Art Works Blog

Art Works at Arts Midwest

Minneapolis, Minnesota

David Fraher at last year's Midwest Arts Conference with Megan Vetsch, the first David J. Fraher Future Leader. Then a marketing assistant at the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Vetsch is now the Operations and Marketing Manager in the Fine Arts Department at the College of St. Ben?s/St. John?s University in Minnesota. Photo courtesy Arts Midwest

Each year at our Midwest Arts Conference we create, develop, and provide a variety of professional development sessions and skill building seminars. To enhance this leadership training at the conference and provide a platform for seasoned presenters, artists, and managers to engage with the next generation of arts administrators, we are developing new ways for young professionals to experience Conference events. In honor of my 25th anniversary in 2009 as the Executive Director of Arts Midwest, my friends and colleagues created the David J. Fraher Future Leaders Fund, a scholarship program that provides full admission to a young arts administrator to attend the conference. Through leadership shadowing and educational sessions on topics such as presenting, marketing, and fundraising, Future Leaders not only gain insights into the field, they also provide a fresh perspective on marketing and technology trends for mid- and late-career attendees. We introduced the first Future Leader at the 2009 Conference, and I look forward to engaging with two new emerging leaders selected for this year?s Conference in Indianapolis.

In addition to strengthening the industry at the national level, Arts Midwest coordinates two learning initiatives designed to share best practices, inspire creativity, and build individual and organizational capacities for Minnesota arts institutions. ArtsLab, sponsored by a special collaborative of Minneapolis-St. Paul foundations, is a robust three-year program focused on strengthening industry infrastructure and leadership through peer learning, professional consultation, and support grants. The Arts Learning Xchange, a four-year knowledge sharing and research project supported by The Wallace Foundation, is designed to foster growth in public arts attendance by identifying and developing strategies for local arts organizations to deepen their relationships with patrons and supporters.

Leadership, creativity, and innovative thinking in arts administration have never been more necessary or in such great demand. Arts Midwest?s local and national programs form the foundation of our leadership development initiatives---and they provide us with diverse and exciting ways to serve and strengthen the arts industry. As we begin to realize the potential and increasing demand for programs such as these, we eagerly look to expand our reach to emerging and seasoned professionals across the visual and performing arts fields.

Visit the Arts Midwest website to learn more about its programs.

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