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 9:00 - 10:30 am, Wednesday, August 28 at the JW Marriott Hotel. Open to registered attendees. 

Are You Ready? Guiding Independent Artists to the Path of Success

This is the intersection of performing arts and the business that drives its success. “Are You Ready?” is a participatory workshop for independent artists. In the 90-minute seminar, we’ll help you: Create a brand that is true to your work but makes you stand out from the crowd. Learn how your website and social media can showcase your talent and increase your reach. Develop multi-media tools to earn money and employ analytics to your advantage. Use the best photos, sound files and media services to serve your needs. Set the stage for successful touring. Better understand the presenter marketplace. The truth is that artists need to spend a dedicated amount of time each month on their websites, social media and digital music. With this workshop, you'll develop the tools. 

Led by
Lenore Naxon, President| Naxon Consulting 

Colorblind? Equity and the Impacts of White Supremacy

As arts professionals, we’ve become almost obsessed with this idea of creating more diverse and inclusive spaces - but to what end? All the while many still believe that presenting art for art’s sake, regardless of its racial identity, contributes to a more equalized playing field. Unfortunately, turning a blind eye to race actually perpetuates a system known as White supremacy. From our institutional structures to the policies and practices our organizations employ, the effects of White supremacy are omnipresent. And a focus solely on diversity and inclusion isn’t going to solve our field’s challenges. We can’t be about the business of creating a more equitable field if we don’t engage in authentic dialogue about race and the systemic inequities that are often reinforced by our arts institutions - both consciously and unconsciously. In this session, we will focus on understanding equity to begin to understand the effects of White supremacy which impact our entire arts ecosystem. 

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


Cultural Fluidity, Appropriation, and Empathy in a New Global Context

This panel will address the complications facing presenters in choosing an International artist, and the crucial impact those choices have on various communities.  We will address the delicate balance between the need for commercial viability, community impact, and representation when choosing artists and promoting events. The panelists will discuss the differences between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation as a way to understand the various stakes involved in selecting an International artist. As diaspora becomes a more common lived experience for people around the world, the importance of using terminology that reflects the nuances of cultural fluidity, becomes tantamount when categorizing music and artists. Presenters will take away a questionnaire, terminology sheet, and viable guidelines of assessment in relation to genre, community perception, the foregoing impact, and artistic/social/political relevance, in order to guide them when choosing an artist. 

Led by
Loga Ramin Torkian, Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, Co-Founder | Niyaz

Azam Ali, Composer, Singer, Co-Founder |Niyaz
Beto González, Program Associate | Skirball Cultural Center 
Patrica  Adjei, First Nations Arts & Culture Director | Australia Council for the Arts


NAPAMA: Making Artistic Cent$ - Communication Conundrum - Identifying the how, what, why, when, where of connecting with our colleagues

In our ever-changing performing arts field, we are constantly questioning how to make effective contact and efficiently communicate with each other whether it be agent/manager, presenter, artist or service organization. This interactive session will focus on an authentic and inclusive dialogue with one another i.e. initiating contact, negotiating contracts, pre-engagement planning, post engagement follow-up or seeking concrete information.  Designated presenters, agents and artists will share brief comments regarding modes of communication, establishing and respecting timelines and boundaries, hearing a "yes" or "no" and what impedes a spirit of discovery.  Facilitated break out sessions will follow in an interactive discussion.

Ben Cohen, Vice President of Booking and Tour Development | Cadenza Artists
Beatrice Thomas | Beatrice Thomas Consulting
Michael Blachly, Director | Opening Nights at Florida State University
Aisha Amad-Post, Director | Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

August Wilson Red Door Project production of "Hands Up," photo courtesy of the company.

The Road to 100% Digital Marketing

The Phoenix Symphony, has allocated 100% of their single ticket advertising budget to digital for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2109 seasons. In this session, you’ll learn about the company’s digital evolution, and see how the Symphony used data and experimentation to arrive at this progressive budget. Discover how this real life case study is playing out with $5+ million in annual ticket sales on the line —hint: record breaking results, younger and more diverse audiences. 

Led by
Todd Vigil
, Chief Marketing Officer | The Phoenix Symphony