(CelebityAccess MediaWire) — The 17th annual Midwest Arts Conference will be held in Kansas City, MO from September 18-20,. The conference, an annual performing arts booking and educational conference, will convene at the Crown Center Exhibit Hall and Westin Crown Center. The only one of its kind in the Central United States, the conference brings together more than 1,000 performing artists, performing arts managers, theater and facility managers, and arts administrators from throughout the United States and North America to coordinate performing arts tours and series.
The conference features a vast exhibit hall filled with videos playing contemporary dance on darkened stages; headphones sounding classical, ethnic and jazz music; and conversations regarding dates and venues between artists and presenters at venues ranging from small community colleges to major performing arts centers. Much of what Midwest audiences will see on stages in the 2005-2006 season will be determined at this conference.
In addition to the exhibit hall, there will be education sessions on topics such as board development, entertainment law, and jazz presenting "in a Britney Spears World." The conference plenary session will feature Dana Gioia, National Endowment for the Arts chairman and well-respected poet.
Among the highlights of this year's event are:
— all conference luncheon featuring a performance by Jim Walker &Free
— artist chat featuring star mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato;
— field trip to Starlight Theatre;
— opening night party at the American Jazz Museum/Negro Leagues Baseball
— Friday night on the town at Country Club Plaza; and
— closing night reception featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
The conference features 22 Spotlight Showcases, mini-performances of dance, music, theater and performance art produced at Folly Theater. In addition to spotlight showcasing, dozens of independent showcases will also take place at venues across Kansas City.
The 2004 Midwest Arts Conference co-chairs are Robert Bluestone, classical guitarist/Woven Harmony (Santa Fe, NM) and Tim Van Leer of the Lied Center of Kansas (Lawrence, KS). The Conference is administered by Arts Midwest with assistance from Mid-America Arts Alliance. For the 15th consecutive year, Sprint is the major corporate sponsor of the Midwest Arts Conference. Additional sponsors are: Brumfield & Associates, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Canadian Consulates General, Plains Presenters, Columbia Artists Management LLC, Southwest Performing Arts Presenters, Baylin Artists Management, Mary Beth Treen Artists Management, Lazer Vaudeville, and IMG Artists. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen