Workshops & Panels

The Western Arts Alliance Annual Conference presents the latest in performing arts trends, strategy, and research to enhance and accelerate your professional growth. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to collaborate with arts leaders and your peers with WAA's in-conference program of workshops and panels. All sessions take place 8:30 - 10:00 am, Thursday, September 7 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Open to registered attendees only. 


August Wilson Red Door Project production of "Hands Up," photo courtesy of the company.The August Wilson Red Door Project (Portland, OR) production of Hands Up, courtesy of the company.

Colorblind? Using the Arts to Talk Race

At the heart of a country embroiled in racial unrest, the arts can serve as an ideal vehicle for candid conversations about race matters. In a field as progressive as the arts, often we hear the refrain, "I don't see the color of the artist. I just present good art." Recognizing and acknowledging differences does not contribute to discrimination. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Too often the "can't we all just ignore our differences and see that we're the same?" narrative is used as a tool for cultural erasure. Many of the communities we serve have different cultures, values, and ideals, and those differences need to be celebrated continuously rather than, perhaps, relegated to one culturally-¬‐specific month out of the year. Valuing differences and presenting work different from the community in which we're comfortable requires commitment, cultural sensitivity, and most importantly and a fearless approach to understanding the social construct of race. While engaging diverse artists and communities should facilitate more conscientious practices, only engaging in authentic dialogues about race and its systemic manifestations can encourage universal arts equity practices, which can become permanent pillars of your institution.

Presented by:

Kaisha Johnson, Co-Founder | Women of Color in the Arts


Students meeting around a laptop.

Beyond School Shows: The Presenter's Role in Education

Education is a cornerstone of the presenting and touring community, both in terms of our mission and our competitiveness for funding. But, how effectively are we building on this cornerstone, given the education world's changing landscape? As demands on educators increase and discretionary time and resources decrease, how do we measure and advocate for the value of arts education programming? How do we better document our impact? In this session, we will look at programs where we move beyond enrichment and toward transformative student experiences, which dovetail with educational priorities like equity, whole child practices, and core subject learning. In addition, we look at new models for evaluating the impact of our programming.

Presented by:

Antonio Gomez, Education Manager | Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
Katie Lappier, Director of Education | Broadway Center for the Performing Arts


Making Artistic Cents - Basics & Beyond

Contracts are a vital part of everyday business needs in the Performing Arts industry. Experienced presenters and agents participate in this moderated panel discussion to examine current topics on contract negotiation, Presenter-Agent communications, relationship building, and dispute resolution. An informative and inspiring refresher for all levels!


Mitch Gershenfeld, President & CEO | McCallum Theatre
Brooke Horejsi, Executive Director/Assistant Dean | University of Utah/Kinsbury Hall
Una Loughran, General Manager | BodyVox
Allen Moon, Director of Touring & Artist Management | David Lieberman/Artists' Representatives
Moderated by Alison Loerke,  Owner | ALIA Productions


Promoter 101 Logo

Promoter 101 Live at WAA

Over the past year the Promoter 101 hashtag has gone viral on social media, with the industry observational humor of Dan Steinberg, the weekly podcast was born from that success. A lively mix of industry news, the story's behind tweets, and interviews with power players of our business. Co-hosted by Luke Pierce, the podcast premiered in late October, already finding a following of thousands of loyal listeners. Promoter 101 will host the live podcast recording, giving our attendees the chance to join in.

Co-Hosted by:

Dan Steinberg, Co-Founder | Emporium Presents
Luke Pierce, Manager/Producer | WORKS Entertainment
With Special Guests:
Andrea Johnon, Agent | ICM Partners
Scott Giampino, Talent Buyer | The Triple Dooor
Brian Penix, Artist Manager/Talent Buyer | ABI Management/NS2


Photo: Behind the scenes of #CamersandDancers social media event with Pilobolus. Photo by Jacob Jonas.Behind the scenes of #CamersandDancers social media event with Pilobolus. Photo by Jacob Jonas.

Social Marketing for Dance

With social media playing such an important role in new age communication, it is crucial to connect artists and audiences together through online platforms. In this session Jacob Jonas will discuss the strategies he’s found successful for modern-day visibility online for dance including content creation, curation, and influencer partnerships.

Presented by:

Jacob JonasFounder, Artistic/Executive Director | Jacob Jonas The Company


Photo: Melanie Voytovich and Storm Benjamin perform Elliot Cole' Flowerpot Music No. 1 at NUMUS Northwest in Seattle. January 2017.Melanie Voytovich and Storm Benjamin perform Elliot Cole's Flowerpot Music No. 1 at NUMUS Northwest in Seattle. January 2017. (photo: James Holt/NUMUS Northwest)

Sound | Resound

As the classical music world wrestles with the future of the art form and presenters struggle to find younger, more diverse audiences, a new movement is taking shape that may yet transform the field as we know it. Emerging from the intersection of classical, pop, and jazz, are new artists, forms, and venues that defy barriers and convention. Its dynamic young proponents are making music, programming festivals, booking nightclubs, and building a grassroots movement that dances on boundaries. If NYC is the East Coast home to this movement, then Seattle is its vibrant West Coast center.

Seattle’s contemporary music spans the spectrum from the large scale--Seattle Symphony’s commission of John Luther Adam’s Pulitzer Prize winning Become Ocean—to small—with scores of small ensembles, emerging artists, and composers enlivening the scene. Supporting this rich musical endeavor are a myriad of scholars, presenters, new media channels, networks, and advocates that curate, connect, promote, and amplify new music in Seattle and beyond. Our panel explores the trends, issues, and challenges of Seattle’s contemporary music scene and how you might apply these lessons in your own organization or community.

Presented by:

James Falzone, Chair of Music | Cornish College of the Arts
Andrew Goldstein, Executive Director | Emerald City Music
Shaya Lyon, Executive Director | Live Music Project
Moderated by Megan Campbell-Miller, Production Coordinator | Cornish Presents