Artists as Agents of Change

Stories of art and artists inspiring, inciting, and leading organizational transformation.

Featuring three dynamic leaders in the field, these 12-minute talks explored the outputs and impacts of innovative projects across the country. An in-depth discussion followed and discussion among Virtual Summit participants took place simultaneously via #ArtsFwd on Twitter. These Talks stream in the following order.

Policy, Prisons, and Pranks: Artists Collide with the World
Ruby Lerner, President & Founding Director, Creative Capital

In this talk, Ruby Lerner will discuss artists working at the intersections of science, technology, community organizing, entrepreneurship and the media. Lerner will highlight trends and lessons learned from these hybrid artists, and how the field can and should adapt to support this critical work.

Artist/Community/Reciprocity: Helping Communities Ask More From and For Their Artists
Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts

Now, more than ever, we need to be able to access and depend on the power for positive change that artists bring to their communities. We can’t leave the creative capacity of our communities to chance or haphazard coincidence. We need systems and infrastructure that allow the creative process to happen, that support and nurture our artists and that demand from them their engagement and commitment. Let’s change the system for artists and their communities — let’s create new economic models and change the way our culture values art and creativity. In this talk, Laura Zabel will share practical examples of how to create reciprocal, authentic systems to tap into the resource of artists in your community.

I Don’t Want to Talk About Innovation: A Talk About Innovation
Todd London, Artistic Director, New Dramatists

What would it mean for the leadership of our nation’s theater to be vested not in institutions, but in individual artists? At New Dramatists, a 64-year-old center for the support and professional development of an ever-changing company of 50 playwrights (each in residence for seven years), exploding the potential of our core laboratory meant changing the rules of artistic engagement and responsibility at home—and what it means to lead. Now we’d like to change them everywhere.

Fishbowl Discussion

After the three Talks concluded, on-site Summit participants in Denver — as well as online participants, who contributed questions and comments via the #ArtsFwd tag on Twitter — joined together for an informal, organically flowing fishbowl discussion about the theme of Artists as Agents of Change and other topics. The online participants’ voices were represented by the Talks moderator, Richard Demato.

All of these talks were livestreamed as part of the free Virtual Summit on Monday, October 21.