A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Arts Council co-sponsoring second annual Artists Thrive Summit July 31-Aug. 3 in Berea

The Kentucky Arts Council, along with the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the AIR Institute of Berea College, will present the second annual Artists Thrive Summit July 31-Aug. 3 in Berea.

This is the second consecutive year Artists Thrive has held its annual convocation in Berea. The summit is geared toward artists, arts organizations, elected officials, foundations, economic development agencies and other arts stakeholder groups. The conference programming will demonstrate how those groups can collaborate to create a thriving creative atmosphere in communities.

“Artists Thrive is a suite of tools that is available through a free website designed to cause all of us who work with artists to evaluate whether we are setting up conditions for artists to thrive,” said Heather Pontonio, senior program director with the Tremaine Foundation. “If you’re an artist, are you doing what you need to do not just to succeed, but to thrive? This is the first time in the arts world that we’re taking a look at holistic measures that need to be taken to be an artist who thrives.”

“This is not a ‘sit-and-get-lectured-at’ conference,” Pontonio added. “There will be table conversations, interactions and a real desire to build up communities all across the country using Artists Thrive to meet those goals.”

The four-day summit is a chance for national arts leaders and artists to come together and change the way the creative community thinks about its work, said Beth Flowers, a member of the Artists Thrive Summit steering committee and director of the AIR Institute of Berea College.

“It allows us to clearly define what success looks like for an individual artist, organizations that work with artists, like economic development organizations or hospitals, and organizations that specifically work to support artists, like local arts councils,” Flowers said.

The summit agenda includes sessions on putting the Artists Thrive tool to work in communities, building networks and other guided conversations. On Aug. 2, there will be a daylong learning journey including stops in Berea, Harlan and Corbin. Participants will learn about the creative sector’s role in those respective communities. Transportation will be provided.

Among the benefits of participating in the four-day gathering, especially for individual artists, is an opportunity to be part of a national movement to build a sustainable career in the arts.

“And who doesn’t want to be at that table?” Flowers said. “You’ll get to meet people from across the country who care about artists, how we view art and how we evaluate it.”

The summit is also a good opportunity for elected officials and other government administrators to learn how to acquaint themselves with their own local artists.

“That interaction doesn’t always happen because there’s a perceived disconnect. Local government and artists within a community may not see each other as potential resources,” Flowers said. “If a government official is a little nervous about starting that conversation, the summit is a great opportunity for them to dip their toe into the nuances of the creative economy.”

Representatives from the Mountain Association for Community and Economic Development attended the summit last year and will attend again in 2018. Peter Hilley, MACED president, said that the conference programming is a natural fit for his organization, which has helped artists who are interested in selling their work get started in business.

“MACED sees creative economy as one of several critical sectors that play an important role in building a new economy in Eastern Kentucky,” Hilley said. “The link between the creative economy and economic development is well documented. Part of that is creating communities that are liveable. People see the opportunity to relocate to those communities, and the creative economy is a part of that.”

The four-day gathering also is a massive networking opportunity for all levels of the creative economy, Flowers said, adding that at last year’s conference, 24 representatives from organizations that provide funding to nonprofit arts groups attended.

“Last year, national level leaders in the arts were really influenced by what was going on in Berea,” Pontonio said. “There were a lot of stories that came out of last year’s gathering about organizations that partnered with others and artists who have collaborated with other artists. About half of group will be from outside the Appalachian region. There’s national influence in this as well.”

Artists Thrive Summit registration is $100, but Artists Thrive is allowing Kentucky residents to register for $25, using the promo code KYART on the registration page. That fee applies only to the main summit. Participants will have to register and pay for pre- and post-summit activities.

For more information about the Artists Thrive Summit, contact Emily B. Moses, arts council executive staff advisor, at 502-892-3109 or emilyb.moses@ky.gov.

From Kentucky Arts Council

Related Posts

Leave a Comment