Performing Arts: Theater
January 19, 2023
Still reeling from two years of culture changing life, artists, presenters, producers and supporters gathered at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan to reconnect and share visions of hope.

Ready to welcome the crowds, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) Director Lisa Richards happily noted that nearly 40 of attendees were first timers. She invited everyone to take time over the space of the conference to make clear their dreams and concerns.

Opening the seminar, Chuck Schumer applauded the artists for their grit and the audience applauded him for his tireless support of the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. His appearance tied into each speaker's mantra: Meet your representatives. Introduce yourselves and turn your organization's work into a partnership with the community.

Multiple workshops, affinity group sessions, performances and networking meetings flowed in and around the Hilton.

In one session, artists gave a 5 minute pitch to a room full of presenters and producers . Most started with an introduction, followed by a video or slides, succinctly stating their case. One of the contenders -- a group of differently abled dancers in wheelchairs -- were seen in a video flying over their audience; in another, letters of rejection read by community members built vast, richly nuanced stories; while musicians represented different cultures and aesthetics.

For many, the inclusion of community was central to the artists' mission. All artists would do well to prepare a pitch of this sort. Presenters are busy and the competition is fierce. Make an unforgettable first impression.

In a session with National Endowment for the Arts representatives, the community was, once again, underscored. Evidently, there's a growing interest in finding people who are invested in the arts through their everyday works.

APAP closed the 2023 conference on a positive note, one that embraced a vital future engaged with the arts.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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