Results of Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ To Be Revealed During Opening Keynote

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

press releaseContact:
Catherine Brandt

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, announced today that it will hold its 2012 Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX from June 8-10, 2012. It is the largest gathering in the nation of arts leaders and their partners in creative business, education and government.

A series of exciting speakers and arts innovators will address the convention’s theme, The New Normal. They will discuss strategies about how arts organizations can not only continue their good work amidst tight budgets and tough economic times, but also keep pace and flourish in the midst of rapidly changing demographics—a huge increase in the number of Americans over the age of 65; a switch from majority-minority America to one that is increasingly multiethnic; and a swelling digital generation with different world views. Keynote speakers will include Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, and Naomi Shihab Nye, award-winning poet, writer, anthologist, educator and celebrated author.

In addition, Americans for the Arts will be announcing the findings from its groundbreaking study, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™, which documents the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry in strengthening our nation’s economy. The largest and most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted, the study’s results document how the arts industry performed during the Great Recession. 

"This year's convention is timely, relevant and offers a singular perspective on the issues of diversity, changing demographics and the realities of our economy in the wake of the Great Recession," stated Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "We are pleased to be holding our convention in San Antonio, a city that is leveraging its myriad cultures, creativity and vibrant arts community to build its future."

“We are extremely excited to have been selected to host the 2012 Americans for the Arts convention. San Antonio is a city in the midst of bold transformation, taking a very active approach to dealing with some of the trends and challenges taking place at a national level. It is an opportune time and location for a national audience to take a closer look at The New Normal as illustrated by our city leaders, artists and cultural institutions,” said Felix Padrón, Director of the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs.

Convention sessions will cover a wide-range of topics, including demographic trends, funding patterns, promising practices and expanding influence. They will also explore opportunities for cultural development in an ever-changing landscape. In addition, Americans for the Arts is holding two preconferences. The first, a Public Art Preconference, will provide professional development, resources and information on the state of the field and visioning sessions discussing current public art innovations. The second, an Emerging Leaders Preconference, will provide leadership development, discussions on their role in the broader community and the opportunity to discover the path from arts professional to community leader.

Featured speakers at the convention include Henry Cisneros, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Mayor of San Antonio, TX; public artist Janet Echelman, Brookline, MA; Floyd Green III, Vice President and Head of Community Relations, Aetna, Hartford, CT; Maria Rosario Jackson, Director of Culture, Creativity and Communities Program, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.; John Michael Schert, Executive Director, Trey McIntyre Project, Boise, ID; and Bruce Thibodeau, Arts Consulting Group, Los Angeles, CA.

The convention will also showcase several artists and artist groups in San Antonio. Featured artists making an appearance at the convention include The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, George Cisneros, Conjunto Heritage Taller, The Copperleaf Quintet, El Curro (Willie Champion), EntreFlamenco Company, Las Tesoros de San Antonio, Ya’Ke Smith, The Texas Tornados, URBAN-15 and Vincent Valdez. 

Convention participants will also have the opportunity to experience the powerful and diverse art that San Antonio has to offer through several ARTventure tours—special off-site, educational tours of several of San Antonio’s cultural neighborhoods and districts. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour Broadway, a leading thoroughfare connecting three great museums with very distinct collections;  Downtown, where San Antonio’s arts community was born among and remains nurtured by a myriad of cultural and historical influences; Old Spanish Trail, where the entrepreneurial spirit of artists and cultural organizations are revitalizing and energizing an inner-city neighborhood; The San Antonio River, which was inspired by the vision of a young architect in 1929 and created by the hands of skilled craftsmen during the WPA era; Southtown, the epicenter of art activities and arts organizations showcasing the melding of historic preservation and the creative reuse of warehouses and factories; and Westside, the heart of San Antonio’s Mexican-American community.

The local host for the 2012 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. Lead sponsorship of the convention is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, American Express, Valero, The Linda Pace Foundation, H-E-B and Argo Group.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at