Updated information for the Arts Midwest 2021 Conference will be coming soon. As a reference to past Conference guidelines, see below.
How is the Arts Midwest Conference responding to COVID-19?
As we plan for 2021, we see the personal, professional, and financial hardships impacting our attendees, and continue to closely follow the COVID-19 situation and prioritize the health and safety of our attendees.
Sign up for our email list and check back for regular updates.
Who should attend and why?
- Performing artists/ensembles, artist managers, agents, and producers who seek bookings for touring at the state, regional, and/or national level will have the opportunity to connect with presenters
- Presenting organizations — those who book artists to perform at their venue(s) — will have multiple opportunities to discover performing artists from all disciplines. The conference offers networking and business opportunities for organizations of all sizes – including volunteer operations and major performing arts centers
- Service organizations can connect with constituents, present information on programs and funding opportunities, and conduct organizational business. Some service organizations also attend so they can promote touring artists from their service area
- College students at the undergraduate and graduate level are invited to connect with peers in a student orientation group, as well as attend professional development sessions to gain industry knowledge
What’s the Marketplace?
The “Marketplace” — the Conference exhibit hall — is where presenters, artists, managers, and agents connect and discover new work. Dedicated Marketplace time allows attendees to explore booking options together, plant the seeds for future collaborations, and develop relationships. More than 4,000 artists and ensembles are represented by organizations exhibiting in the Marketplace each year.
For performing artists/ensembles, artist managers or agents, or producers
What should I consider providing in promotional materials for the Conference?
As business becomes more digital, you may wish to limit the number of printed materials you bring to the Conference. Business cards are still a key item to have with you at all times. Other things to consider:
- Provide scaled-down printed brochures and small takeaways
- Materials should be interesting to look at and easy to navigate
- Digital materials should include photos; press clippings; tech riders; brochures; previous bookings; information on master classes, workshops, and other residency activities you or your artists offer (if applicable)
How do I prepare for meeting with presenters?
- Use the attendee contact info and presenter profiles to research presenters coming to the Conference. Keep in mind that the organization profiles are available online only, so you may want to print the information
- Take notes as you research presenters – who they are booking, what their seasons are like, who their audiences are, the technical specs and capabilities of their facilities, what artist fee ranges they are looking for, when they make their booking decisions, and what their missions are
- Bring your business cards and an up-to-date schedule so you can talk about openings in your or your artists’ schedules
- Practice your “elevator speech” before you get onsite so you can concisely describe what you/your artists do in one minute or less
- Be prepared to email or mail your press materials, recordings, etc. to presenters post-Conference
How do I prepare for meeting with artists, managers, and agents?
- Use the attendee contact info and exhibitor profiles to research artists, managers, and agents coming to the Conference. Keep in mind that the profiles are available online only, so you may want to print the information or take notes on artists that interest you
- Know specifics about your venue: specs, audience, budget, housing for artists, and interest in residency activities. Bring promotional packets describing your venue and season, and technical capabilities that you can hand out and place on the presenter information tables on-site
- Know your audience and your programming goals for your season
- Practice your “elevator speech” before you get onsite so you can concisely describe what your organization presents and who you serve in one minute or less
- Bring your business cards and an up-to-date schedule so you can talk about booking your current and upcoming seasons
What technical information should I know about my venue?
- Accessibility plan for artists, including front of house, stage, and backstage access
- Width, depth, height, and type of stage, apron, and pit
- Wing space
- Light and sound system equipment and capabilities
- Curtain color and number of legs and borders
- Layout and number of seats in hall
- Loading dock location, size, accessibility
- Availability and location of bus and truck parking
- Number of dressing rooms and showers
- Marley dance floor availability
Professional development & meetings
How can I submit an idea for a professional development session topic or speaker?
We will begin accepting session and speaker proposals in early Spring 2021. In the meantime, please contact [email protected] with questions.
What’s a presenter network and how can I learn more about becoming a member?
State and regional presenter networks are membership organizations for presenters that offer opportunities for collaboration, block-booking, networking, and information-sharing and learning. Connect to your state or regional consortium.
What is proper etiquette for doing business in the Marketplace?
- Business conversations can only happen within an exhibit space. Be sure to step out of the aisle and into the exhibit space when you stop to talk to someone
- When a colleague is in a conversation, do not interrupt. Try stopping by later or schedule a time to meet with them
- Contracts cannot be signed in the Marketplace
- Learn more by reading a past sample of our 2019 and 2020 policy agreements
When can I access the Marketplace and my exhibit space during the Conference?
- The Marketplace has dedicated open hours every day of the Conference
- You will have time to load in and set up your booth at the beginning of the Conference and time to tear down at the end of the Conference
- Each day of the Conference you will have early access to prepare for the day’s meetings
I’m exhibiting at the Conference for the first time. What should I expect?
- There are hundreds of organizations in the Marketplace representing thousands of artists, and it may take a couple of years to build relationships with presenters at the Conference. Don’t be discouraged if traffic in your space is slow – make connections and set up meetings ahead of time to maximize your contacts on-site and follow up afterwards to build and maintain relationships
- Do not expect presenters to return your calls or be immediately available after the Conference – they receive dozens, sometimes hundreds, of calls a day or week from other artists, managers, and agents
- Many attendees have been coming to our Conference for years and are willing to share their experiences and insider tips. Plan to attend as many Conference events as you can to connect with colleagues
How do I know if I’m ready to showcase?
Producing a successful independent showcase requires significant time, planning, and financial resources. Some factors to consider:
- Do you have a sufficient budget to cover purchasing exhibit space at the Conference, plus travel, lodging, shipping, technical assistance, venue rental, advertising, hospitality, and promotional costs?
- Is the work ready to accept bookings to tour?
- Are your promotional materials ready to sell your production to presenters?
Those new to the Arts Midwest Conference or who have not participated in showcasing at previous conferences are strongly encouraged to attend showcases in an observational capacity their first year.
Is it worth coming to the Conference if I or my artists won’t be performing?
Yes. Only about one-third of our exhibitors schedule performances during the Conference. The primary reason they attend is to make valuable, in-person connections with fellow exhibitors and presenters.
Connecting & networking
How can I get in the loop for Conference communications and info?
- If you’ve attended the Conference in the last few years, you’re already on our email list. Check your spam folders if you’re not getting our emails
- If you haven’t attended in the last few years, or your email address has changed, sign up for our email list.
Who has access to the Conference attendee list?
Attendee names and contact information are a benefit for Conference registrants only.
- The list of registered organizations will be available prior to the conference. A complete list is sent following the Conference
- Arts Midwest does not maintain a list of presenting organizations in our region, nor do we maintain an artist roster of any kind
- We don’t sell or trade attendee lists or contact info. If you are contacted via email or phone by a third party, please be aware that they are unaffiliated with the Arts Midwest Conference and not authorized to contact you directly. We strongly encourage you to be cautious when receiving this type of scam solicitation, which is also damaging to Arts Midwest