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Key Events


Ashley C. Ford. Photo by Paul Jun.

Ashley C. Ford

Friday, September 7, 9:15–10:15 a.m., Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

Sponsored by Choice Entertainment Technologies

In her keynote message, writer Ashley C. Ford will describe how courage plays a role in her life and how it’s a catalyst for her inner glow. She contends that courage, in its many forms, is about doing what’s hard. “There is physical courage, like saving a life,” Ashley explains, “and there is also emotional courage—being aware of the story you’re telling yourself and editing it on your own terms.”

She’s currently writing her memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, which will be published by Flatiron Books, and also hosts Brooklyn-based news & culture TV show (and podcast!), 112BK. She has written or guest-edited for The Guardian, ELLE, BuzzFeed, Slate, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Lenny Letter, and INTO. She previously worked as a development executive for Matter Studios, where she focused on web series and documentaries, and was also the host of the first season of Audible’s interview series Authorized.

In her twitter bio, Ashley lists her location as as: “Indiana — Brooklyn — Wakanda.”

Joanna Taft. Photo courtesy of Joanna Taft.

Joanna Taft

Saturday, September 8, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (Brunch), Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

Learn how entrepreneurship can strengthen culture, community and place in the Midwest. Stories and lessons learned from starting the Harrison Center, Herron High School, and creative placemaking in Indianapolis neighborhoods, will equip you with principles that can make a difference in your community.

In urban Indianapolis, a grassroots art center uses the principles of cultural entrepreneurship to strengthen its community through innovative arts programming and education. First, by creating a public charter school centered around an art history timeline; and then, by challenging the school’s students to actively engage in their city’s culture. The result? An emerging generation of arts patrons and a growing movement of “cultural entrepreneurs“—engaged citizens who are improving their neighborhoods through a newfound connection to culture and place.

Joanna Taft’s professional history has revolved around using her entrepreneurial skills to build community in diverse settings—government, corporate, non-profit, and grassroots community-based organizations. She began her career as a management analyst with a presidentially appointed board in Washington, DC. Taft relocated to Indiana where she discovered cultural development and found that it was a good match for her personal interest in historic neighborhoods, urban areas, and her entrepreneurial abilities as Founding Executive Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts, a leader in grassroots cultural development.

Sponsored Performances

DSQ Electric. Photo by Kent Osborne.

DSQ Electric

Thursday, September 6, 12:15–1:45 p.m. (Luncheon), Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

Performance sponsored by DSQ Electric, represented by Robin Klinger Entertainment

DSQ Electric takes you on a journey to the nexus of classical music and modern pop where artists like Beethoven and Bono collide. Comprising electric strings, drums, and guitar, DSQ tours nationally and internationally, selling out concert venues from House of Blues to symphony halls. DSQ has played for Presidents Obama and Bush, the NBA, and NFL and has over 254,000 subscribers on Pandora, 155,000 on Spotify, and over 3.1 million views on YouTube. “This is not your Grandmother’s String Quartet” – Wall Street Journal

Goitse. Photo by Colin Gillen.


Saturday, September 8, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.(Brunch), Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

Performance sponsored by Goitse, represented by Baylin Artists Management

Goitse (“Go-witcha”) is an informal Gaelic Irish greeting meaning “come here.” The popular and multi-award-winning quintet Goitse was forged in the white-hot creative crucible of Limerick’s Irish World Academy. Named Live Ireland’s “Traditional Group of the Year,” Chicago Irish American News’ “Group of the Year”, as well as winning the prestigious “Freiburger International Leiter 2016” award in Germany, Goitse has become a leader of the new generation of traditional Irish ensembles.

The Moxie Strings. Photo by The Compass Points Here.

The Moxie Strings

Thursday, September 6, 6:40 p.m. (Sponsored Spotlight Showcase), Indiana Repertory Theatre

Sponsored by Smokin’ Sleddog Records

Hailed by The Grand Rapids Press as “top-notch, instrumental wizardry,” The Moxie Strings offer the opportunity to experience music through a young, progressive lens. Alison performs on a newly-invented electric cello and Diana on a 5-string violin. Having made the exploratory journey from classical music to a world of eclecticism and creativity, they are dedicated to helping students make this transformative transition through school programs. They also launched The MOX Project , a non-profit that finances clinics in underserved areas.


Photo by Jason Lavengood.

Opening Party

Wednesday, September 5, 6:30–8:30 p.m., Indiana State Museum

Sponsored by Sponsored by Délégation du Québec à Chicago with in-kind support from Indiana State Museum

Located in White River State Park (and right next door to the JW Marriott!), downtown’s flagship museum is a world-class institution, featuring unique exhibits and hands-on experiences that showcase the stories, events, and characters that have helped shape Indiana’s history. Explore the museum or relax along the back patio, where you can even hop aboard a gondola for a ride through the canals downtown Indianapolis—singing gondoliers included!

Rhythm! Discovery Center. Photo by Sergio Bennett.

Closing Party

Saturday, September 8, 4:00–5:30 p.m., Rhythm! Discovery Center

Sponsored by IMG Artists

Celebrate the conclusion of a successful Conference at the world’s foremost drum and percussion museum, located downtown Indianapolis. This hidden gem offers interactive exhibits highlighting a rich collection of historic artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments.