Top Notch Professionals at Arts Midwest were assigned to The Big Read, and for that we are most grateful. They made the grant experience understandable, and of the greatest value possible for our community.
As the development officer for a library district in New York State, I have worked with Arts Midwest for four years in connection with The Big Read. I have been extremely impressed by the level of expertise demonstrated by their staff and also very appreciative of their friendliness, patience and willingness to do all they can to support a client organization such as ours.
I had the pleasure of working with Arts Midwest on The Big Read 2009. I serve as the public information officer for the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and it was my first experience with The Big Read so I definitely had a lot of questions and concerns. I found that Christine, Birdie, Angharad and the entire Arts Midwest staff to be extremely helpful and responsive. I was very impressed with how smoothly the initial Big Read Orientation event went, as there were close to 1,000 people in attendance, and it became obvious from the way we were greeted at the airport to the time we departed that a "well-oiled machine" was running the show. Their obvious enthusiasm for promoting literature through community involvement is contagious, and there was never a question too obvious or a concern too small for them, they were a wonderful partner in what turned out to be an unforgettable experience for me and the community I serve.
We are a grantee under the Shakespeare for a New Generation program. I have found Arts Midwest responsvie, friendly, interested in all program results-not just the rave reviews. Reminders are friendly, materials very professional and timely.
We have benefitted great from Arts Midwest and their work with the Performing Arts Fund and with The Big Read Program. We have been a part of the Big Read program for four years in a row. We're hoping for a fifth.
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."
Arts Midwest is a well-run organization which provides valuable programming and support to presenters, artists and agents throughout the region. I have attended the Midwest Arts Conference nearly every September since 2004. The conference is an excellent opportunity for professional development, networking and connecting with artists and agents for future performances. Quad City Arts has received Performing Arts Fund grants from Arts Midwest for more than 10 years. This program helps us reach students of all ages and backgrounds through educational outreach performances by professional artists. We've also been a host site for the Midwest World Fest - an excellent opportunity to bring in international performing artists our rural and urban communities may otherwise never see. Arts Midwest staff is always friendly, knowledgable and energetic - we look forward to our continued partnerships in the future.
The 2009 Midwest Arts Conference was one of my first encounters with Arts Midwest. However, I quickly learned how so much of what Arts Midwest does has great impact on my life in many realms: as a student of the arts, an arts patron, and a future arts administrator. The Arts Midwest staff took me under their wings and provided me with a wealth of knowledge and support. They truly have one of the hardest working teams of any arts organization I have encountered, and showed me that through working hard, asking questions, and having a little fun, I can achieve my goals in Arts Administration. The programming and support they provide is so valuable and helps not only organizations, but individuals like myself, achieve their goals.
I realize that five stars means "far exceeds expectations" but after working with Arts Midwest for more than five years I came to expect nothing less than exemplary execution of any and all projects. As the former Director of Communications at the National Endowment for the Arts, I can attest first-hand to the professionalism, dedication, and expertise of Arts Midwest. We could not have asked for a better partner in multiple artistic programs of artistic excellence with democratic reach that benefited all corners of the country.