2018 Conference Roundup

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capital of the World for good reason—and the Vegas attraction was obvious in our Conference numbers. Our hotel block at the Bellagio and the Exhibit Hall both sold out in record time; we had the most delegate organizations in attendance and a smashing success at the Super Showcase at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. A productive attendee experience is WAA’s first priority.  Let’s take a look at some of the other metrics behind this year’s successful conference.

Total conference registration was 768 with 388 delegates and 380 exhibitors. There were 253 presenting organizations represented—this is the highest number of delegate organizations that WAA has recorded. Similarly, delegate registration outnumbered exhibitor registration.

Professional Development
WAA held an invitation-only Advancing Indigenous Performance Symposium prior to the Conference. The AIP Artists Symposium brought together mid-career Indigenous performing artists and professionals to build knowledge, strategies, and opportunities for performance and touring. This session was part of WAA’s new Advancing Indigenous Performance program.

Almost 300 people attended the Opening Plenary session and Keynote address given by Jerry Nadal. This number is up from last year’s opening session in Seattle (Lindy West & Ahamefule Oluo).
Long-establish professional development offerings also saw solid attendance numbers with the Roundtables averaging 27 people per session. The most popular Workshop was the eighth installment of the NAPAMA series, Making Artistic Cents, “Mission & Money” with 58 attendees. 67% of those who attended professional development sessions rated WAA’s in-conference programming as very good or excellent.

The Exhibit Hall
The Bellagio’s Tower Ballroom was an ideal space for the exhibit hall. At just over 30,000 square feet, the ballroom was large enough to contain all 191 exhibits and allow room for open seating. Of those exhibits, about 60% were “alternative” spaces (Café and Bistro Tabletops) and roughly 40% traditional pipe and drape. The Exhibit Hall sold out in record time this year, in mid-July. 

The doors were open to the exhibit hall for about 10 Open hours (an in increase from 2017 and about five Accessible hours (almost half of the accessible hours available in 2017). This was the first year we closed the Exhibit Hall for lunch and heard positive response to this change.

Altogether, 31 organizations pushed our sponsorship dollars north of $71,000 this year and we could not have done the conference without this support.  If your organization is interested in supporting WAA next year and simultaneously extending your reach into the field and getting exposure for your agency or venue, please let us know!  

Seven artists were selected from a pool of 159 applicants to perform at WAA’s Juried Showcase, held at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a short shuttle-ride away from the Bellagio. Over 330 attendees had the choice of 24 performances spread throughout the Smith Center. There were 61 individual independent showcase performance listings, including seven listings for the Advancing Indigenous Performance program performances.