The Arts Midwest Conference is designed for all of the arts professionals who comprise the network necessary to bring performing arts experiences to communities throughout the Midwest, including:
- Performing artists (solo artists, ensembles, companies, and more) who attend to present their work and gain exposure to potential new audiences
- Artist managers and booking agents who attend to develop the careers of their artists and build a network of performance opportunities in the region
- Representatives from performing arts presenting organizations (theaters, colleges/universities, performing arts centers, and more) who attend primarily to pursue opportunities to bring artists to their communities
- Administrators from service or other arts organizations who attend to make connections and learn about the Midwest performing arts touring industry
A four-day booking and education conference, the event rotates to a new location each year to ensure broad access to the program’s offerings and brings together more than 1,100 arts professionals annually.
After spending the day in the exhibit hall meeting agents and artists, and attending Professional Development sessions about the field, attendees spend the evening seeing artists in a live setting. Attendees will arrive with a list of artists they plan to see, or they will discover an artist in the exhibit hall and then attend the showcase to determine if that artist is right for their venue. Presenting colleagues also conduct block booking meetings to work together to book artists in their particular region.
Spotlight Showcases offer a platform for artists and ensembles to grow their touring network and elevate their visibility in the Midwest. The showcases are a primary way that presenters from across the Conference’s 15-state region, and beyond, see new work and discover opportunities to book performances at their venues. Presenters depend on Spotlight Showcases as a crucial resource informing their booking decisions for upcoming seasons because of the peer review process of selection and professionally produced, live performance setting.
Selected artists and ensembles represent a wide range of disciplines, art forms, and genres, and each displays exemplary artistic excellence and readiness to tour in their application materials. They have shown excellence in their technique and interpretation of their art form, as well as an engaging stage presence. Their promotional materials also display a strong capacity to tour in the Midwest, and they are poised to take full advantage of the visibility the showcase provides. Selected artists also exhibit their artistic merit, representing creativity and innovation in the field, and show the potential to be transformative and impactful on its audiences.
A panel composed of presenters, managers, and agents review eligible applications and select artists/ensembles to perform. Selection is based primarily on artistic excellence and artistic merit as displayed in video work samples, as well as displayed readiness to tour through promotional materials. As facilitators, Arts Midwest is committed to presenting artists who represent a range of disciplines.
How to Apply
Arts Midwest collaborates with over a dozen performing arts conferences to use a common online platform for accepting showcase applications. I Want to Showcase saves artists time and money by making it easier to submit applications to several conferences. The application asks for information about the artist, a description of the show, promotional materials such as photos, and a touring itinerary. Video samples are then submitted as the primary work for panelists to evaluate the artist.
Expenses for Selected Artists and Ensembles
- Application fee: $90
- Production fee for selected artists: $800
- Exhibit space: $600 – $1,200, includes registration for one attendee (additional expenses may include shipping, electricity, multiple registrants)
- Travel + lodging: Artist is responsible for all costs and arrangements related to travel and lodging
Times and Deadlines
- Late January: Application opens
- February 27: Deadline to apply for a Spotlight Showcase
- April: Artists are notified whether or not they have been selected for a showcase
- May 5: Registration opens (all selected or performing artists or their agents must purchase an exhibit space)
- June: Selected artists announced
- September 10 + 11: Spotlight Showcase performances at Orpheum Theatre in Omaha, NE