I was in Vegas last weekend to attend the annual Americans for the Arts (AFTA) convention. It was my first time attending and it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. There were sessions on Leadership, Community Development, and Economic Development that were of interest to me, and I attended a few things every day. It was so unlike AWP—which, I have to admit, I enjoyed much more this year.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I took much away from many of the sessions. I did attend a really nice discussion of issues surrounding revenue-generating programs in nonprofits, and I also attended the absolute worst leadership session I’ve ever encountered in my whole entire life. Those were the highs and lows, aside from what I mentioned yesterday.
There were two parts that were of great value to me, though. The first was meeting and listening to the other members of the “Emerging Leaders” group (professionals in the nonprofit arts industry who have only a few years of experience or are new leaders in their organizations). They are an amazing, dynamic, smart, and interesting group of people, all so invested in what they are doing and why they’re doing it.
I also got to spend time with some other arts professionals from Arizona, and they were dreamy. Thanks, all!
As someone who organizes a conference, it is so interesting to attend other conferences. I routinely found myself thinking, “Oh, I would not have done it that way at all,” and “What a great idea!” depending on the situation. It’s helpful to experience–as an attendee–other approaches to conference structure and planning. I got some good ideas from them this year.