Building Community through Storytelling

Sarah Pearce
Managing Director, Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the Sundance Institute provides and preserves space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Sarah Pearce, Managing Director of Sundance Institute, will share with us Robert Redford’s vision for the Institute he founded in 1981 and talk about how the wide variety of public and artist development programs create community around independent storytelling. This informal session is perfect for community leaders interested in film festivals and event management and for filmmakers/artists looking for more professional development opportunities.

Hollywood Backstory with Andrew Steele

Andrew Steele
Creative Director, Funny or Die

Andrew Steele grew up in Iowa City, graduated from the University of Iowa and wrote himself to a successful 25-year career in Television and Film. Currently he is the Creative Director of Funny or Die, a comedy web site and production company started by his friends, Judd Apatow, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Through an informal Q&A session, we’ll find out the path he traveled from Iowa to Hollywood, share a few laughs, and hear what he’s learned along the way.  

Sustaining Artist Networks

Noah Keesecker
Program Director of Artist Development, Springboard for the Arts

Building a career as an artist also means building strong networks and supportive communities. Springboard's Toolkits are a method to connect artists and communities through replicable project plans. Springboard's professional development curriculum "The Work of Art Toolkit" can guide your entrepreneurial projects from idea to action. We encourage local adaptations and believe that these projects work best when people work in partnership. Learn how to organize, connect, and activate your artists and communities.

Time, Space and Engagement: Artist Residencies in Community

Brad Kik
Board Member, Alliance on Artist Communities

As places deeply dedicated to the process, not the product of art-making, artist residencies have a unique role to play in the ecosystem of support services for artists. Far from the cliched model of a gated studio on the hill, with town and gown problems, the rapidly expanding network of artist residencies are inventing brave new models for community engagement.

Brad Kik of the Alliance of Artist Communities and Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology will lead a two part presentation—first on the basics of embedding a residency program in your institution (or just starting one from scratch) and then on the many ways residencies can facilitate exchange with the larger community. 

Creative Places: Public Art in Your Community

Kirstin Wiegmann
Consultant and Program Director, Forecast Public Art

Public art manifests itself in the public sphere in many ways—from site specific projects that directly engage with the physical nature of a site to artworks that find a home after they're created, to projects that are deeply rooted in the people, history and context of a specific place. Projects can be momentary or long lasting, monumental or intimate. Public art is powerful in its ability to shape human experience—through a place, through other people, and through ideas. This session will offer an overview of the pioneering work of Forecast Public Art. In addition to its international magazine Public Art Review and statewide grant program for artists, Forecast partners across sectors and promotes best practices for working with artists. Kirstin Wiegmann will engage attendees in an inspiring dialogue and offer resources vital to any successful public art program.

Tools for Art Business Management

Ela Troyano
Artist and Consultant, Creative Capital

Learn the essential components of managing your artistic practice, including managing relationships, hiring employees, contracts, negotiation, budgeting, cash flow, time management, space organization, marketing and business etiquette.

Fundraising. Not My Job!

Lori L. Jacobwith
Chief Fundraising Culture Changer & Master Storyteller

Asking for money is something most people simply don’t want to do. So between board & staff whose job is it to do the tasks that lead to getting more gifts from individuals? This session is designed to dispel some myths about the differences between fundraising and development. This is a high-energy, interactive session that will help you and your team identify ways to provide your board members, donors & staff with clear direction and guidance, even training, about how to participate in helping raise awareness & dollars so it feels rewarding and an integral part of their role. You’ll leave this session with concrete tools and techniques that will result in raising more money from individuals.

Creative Placemaking: Bringing Arts and Culture to the Community Planning and Development Table

Jamie Bennett
Executive Director, ArtPlace America

Jamie Bennett is the Executive Director of ArtPlace America. To date, ArtPlace has invested $85 million in 233 projects across 155 communities of all sizes in which artists and arts organizations are working with their neighbors to help shape their communities’ social, physical, and economic futures.  Jamie will share both the philosophy of this approach, as well as real world examples of what this looks like in practice.

Legal Protections for Independent Filmmakers

David Bright
President, Iowa Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Navigating the legal requirements of filmmaking can be tricky. Learn about how Iowa Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts can assist by providing legal services and technical expertise to filmmakers in Iowa. David Bright, President of Iowa Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, will address legal considerations for filmmakers, what to look for in filmmaking contracts and will leave plenty of time for Q and A. Bring your questions and concerns about how to cover all your legal bases when making film and media productions in Iowa.

The Artist Spark

Art does not happen without artists. The Artist Spark will feature the excellent and innovative work being done by artists across Iowa. This session will highlight selected artists who will have up to 3 minutes each to share their vision, idea or project with the session audience.


  • Rob Stephens
  • Austin Stewart
  • Larassa Kabel
  • Kathranne Knight
  • Rachel Buse
  • Lisa Schlesinger
  • Brent Holland
  • Jennifer Knox
  • Yun Shin
  • Akwi Nji
  • Catherine Reinhart

Flashes of Iowa Innovation

Find the pulse of the arts in Iowa! Flashes of Iowa Innovation will present innovative and exciting ideas for the arts in the state. This session will highlight selected presenters from Iowa organizations and communities who will have up to 3 minutes each to share their idea, initiative or story with the session audience.


  • Art: The Power to Change Community (Youth Art Team, Waterloo)
  • Porch Swings and Fireflies (Bondurant Development - Arts & Recreation, Bondurant)
  • The Afrofuture is Now: Introducing the Center for Afrofuturist Studies (Public Space One, Iowa City)
  • Steeple Square (Gronen Properties, Dubuque)
  • Healing, Hope, HeART (Living Proof Exhibit, Rock Island)
  • Malvern Artfully Growing (Malvern Area Betterment Association, Malvern)
  • Transforming Youth in Need Through Art (ArtForceIowa, Des Moines)
  • Art in the Park (Elkader Development Corporation, Elkader)
  • Iowa Music Project (Lucas Benson, Iowa City)
  • Partnering for Our Future - Forest City Arts Center (Forest City Community Schools and Economic Development, Forest City)
  • Artist in Residence (Ballet Des Moines, Des Moines)
  • Riverstages Reading Series (River Action, Davenport)
  • The Role of the Arts in Talent Attraction and Retention (Greater Des Moines Partnership, Des Moines)

Creating Connection: Changing Social Norms, Exploring Public Values, and Leveraging the Power of Creative Expression

David Fraher
President & CEO, Arts Midwest

National research and experiments in real time are revealing new approaches to communications and engagement that can help align your messaging with existing public values, broaden and diversify your audiences, and shape your programs to respond to changing public expectations and desires. Learn more about the data behind the social change movement, Creating Connection, and access strategies and resources you can take back to your organization to help you map your organization’s relationship to four core public values: growth, voice, well-being, and happiness.