2019 WAA Institute: Community | Connection | Renewal

May 5-8, 2019 │ Portland, Oregon

Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.
-  Senator Jeff Flake (R – AZ), October 1, 2018

I think that change happens… because at a grassroots level enough people come together that they force the system to change. -    President Barack Obama, October 11, 2016

Climate change. Gender. Race. Faith. Education. Age. Income inequality. Health care. Technology. Politics. We are now defined more by what divides us than by what we hold in common. No part of American life is exempt. Not schools, nor churches, not our courts, not film or television, and certainly not “social” media. And the arts? Where do we stand in community?

At a time when our nation seems to be coming apart at the seams, how do we as artists and arts leaders work with others to knit our communities back together? The 2019 WAA Institute will explore the arts place in community, new models for engaging the public, strategies for change, and the arts role in bridging differences. 

Our goal is to explore and embrace emergent realities, to provide the resources necessary for understanding these challenges and opportunities, and to create a space where trust, insight, openness, and change can thrive. How do we intentionally and thoughtfully break the rules? We are conveners of community, how do we leverage that position for the greatest good?

Through a series of formal presentations, facilitated discussions, and small group conversations, the 2019 WAA Institute will dig into some of the most important and challenging issues facing the performing arts today. In the midst of such great social schism, how do we stay relevant to our communities? How are we engaging younger audiences — from K-12 through post-college? What is our role in inspiring change?

The institute is also dedicated to intergenerational exchange—where colleagues of any age or at any stage in their career can engage in cooperative learning and leadership development.

WAA members have the opportunity to experience four days of dynamic learning, dialogue, and relationship building, mixed thoughtfully with great food & drink, and a celebration of place.