Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, will hold its 2013 Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, PA from June 14-16. It is the largest gathering in the nation of arts leaders and their partners in creative business, education, and government.

A series of prominent speakers and arts innovators will address how to better communicate the economic, environmental and social impact that the arts offer our nation’s neighborhoods, cities, and towns. Over 200 speakers include keynotes  Jim Messina, campaign manager for the 2012 Obama Re-Election Campaign, Paula Kerger, President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service, Gary Knell, President and CEO of National Public Radio, noted demographer Manuel Pastor, and community leader William Strickland.

The 2013 Annual Convention is expected to bring upwards of 1,000 participants to Pittsburgh and includes three preconferences: public art; emerging arts leaders; and arts, entertainment and cultural districts.

"It has never been more important to tell the stories of the real impact the arts make on the ground in building stronger communities across the country," stated Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "Pittsburgh is the perfect place to gather local arts agencies from across the country because you can literally see the positive impact the arts can make in transforming a city.”

"In Pittsburgh, we've used the arts to rebuild neighborhoods and our downtown,” said Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. “It’s a great place for artists and creativity to thrive.”

Over 50 convention sessions will cover a wide-range of topics, including funding, demographic, and community development trends and feature such notable voices as Quiara Alegria Hudes, Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist of Water by the Spoonful; Adam Goldman, director and writer of the gay web series The Outs; Matt D’Arrigo, founder of A Reason to Survive and a subject of the 2013 Academy Award winning documentary Inocente; and Molly Smith, Artistic Director of the award winning regional theatre Arena Stage.

The convention will also showcase artists and artist groups from Pittsburgh including Artists Image Resource, August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, Beedie and the Varsity Squad, Bricolage Production Company, Cello Fury, Vanessa German and Sean Jones, Herman Pearl, Pas/Staycee Pearl Dance Project, Phat Man Dee and the Cultural District, Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, River City Brass, Eric Singer Presents League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, T. Foley Presents, and Texture Contemporary Ballet.

Convention participants will also have the opportunity to experience the innovative and diverse art that Pittsburgh has to offer through ARTventure tours—special off-site, educational tours of Pittsburgh’s cultural neighborhoods and districts. Tours include the North Side Charm Bracelet Project, an area of the city that boasts 17 cultural, educational, and recreational organizations including the Mattress Factory, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and the New Hazlett Theater; local organizations whose work focuses on the art of African-Americans, Africa, and the large Diaspora including the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture; the Strip District, home to local food markets and antique shops as well as the 31st Street Film Studio where The Dark Knight Rises and Jack Reacher were filmed; and Lawrenceville, an up-and-coming cultural district that is transitioning into one of the hottest spots in town through the work of local galleries and artist live/work spaces.

The local host for the 2013 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Lead sponsorship of the convention is provided by The Heinz Endowments, Highmark Inc., Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and PNC. For a full list of sponsors please visit http://convention.artsusa.org.

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 www.AmericansForTheArts.org.