Midwest Arts Conference is “Grand”!

The 25th annual Midwest Arts Conference, a program of Arts Midwest, was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Wednesday, September 12 – Saturday, September 15, 2012, Attended by nearly 1,000 performing artists, managers, and agents; performing arts presenters/venues; and arts administrators from throughout the United States and beyond, the four-day conference is filled with opportunities to network, learn, and experience live performing arts.

During the Conference, attendees can connect with colleagues; access some of the best performing artists in the nation in our high-energy Marketplace, where the business of booking happens (much of what Midwest audiences will see on stages in the 2013—2014 performing arts season will be discussed in the 2012 Marketplace); experience live performances or perform in showcases; and learn new skills and enrich their knowledge at a wide range of professional development sessions. The Conference serves the 15 states represented by Arts Midwest and its sister regional arts organization Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Also included was the business and block-booking meetings (and my personal favorite, the “family dinner”) of the Wisconsin Presenters Network, and of course, time to re-connect with colleagues. It’s a series of 18-hour days, but the days are filled with a lot of energy and fun. And it begins the process that reaches its height with the January Top100 Survey, and the eventual selection of the 2013-14 season.

During the all-conference luncheon, I had the honor of delivering, along with colleague Jim O’Connell of Wausau, a conference tribute to the late Robert Bluestone, a “friend to The Grand” and a fixture on the conference scene, who left us this past March.

Grand Rapids was a surprisingly beautiful and vibrant city, and the host hotel, the Amway Grand (nice name) was a beautifully restored historic building—right up my alley!

And so….even as we look forward to the beginning of the 2012-13 season in a few weeks, the planning for 2013-14 has begun! Photos of the conference may be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artsmidwest/sets/72157631525715370/with/7988149554/

Rob Anthony kicks off the new afterWALK series in the Grand Lounge, October 6 at 8 PM. See you then!

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