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Home > About > News and Events > News > Guild News > 800+ Arts Education Stakeholders Assemble in Bay Area for 80th Annual Conference for Community Arts

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800+ Arts Education Stakeholders Assemble in Bay Area for 80th Annual Conference for Community Arts Education

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Jul 26, 2017

Registration is now open for the 80th annual Conference for Community Arts Education to be held in San Francisco and Oakland, November 15-18, 2017. Over 800 arts education leaders and stakeholders, representing more than 350 arts education organizations and agencies from across the U.S., will convene at the Westin St. Francis Hotel and at arts organizations throughout the Bay Area, to gain practical strategies, share advice, and collaborate to increase the positive impact of arts learning on individual lives and healthy communities across the country. This year’s conference will focus on leadership development, organizational sustainability, and the vital role that arts education plays in promoting healing, human development, and racial equity.

The conference program features sessions, roundtables, and special events in Creative Youth Development, Leadership Development, Arts in Education, Community Partnerships, Arts Management, Arts and Healing, and Social Justice. Special early registration pricing offers substantial savings and is available until September 7. For program details and registration, visit

Program Highlights:

  • Opening Keynote: The Art of Justice (Nov. 16, 10:00–11:30am) with Hasan Davis, J.D., who turned his own life experience into a career promoting creative youth development from both inside the justice system, as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Juvenile Justice, and beyond.   
  • National Awards (Annual Awards Breakfast, Nov. 18, 8:00–10:00am): The Guild will recognize two extraordinary leaders for their contributions to the field. Lara Davis, Strategic Advisor at Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and co-founder of the Guild’s ALAANA Member Network will receive the 2017 National Service Award in recognition of her tremendous service to the Guild and to the field, particularly in promoting racial equity and social justice. Ellen Michelson, president and founder of Aroha Philanthropies, will receive the 2017 National Leadership Award in recognition of her transformative and strategic approach to grantmaking and research, which have been significant drivers in advancing the arts and aging field and amplifying the impact of teaching artistry.
  • Preconferences (Nov. 15, 9:30am–4:30pm) led by master trainers will be held in Oakland, CA, and provide in-depth opportunities for delegates to gain practical skills and new insights into leadership development, creative aging, nonprofit sustainability, racial equity, and trauma-informed practice.
  • Special Events Focused on Healing and Youth Voice:
    o   Bay Area and national youth will participate in an Emerging Young Artist Residency (Nov. 16–18). Hosted by Destiny Arts Center for up to 20 performing artists, ages 14–16, the residency will offer young people an opportunity to collaborate with leading teaching artists and their peers in the creation of original performance pieces that explore critical social issues connected to conference themes. The residency will culminate in a 10–15 minute performance at the Annual Awards Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 18. 
    o   Working in Trauma-Impacted Communities: Building the Capacity for Self-Care to Better Care for Others (Nov. 17, 2:00–8:00pm) led by Shawn Ginwright, a leading national expert on youth activism, youth development, health and healing. This special program will include a workshop, a site visit to the RYSE Center in Richmond, and a group dinner.
  • Site Visits (Nov. 18, 10:30am–3:30pm): These in-depth, off-site sessions at exemplary arts education sites across the Bay Area will introduce conference-goers from across the country to some of the Bay Area’s many inspiring programs and providers including Luna Dance Institute, ODC Dance, Community School of Music and Arts, Destiny Arts Center, Youth Radio, The Crucible, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre

The Conference for Community Arts Education is the leading national gathering for nonprofit arts education leaders representing arts and cultural centers, community arts schools, preparatory programs, performing arts companies, youth serving organizations (e.g., Boys and Girls Clubs of America), museums, and other agencies. Some organizations provide classes and lessons in their own facilities; others collaborate with senior centers, hospitals, public schools, and other agencies to increase access to arts education. Many do both. This diversity of backgrounds creates unique opportunities for delegates to connect with peers, explore new partnerships, and grow. Funders, policy makers, academics, researchers, and other allies, including those in non-arts sectors (e.g., youth development, health, education, etc.), are also encouraged to attend. Ensuring that all people enjoy access to quality arts learning opportunities throughout their lifespans requires a collective effort.

Major supporters of the National Conference include Adobe Foundation, Aroha Philanthropies, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Music Man Foundation, The Royal Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Arts Commission, and TriNet.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.