We know that local arts professionals are committed to expanding their professional skills and knowledge, but can't always travel to meetings and presentations. In response, the Local Arts Network has develops high-quality, online professional development webinars focused on topics specific to local arts leaders. From basic local arts management to successful ways to engage businesses in the arts, local arts leaders can engage in these discussions both live and on-demand. All webinars are free to Americans for the Arts members.

Annual Convention

Every year, Americans for the Arts hosts the largest gathering of arts and community leaders at our Annual Convention. The Local Arts Network ensures that local arts leaders connect and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts—learning both from field experts and each other. As our professional field has grown, so has our convention. What started as a small group of 45 people in 1955 has now grown to more than 1,100 local arts professionals each year.

Forum Programs

The Forum programs are a professional development opportunity that includes peer exchange, leadership skill development, and artmaking. It is also an opportunity to share your work, successes, and challenges and make new connections with potential collaborators.

Bringing together leaders from around the country who are steeped in their local ecosystem and community, the Forum is an opportunity to explore and examine relevant topics that advance local practice, share knowledge, provide an opportunity to break from your routine, and find community.

April 2020 Update: Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, Americans for the Arts is postponing the 2020 Forum programs. This program will be reevaluated in the second half of the year and an update will be provided once available. We aim to relaunch the program in its entirety in 2021.

Blog Salons

ARTSblog is a highly curated space for Americans for the Arts staff, members, stakeholders, and constituents to share and learn from each other and gain the latest perspectives on everything in the arts field. Blog Salons—a modern take on the “old fashioned” salons, where arts professionals used to convene in person to share tips and trends—feature experts from the field who take a deep dive on a specific topic and post blogs from a variety of perspectives over the course of a week.

Previous blog salons have explored advocacy in arts education, the future of arts marketing, artist-municipal partnerships, the pursuit of cultural equity, and many more topics. The complete collection of Blog Salons is available to read at blog.americansforthearts.org — find the yellow “Blog Salon Archive” drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the page.

Local Arts News (LAN)

The LAN is a bi-weekly newsletter with the latest news and trends in local arts development including economic development, creative economy, board development, rural and small communities, fundraising, philanthropy, and opportunities for local arts professionals. The LAN is available to Americans for the Arts members.

The LAN is also a listserv that provides a platform for questions to and from the field about tools, resources, and professional development.

Other Services and Trainings

We also offer unique in person or online professional development opportunities including topic driven trainings at our annual convention preconferences, online classrooms, and regional trainings. Get more information.