship: How Arts Funders Can Align Partnerships to Build Knowledge about Impact

Organized by Sunil Iyengar, Director, Office of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Council England, and Nesta are fostering cross-sector partnerships that bring empirical methods and data to questions of cultural practice. In doing so, the agencies use similar, but different, approaches. Through national Research Labs and grants, NEA stimulates researcher-practitioner collaborations in diverse fields to examine the arts’ benefits. ACE’s new research grants program requires cultural organizations to be lead applicants, recruiting researchers as partners. Nesta has infused research into partnerships between arts and technology providers, and is exploring an “accelerator” model to bring resulting products to scale. This session will discuss how academic/corporate researchers can become vital partners in advancing knowledge for cultural providers to engage more fully with other sectors – and with other segments of society.


Who Are 21st Century Arts Leaders? How Will They Remake the Field?

Organized by Emiko Ono, Program Officer, Performing Arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Angie Kim, President & CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation.

Arts funders are being asked to support and respond to a field that is undergoing unprecedented generational and demographic change. Starting with findings from the “Moving Arts Leadership Forward” report, this session will explore the implications of a protracted yet imminent leadership transition. We will look at how several social changes – including shifting demographics and new generational perspectives – present opportunities to develop a more diverse and equitable field. Through small group activities and critical reflection, participants will discuss how these changes are showing up in their work and what is needed to ensure leaders and the field remain vital in the 21st century.


Making Artists Matter

Organized by Caitlin Strokosch, President & CEO, National Performance Network.

With so much attention on artists in partnership with institutions, community developers, hospitals, scientists, tech businesses, and others, how do we make sure the process is artist-centered? Funders are in a unique position to act as intermediaries and influencers in building equitable partnerships between artists and institutions. This session will explore how to ensure that artists are fully valued and resourced, how we help institutions engage artists, and how to empower artists in the process. Examples include policies developed by grantmakers (including NPN’s “Guidelines for Equitable Partnerships”), programs designed to foster meaningful work between institutions and artists of color, and lessons from the front lines of creative placemaking, bringing individuals, arts organizations, and non-arts institutions together (including the NEA’s Our Town and Creativity Connects programs).