Nation's arts leaders to meet in Seattle, discuss arts, economy and environment
Innovative speakers to focus on sustainability at Americans for the Arts convention, June 18 - 20
SEATTLE — Nearly 1,100 of the nation's arts leaders will meet in Seattle for the Americans for the Arts national convention based at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. The three-day conference, June 18 to 20, will bring arts leaders and their allies in business, education and government together under the conference theme Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities.
More than 75 conference sessions and dozens of innovative speakers will promote strategies to address economic and environmental sustainability for arts and cultural organizations and communities. For the complete convention schedule, visit: www.americansforthearts.org/events/2009/convention/daily_schedule.asp.
"I can't think of a better place to have this important conversation other than Seattle - a city known across the globe as a leader in climate change and environmental responsibility that has a reputation for embracing diversity, art, and creativity," said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. "Our nearly 1,100 attendees look forward to discussing the future of the arts sector here this week."
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels will welcome arts leaders at the opening session, 11:30 a.m., Thursday, June 18, which will feature speaker Bill Ivey, former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Ivey led the arts transition team for President Barack Obama and is the author of Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights.
Dr. Peter M. Senge, noted author and senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning, will deliver the keynote address at 8:15 a.m., Friday, June 19. Senge will discuss how today's challenging times require innovative leadership. He is the author of the widely read book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.
Terre Jones, president and CEO of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, will discuss the foundation's innovative environmental initiative at the convention's closing address, 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 20. Following Jones' address artists Janet Echelman and Mildred Howard will present their selections of 40 exemplary national public art projects completed in 2008. The Public Art Year in Review is the only national award that specifically recognizes public art projects.
"Seattle is a creative capital that is taking the lead on many fronts," said Michael Killoren, director of Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the local host agency for the national convention. "We have the nation's most arts-related businesses per capita, and we've shown how one city can turn the tide on global warming and create jobs and opportunity by protecting the environment and promoting the arts. We look forward to hosting the nation's arts leaders and sharing the inspiring Seattle story through a series of sessions and art venture tours."
While worldwide leisure travel business remains soft, Seattle is expecting record convention business through mid-summer, thanks to many national meetings and conventions that were booked years ago.
"We're delighted to host this important cultural meeting," said Tom Norwalk, President & CEO of Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Seattle is one of the nation's great creative capitals and the perfect gathering place for the nation's arts and cultural leaders. Cultural tourism is a particularly important market for Seattle. Based on statistical data from American for the Arts, we know that nearly 40 percent of nonprofit arts audiences in King County travel from outside our area. Arts and culture enrich our quality of life, provide vital economic stimulus and serve as a powerful magnet to attract leisure travel and convention business."
The convention and meetings market is particularly important to Seattle's economy, accounting for more than 40 percent of Seattle's downtown hotel occupancy. Typically, convention delegates spend nearly twice as much while in town as leisure travelers and, on average, spend an extra 2.5 days sightseeing in and around Seattle before or after conventions.
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs promotes the value of arts and culture in communities throughout Seattle. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.
Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit economic development agency responsible for competitively marketing Seattle as a destination for meeting and convention groups and leisure travelers.
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, it has a record of 49 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.