Animation is an art. Democracy is something entirely different. When you put the two together, you get a toolbox for delivering the country’s communities, large and small, from a place in time that has devastated them.
Communities are beginning to reinvent themselves as they emerge from the recession, crafting a future that comes from collaborations of arts, business and government resources. Not a conference, but a collection of people, interests, talents and more, the Nevada Arts Council’s annual “Arts@theHeart” is called a convening, this year with the foundation that place matters and that animating democracy helps create better places.
Barbara Schaffer Bacon will speak to about 125 of Nevada’s urban, rural and remote community representatives at the convening April 22 and 23 at the Siena Hotel Spa and Casino in Reno. Bacon is co-director of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading non-profit advocacy organization for advancing arts and arts education. Based in Amherst, Mass., she specializes in teaching the fundamentals of local arts management. She also shares successful partnerships built to be potent contributors to community, civic and social change.
Bacon is president of the Arts Extension Institute, Inc. and serves on the board of WomanArts. She has worked as a consultant in program design and evaluation for state and local arts agencies and private foundations nationally. She previously served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts. In 2011 she was appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to serve as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
“Creative place-making is a national movement, and artists and arts leaders play a role,” Bacon said. “We’ll take a national tour of rural and urban places that are engaging residents and attracting tourists by developing creative assets through authentic engagement and partnerships. We’ll talk about making and marketing vibrant places and events. Then imagine your unique, creative community narrative – complete with people, places and traditions, and stories that are important to your neighbors, and potentially interesting to visitors and tourists.”
Recognizing that creating a place contributes to economic vitality
“Place Matters,” will help explore the role that arts play in defining and designing neighborhoods and communities.
“It really is all about civic engagement,” said Susan Boskoff, Nevada Arts Council executive director. “For anyone looking for new and inventive ways to strengthen communities, the arts offer great opportunities to combine inspiration with economic development. We wind up, quite simply, with better place to live, work and recreate. It’s pretty cool when it happens.”
The 2013 Arts@theHeart topics of discussion include Arts Leadership in the Public Arena; Nevada Community Catalyst Network; A Postcard From…What will I Write Home About?; The Arts = Building Communities; The Arts Incubator of the Rockies – Working for Nevada; and Growing Your Online Presence: Travel Nevada Shares its Social Media Practices. Speakers are:
- Beth Flowers, executive director, Beet Street, Ft. Collins, CO
- Eileen Carter, communications specialist, Nevada Commission on Tourism
- Chris Moran, public relations specialist, Nevada Commission on Tourism
- Amy Finchem, director/founder, COLAB, Las Vegas
- Stacey Spain, executive director, Sierra Arts, Reno
- Shelley Hartmann, executive director, Mineral County Economic Development Authority, Hawthorne, NV
The convening includes an evening event at the National Automobile Museum and two art slams — an opportunity for organizations to tell their story in 20 images or less— in under four minutes and with few words.
“Imagine telling a compelling story about your community and its valued elements – the people, the diversity of cultures, the arts, the neighborhoods, the architecture, the public spaces, the hidden gems – but having only a very short period of time to do so,” Boskoff said. “Ten Nevada communities, in slide or video presentations, will share an insider’s perspective of their towns or neighborhoods and the role that the arts and culture play in creating a sense of place.”
Carson City, Ely, Eureka, Fernley, Hawthorne, Lovelock, Reno, Tuscarora, West Las Vegas and the Nevada Humanities (presenting a Nevada overview) –will share their ArtSlam creations at Arts @ the Heart.
The Arts Council also is encouraging architects and planners to attend the convening, as they play an integral role in the way design shapes community character. Continuing education credit is offered.
Professional development grants of up to $350 are available to cover costs associated with attending the convening, except the $65 registration fee. To be eligible, applicants must live at least 50 miles from the conference site.
The 2013 Arts @ the Heart Convening is co-sponsored by Sierra Arts Foundation, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Automobile Museum, Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. For information call (775) 687-6680, email [email protected] or visit nevadaculture.com.
The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, is the agency charged with ensuring that state and national funds support cultural activity and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada. In addition to providing hundreds of grants to arts and community-based organizations, schools, artists and local municipalities throughout the state, the Arts Council coordinates a variety of statewide programs and activities such as the annual Poetry Out Loud recitation competition for high-school aged students, traveling exhibits, artist residencies, workshops and cultural assessments. For more information, please visit the department’s website at nac.nevadaculture.org/.