The Art of Creative Conversations – Crossposted with EALDC

Fall is such a busy time at EALDC — and I know it’s a busy time for a lot of you, too! — but October in particular provides one of my favorite opportunities to see what people are thinking about across the field. This October will be my first National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) as the Membership Marketing Coordinator for Americans for the Arts, but as a long-time EALDC fan supporter prior to becoming co-chair, NAHM has long been on my radar thanks to Creative Conversations!

Creative Conversations are exactly what they sound like—members of the arts field get together to talk about trends, brainstorm about challenges, and explore new ideas. There are a lot of different ways to have a Creative Conversation—you can do brown bag lunches, panel discussions, longer workshops, and even full day symposia—but the most important thing is to have one!

Our annual Creative Conversation at EALDC is in a panel format, but we’ve found these discussions to be so valuable that we try to make space for them as much as possible. Our programming includes a second Spring Education Panel and monthly First Friday Lunch discussions, in addition to our Fall Creative Conversation.

This year, our panel series is a two-parter about nontraditional funding structures. We’ll convene experts on what those structures are in the fall. In the spring, we’ll speak to the people who interact with those organizations—funders, lawyers, and freelance employees, for example—to learn more about the role these organizations play in the broader arts ecosystem. I’m excited to moderate the fall conversation and looking forward to learning more about the panelists our awesome events committee has been working to pull together!

Past topics have included public art, risk-taking, and the art of negotiation. It’s been great to see how easily applicable some of these things have been for our members—and for me! The risk-taking panel introduced me to several case studies that I was able to use in my thesis about ways museums can make bold choices with their mission in mind, and our negotiations experts used their Q & A period to offer real-time coaching about conversations that artists and arts administrators often feel unprepared to have. I was lucky enough to moderate that panel, as well, and we had the opportunity to cover formal negotiations for full-time positions and freelancers, as well as how you use negotiation in your every day life. Both sessions provided tools that were immediately applicable for attendees. This year, I suspect we’re in for more of the same: immediately applicable skills and knowledge — the best kind, right?

I hope you’ll join us for our Creative Conversation on October 19th, but either way I encourage you to get out there this fall and talk to each other! Not in DC? Want to have your own conversation some time in October? Americans for the Arts has resources that can help get you started including webinarsresearch, and a quick primer on Creative Conversations.

Be sure to let us know about the conversations you’re having this October—formal or otherwise—via email and social media. Use the hashtags #myEALDC and #CreativeConversation to help people find your thoughts. And live tweeters are always welcome when I moderate!

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