Americans for the Arts Convention brings national arts leaders to Boston



On June 17 - 19, Americans for the Arts held its national convention in Boston, and more than 200 leaders of the local arts community showed up in full force to represent arts and culture in Massachusetts. The conference was packed with dynamic speakers and performances (including Boston’s own Genki Spark drummers, MassLEAP youth slam poetry team, and Boston Arts Academy’s chorus). Amongst other speeches and presentations, Mayor Marty Walsh announced the details of his Boston Cultural Plan, marking an important stage in the Boston Creates process.

Other speakers included Democratic National Committee Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile, National Endowment for the Arts Chairwoman Jane Chu, American Repertory Theater Aristic Director Diane Paulus, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Director of Philanthropy Risë Wilson, and MacArthur fellow Shazia Sikander and Michelle Dorrance. Many of these thought leaders focused on art’s ability to instill hope and catalyze social change in a troubling political climate. In the words of Donna Brazile, “Why you? Because there’s no one better. Why now? Because tomorrow isn’t soon enough.”

We learned from presenters in smaller discussions about topics ranging from creative youth development to the politics of art. Local arts leaders stepped up to lead panels, bringing the context of the great work happening here in Massachusetts in front of a national crowd. MA Senate President Stan Rosenberg co-led a discussion on the partnership between the arts community and elected officials, and MASSCreative’s own Matt Wilson joined a panel on advocacy with our peers at other state arts advocacy organizations.

Check out our Storify for more highlights from the convention.


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