Posted 1.17.18

Reflections from the First Annual Artists Thrive Summit & Looking Forward to 2018

At the inaugural Artists Thrive Summit in September 2017, 150 arts supporters from across the country came together in Berea, KY to celebrate, elevate, and proclaim the necessity of valuing artists. The Summit included three days of conversation, connections, poetry, and performances, culminating with the public launch of the Artists Thrive assessment tools

The Artists Thrive Summit featured a range of opportunities to learn from each other and from place. We explored how we can all work together for artists and communities to thrive including sessions on how to create and practice change with Centers for Whole Communities and thinking about power, vulnerability, and language with Mitzi Sinnott. With this grounding, participants engaged in value-drive conversations with thought leaders nationwide around key topics drawn from the Artists Thrive tools such as Advocacy, Funding Artists, Organizational Capacity, and more.

The Summit also created ample space for “mission time” ranging from deep conversations to hands-on art-making to unstructured time for connecting with peers. In addition, we traveled a couple of hours away from the conference site to visit the rural Appalachian towns of Hazard, Hindman, and Whitesburg where we learned from how these communities are utilizing the arts as engines of re-imagination and revitalization. Throughout the experience, we immersed ourselves in the unique community of Berea and had a “taste of Kentucky” including local arts, crafts, bluegrass music, food, and, of course, bourbon.

As we reflect back on our time together, we were moved by realizing how many of us there are working to improve how artists are valued and to create the conditions for artists to thrive! We know that interaction propels us beyond the ability of the individual and feel strong momentum coming out of the inaugural Summit.

We’ll be announcing dates and details for the 2018 Artists Thrive Summit in the coming months. Sign up to receive info about the 2018 Summit.

In the meantime, here are a few ways you can continue to engage with this growing movement (or dive right in, for those of you who weren’t able to join us in Berea):

Input: Share your thoughts on the newly hatched work-in-progress Artists Thrive tools. All input is welcome! You might offer first impressions, specific edits, general suggestions, and more. Let us know how you’re using Artists Thrive and also how it’s not working for you!

Learn: Hear stories from colleagues around the country about their experiences struggling, surviving, and thriving. Explore the resources on rubrics and assessmentSign up for a demo to walk through the tools together. 

Connect: Tell us how you would like to collaborate with others on the Artists Thrive movement!