NPAC Wrap-up

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NPAC Wrap-up

3,600 Participants - Representing All Performing Arts Disciplines - Converge on Denver for Successful National Performing Arts Convention

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Jose Antonio Abreu and dancer Germaine Acogny who participated in the Radical Ideas from Beyond the Border General Session (photo: Glenn Ross)

Organizers of the National Performing Arts Convention (NPAC) are pleased to announce that 4,000 people attended the Denver convening, held from June 10 to 14.  The convention succeeded in bringing together over 700 performing artists and members of 30 national arts service organizations: uniting the performing arts sector to tackle their shared challenges and learn best-practices from each other.

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Anna Deavere Smith at NPAC (photo: Glenn Ross)

Nearly 100 speakers and presenters of note participated in the conference, including Opening plenary speakers Anna Deavere Smith, Bill Rauch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Denver mayor John Hickenlooper; business guru Jim Collins, Baltimore Symphony music director Marin Alsop and Venezuelan music education phenomenon Jose Antonio Abreu; Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and the current and former National Endowment for the Arts chairs Dana Gioia and Bill Ivey. These keynote speakers addressed the NPAC themes that resonated with all the participating art forms, namely: sustainability; the nurturing or artists; arts education for all; broadening participation; the role of public policy; collaboration and diversity.   A full list of speakers and presenters can be found at performingartsconvention.org.

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NPAC speaker Jim Collins (photo: Glenn Ross)

In addition to the wide variety of programming, the convention center's upper level was abuzz with ArtsTown and its 224 exhibitors, live performances, a smART Bar, "public library" and bookstore, POP Cyber Café and the U.S. component of the Prague Quadrennial Exhibit.  The smART Bar alone offered over 230 one-on-one consultations with experts and overflowed its capacity.  Throughout the convention, Denver was also filled with 126 live performances in and around NPAC, offered by more than 50 performing companies, many of whom adjusted their normal schedules so their seasons coincided with NPAC. 

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NPAC's smART Bar (photo Glenn Ross)

The official NPAC blog 'Program Notes', hosted by ArtsJournal, started with ten established arts bloggers, one per week for ten weeks leading up to the convention, writing on different topics that corresponded to NPAC sessions.  Session leaders were then provided with the bloggers' comments as a jumping-off point for their live sessions.  The second part of 'Program Notes' continued the digital effort, commenced at NPAC with 17 diverse attendees reporting their thoughts and impressions to offer readers as many perspectives on the convention as possible.  Entries on sessions, networking events and performances were posted and an open comment field existed for general discussion. This framework provided both a "big picture" going into Denver and a "nuts and bolts" during the convention.

Empowered by the feedback from the Town Meeting and an online survey of all participants, the outcomes and future direction of NPAC will be extensively discussed over the next several months.  During this time NPAC's full value and suitability as a vehicle for bringing together the non-profit performing arts community, and the response to the issues of concern to the sector, will be fully evaluated to guide a decision about the ongoing future collaboration and activities of the performing arts field.

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Jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves performing at NPAC (photo: Glenn Ross)

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