2010 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference:
Navigating the Art of Change 2.0

Sunday, October 17 – Wednesday, October 20
Westin Michigan Avenue
909 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, 60611

here do we stand when the world is changing around us? How do we respond in an ever-changing en­vi­ron­ment? Is this the new status quo? Join your col­leagues in Chicago for an artistic journey that will provide new learning, networking, professional growth opportunities, and insights into the ways that funders are responding to and changing best practices in this new economy. Chicago’s ar­chi­tec­tural heritage, energetic cultural scene, and vibrant neigh­bor­hoods will act as both a backdrop and laboratory for our inves­ti­ga­tion of our evolving practices and our examination of the state of arts philanthropy. Change is the new status quo. Welcome to the future.

Act 1, Scene 1: The Grantmakers in the Arts 2010 Conference

Time: Mid-October

Setting: The Westin Hotel on North Michigan Avenue, in Chicago, Theater Capital of the United States.

Cast of Characters: Hundreds of arts funders, arts administrators and artists. Plus hotel staff.

Weather: In Peter’s version, there is rain, rain and more rain with the threat of snow. In Michelle’s version, the days are gloriously sunny with temperatures in the 70s; while the nights are clear and cool without being cold.

Scene: A hotel ballroom. It is early evening. Lights up on two fabulous conference co-chairs, Michelle Boone and Peter Handler. Wild applause even before they speak. In the rear of the hall, someone begins to chant, “Four more years. Four more years.” Soon, the whole hall is chanting. Michelle and Peter break character and acknowledge the chants. They smile. The audience settles down. Peter turns to Michelle.

Peter: So, Michelle. You really think it won’t rain?

Michelle: Not on this parade!

(The crowd roars and thunderous applause starts up again.)

Michelle: Please, please, everyone take your seats. This is embarrassing!

(Slowly, the crowd settles into their seats, perched on the very edges of their chairs, eager to hear the co-chairs speak.)

Peter: Funny you should mention parades, because I think that’s, like, the only thing we didn’t plan for the conference. We’ve got almost everything else. You think we need one? A parade?

(Pause. Utter silence. The crowd doesn’t know if this is a joke or not. Peter begins to visibly melt. Michelle comes to the rescue.)

Michelle: With dynamic sessions on technology, capitalization, policy, advocacy, social justice, and education, and parties at museums, and performances of poetry, music, and late-night cabaret, all steps away from shopping, food, and The American Girl store, who needs a parade?

(The crowd leaps back to their feet and applauds loudly! The band begins to play “My Kind of Town” and everyone sings along. Confetti falls from the ceiling. Peter is relieved.)

Peter: So what you’re saying is, even if it rains, we’ll look like stars?

(A few laughs. Polite applause.)

Michelle: Listen to you. We’re supposed to welcome everyone to Chicago. And talk about how much we’ve planned for everyone to do.

Peter: Okay. I can do that. Ready?

(Lights fade. The conference begins.)