National Guild For Community Arts Education

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2015 Conference Session Proposal Guidelines

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2015

The Conference for Community Arts Education addresses the specific needs of nonprofit arts education organizations and provides the support they need to expand equitable access to arts learning opportunities in their communities. This year's conference will focus on creating a more favorable environment for our work through collaborations within and beyond the arts sector, strategic partnerships, research, leadership development, public will building, and other areas.

All arts education stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the conversation: arts education leaders, funders, policy makers, academics, researchers, and other allies, including those in non-arts sectors (e.g., youth development, health, education, etc.). Ensuring that all people enjoy access to quality arts learning opportunities throughout their lifespans requires a collective effort.

The program will include a wide range of events: full-day pre-conference training institutes, roundtables, workshops, working meetings, networking events, site visits, plenary sessions, consultations, panel presentations, and more. We will prioritize sessions in which participants work together to advance understanding and break new ground for the field.

Conference delegates represent nonprofit arts education organizations across the country, including 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.

Propose a session

After reviewing the guidelines below, use this form to propose a workshop, lecture, program showcase, panel presentation, or short presentation.

If there is an issue you would like to discuss and/or work on with colleagues from across the country as part of a roundtable or working group meeting, or if you would like to propose a different kind of event, please contact National Guild Director of Learning & Digital Media James Horton at

Anyone can propose a session, regardless of membership in the National Guild. The deadline to submit a proposal is April 30, 2015.

You will be notified as to whether your session has been accepted by August 7. 


 Example of topics that might be a good fit

  • Positioning nonprofit arts education providers as partners in cross-sector collaborations that address civic priorities
  • Efforts to provide arts education programs that meet the specific interests and needs of under-served communities, e.g., older adults, refugees, students with special needs or mental illness, incarcerated youth, military veterans, etc.
  • Documenting and communicating impact to improve practice and demonstrate the value of arts education
  • Cutting-edge methods for raising money; recruiting and retaining students; engaging families, communities, and trustees; involving alumni, using technology, etc.
  • Building and leveraging the leadership capacity of arts education professionals and stakeholders
  • Initiatives aimed at increasing society’s understanding and appreciation of the value of arts education
  • Efforts to build knowledge of community arts education by working with higher education, researchers, and other partners

We also encourage you to review last year’s conference program to get a sense of past presentations and relevant topics.

Characteristics of successful proposals

We are looking for sessions that:

  • focus on strategies and methodologies whose effectiveness has been substantiated
  • share information and ideas that can move the field forward
  • are of significant interest to a national audience
  • feature content experts who are also effective presenters—we also are interested in hearing from experts from beyond the field of arts education, e.g., researchers, policy makers, etc. (note that the maximum number of presenters/panelists is three)
  • are relevant to a multidisciplinary audience chiefly comprised of senior staff (e.g., executive directors, arts education division directors, program directors) of nonprofit arts education providers; trustees, funders, policy makers, and teaching artists comprise an important secondary audience
  • feature clearly defined and achievable learning objectives \
  • feature formats that align with adult learning styles and maximize audience participation. Because we value multiple perspectives, the Guild seeks to engage presenters who represent divergent perspectives, a diversity of backgrounds, artistic disciplines, geographic locations, etc. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Presenter/panelist registration

All workshop presenters and panelists must register for the conference; however, workshop presenters are eligible for discounts of $150 off the full (three day) conference registration rate or $75 off a single day registration. These discounts will be applied at the time of registration, after you have been notified whether your proposal has been accepted.

Presenters/panelists who are participating only in a single session and no other aspects of the conference may have their registration fees waived at the discretion of the National Guild.

Registration opens July 14, 2015. The early registration deadline is August 20. All presenters are required to register for the conference by the regular registration deadline of September 24, 2015.


James Horton, Director of Learning and Digital Media
National Guild for Community Arts Education
(212) 268-3337 x12

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