Tampa Tales: Performing Artists at NPN’s Annual Meeting

Despite living in Tallahassee over two decades ago, I only recently learned that Tampa is considered Gulf Coast Florida not Central Florida!  On my first visit to the city, I spent three days at the National Performance Network’s inspiring, informative and fun Annual Meeting.

Since Creative Capital is headed into a Performing Arts grant year, NPN’s gathering easily shot to the top of our annual conference attendance list this year and I served as the official Creative Capital representative. NPN is a national organization supporting artists in the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts, and its annual meeting brings together over 300 performing artists, presenters and funders to discuss pressing issues in the field. One “idea forum” I attended outlined lessons learned by the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s important initiative on the issue of legacy planning among artists, while another looked at the challenges of supporting performing arts residencies.

Taking advantage of the incredible artistic wattage gathered in one place, the meeting also incorporated a fantastic array of performances throughout, including an excerpt from Cat Lady, the latest hilarious and thought-provoking piece by Creative Capital grantee Kristina Wong. The media and performance showcases gave me a fantastic opportunity to learn about an incredible national array of artists very quickly, many of whom I sincerely hope will one day become Creative Capital grantees.

In fact, while here, I not only copiously handed out postcards announcing our upcoming grant round, but also held two grant information sessions attended by nearly 100 artists. One session was part of the NPN conference while the other was generously arranged by Creative Capital artist Cesar Cornejo (2009 Emerging Fields) and hosted by his institution, the University of South Florida. Artists came in from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Orlando, and beyond. Hosting grant info sessions is one of the most fun parts of my job since I get to chat with artists and, hopefully, provide useful information that will help them put together stronger applications for Creative Capital as well as other awards.

Watch Kristina Wong’s presentation of Cat Lady at the NPN Annual Meeting on Livestream (Kristina’s piece is the last one in this video, so skip ahead to 1:57).

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