Grantmakers in the Arts 2011 Conference:
Embracing the Velocity of Change

Sunday, October 9Wednesday, October 12
Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason Street
San Francisco, California, 94108

Each year, Grantmakers in the Arts invites funders from across the country to pause from our daily routines, assess the state of the field, and share emerging research and best practices. As we immersed ourselves this year in the conference planning process, one thing became quickly apparent: Whichever direction we looked, things were changing, and they were changing faster and more frequently than ever before. Like it or not, we're not going to escape it. We ignore it at our peril, so our best option is to embrace it and move forward.

Three broad interlocking themes emerged from this planning: changing demographics, changing technology, and changing understanding of arts and social justice.

San Francisco and the greater Bay Area provide the ideal landscape and resources for our exploration of these themes. It is no secret that California is the bellwether of demographic change, and new immigrant populations and cultures further enhance this rich mix of peoples and traditions. We have deep roots in social justice, progressive activism, and innovation. The area is home to the one of the greatest concentrations of arts organizations per capita and the highest arts participation rates in the country.

We listened to your suggestions and used them to shape our conference agenda. More than half the presentations come from GIA members. Additional input from committees on technology, support for individual artists, arts and social justice, and arts education played a large role in developing content. In response to members' ideas on increasing participatory programming, we devoted a large number of session slots to “salons” designed to address topics through interactive conversation, rather than traditional panels.

At the root of all support for arts and culture, is the work of the individual artist. In this conference you will find artists as the majority of keynote presenters, artists in breakout sessions and leading salons, artists both developing and participating in preconferences, and artists featured in a special conference edition of the GIA Reader.

Two preconferences are offered this year. The first preconference focuses on support for Individual Artists and Art and Social Justice, and explores the ways artists are changing the world, as well as new ways we can support that work. A second preconference takes advantage of our proximity to Silicon Valley by examining the intersection of Art and Technology.

GIA membership comprises a wide diversity of funders with markedly different priorities, strategies, and methods. The conference themes of changing demographics, technology, and social justice touch on all our grantmaking work. In turn, we challenge you to take a look at the conference schedule and consider choices outside of your traditional comfort zone so you might experience something new. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco!