February 23, 2010
I found out about Arts Midwest because of their annual conference. What a beautiful thing! - both the conference and my serendipitous discovery of it.
It seems like an oxymoron, but Arts Midwest has this arts conference thing down to a science. They are efficient and organized. They listen to feedback and adjust as (or if) appropriate. Being my first arts conference experience, they spoiled me. Subsequent conferences hosted by similar organizations have not met the benchmarks set by Arts Midwest in terms of organization, information sharing, caliber of participants, etc.
By their cooperation with and connection to both artists and presenters, I can only guess at the thousands of dollars saved by communities throughout their nine-state region. With Arts Midwest as the catalyst, fine and performing arts centers in communities large and small can bring the highest caliber of talent to their audiences. This is accomplished perhaps most immediately through the funding programs made available through AM. Also important, though less direct, are the educational workshops, seminars and round-table discussions at the conference. AM invests in career development for those willing souls who work at keeping the arts alive for the rest of the community. And then, by the showcases at the annual conference, they allow presenters to catch a 15-minute live audition by some amazingly talented artists which they might otherwise never get to see. Sure, they receive press kits all the time, and they might occasionally make a talent scouting trip to some other venue to assess one performer or performance. But the Midwest Arts Conference lets them scout dozens of performers in one extended trip.
These are just the obvious strengths of Arts Midwest's annual conference. I haven't even begun to mine the wealth of knowledge and cooperative spirit that I'm sure they bring to all their other programs. I'm sure that it takes a substantial budget to maintain the programs and to retain the knowledgeable staff. But when I think of how they help the community theaters and restored opera houses and other shoestring budget places bring world-class talent to their stages, I know that the world is getting a bargain in the Arts Midwest states. Please support Arts Midwest with whatever time, effort, funding or skill you can, because especially in times like these, "the show MUST go on."
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
finding and connecting with quality venues to match with my quality artists. This is especially hard for independent artists to do. The Midwest Arts Conference hosted by Arts Midwest provides almost a clearinghouse where talent can be matched with venues.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
find more funding in order to expand their grant programs.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the people are so helpful.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
maybe have a separate conference - and make it national, not regional, but held in the AM region - for 200-500 seat houses? AM knows how to do it, and that market could use the help.
Ways to make it better...
perhaps if there had been a New Colleague Pre-orientation via video conference or some other means perhaps a week before?
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
(same as most organizations and individuals these days) the economy.
One thing I'd also say is that...
I wish I had been ... smart enough? brave enough? to invest in participating in the conference sooner.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About once a year
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Client Served & I exhibited and showcased my artsit roster at the annual conference.