My Top 5 AFTA Convention 2011 Takeaways

I’ve just returned, reinvigorated (and a little jet-lagged…), from the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego.  AFTA put together another great convention full of workshops, discussions, ARTventures and art, so there were many takeaways.  Here were my top 5:

5.  Arts organizations are engaging audiences in exciting ways with technology… 

A placard at the Museum of Photographic Arts. This QR code allows visitors to hear the music of Pablo Casals, the musician depicted in the accompanying photograph. (Try it!)

For a list of helpful tech tools, visit: Technology Resources for Arts Managers, Cool Web Apps for Arts & Cultural Organizations, and Great Resources for Arts & Cultural Organizations

4.  …but technology isn’t the only way!

A placard at the San Diego Natural History Museum asking visitors to vote, based on brief descriptions and images, on the exhibit they are most interested in seeing at "The Nat."

 3.  As another attendee mentioned, there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by other arts administrators.  Meeting people with a shared interest who come from completely different backgrounds is both bonding and eye-opening.  The passions and challenges are similar and the ideas that accompany them can be inspiring.

Emerging Leaders Reception--Photograph by Jack Foster Mancilla

2.  The importance of advocating for the arts can’t be stressed enough!  Throughout the convention I heard many compelling arts advocacy success stories—one from right in San Diego!  However, I heard just as many attendees admit they were not aware of the role arts advocacy plays in their communities or how they can help. 

 Here in New Jersey, you can get involved by simply becoming a member of ArtPride!  Click HERE to learn more.

1.  San Diego has some amazing art!  And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Southwestern College's Mariachi Garibaldi performing during the closing keynote.

"Nature's Berth" by Anne Oshman-- Part of the Port of San Diego public art exhibit, Urban Trees 7.

"Tree Pose" by Brennan Hubbell--Part of the Port of San Diego public art exhibit, Urban Trees 7.

"Coming Together" by Niki de St. Phalle-- Part of the Port of San Diego Tidelands Collection.

Want to see more Convention highlights?  Visit the Americans for the Arts website for photos, blog posts, videos and more!

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