wow! i showed up for a free conference at san francisco's herbst theater yesterday. even considered not going. but since i went, looks like i've had a life-changing experience.
what was it? the *dynamic adaptability conference: new thinking and new strategies for the arts*. when introduced by the director of grants for the arts at city and county of san francisco (yes, we have that), kary schulman explained how the conference planning committee decided to design the kind of conference art world professionals would pay thousands of dollars to attend... but let's make it free!
ah, the power of free!
i would have been suspicious that the conference was jenky, except for the option to reserve your own box lunch! for free also! at that point during pre-registration i felt they must have excellent funding.
turns out the wallace foundation is in the middle of a four year grant with an over $7 million budget. their charge is basically to research best practices for artists to be supported, promoted, sustained. which in turn builds and sustains our communities.
the agenda of the 9am-5pm conference covered
- the brain science behind creating and appreciating art,
- data and stats on the professional lives of artists and how to best engage with their audience,
- inspiration for creating a deeper connection between artists and their communities, and finally
- an overview of demographic and technological changes
the highlight of the day came for me at the beginning with johah lehrer's presentation on the science behind decision-making. the research he shared helped illustrate that there is a scientific reason behind things we do. for me, the data released some of the burden that *i should be different, better, faster...* and he also provided a solution for success: being educated on how the mind functions, accepting the mechanisms of how we work, and staying focused on harnessing the strengths of these outcomes.
in fact, the whole tone of the day was highly focused on what's *right* in our artistic worlds. there was a lot of good news. as artists, we've already accepted a life-long recession. topics of the day pointed out ways to hyper-succeed at leveraging our best practices, of engaging with our communities, of bringing excitement and joy into the lives of our audience members, making them part of the process, bringing us all together.
all in all it's pretty simple and straight-forward:
find art you like. have a better life.
*i'll be sharing more specifics of my experience at this conference over the next week, including a list of actionable take-aways! chime in if you were at the conference or have heard about the organizations or presenters who participated!