What I Learned at the Americans for the Arts Convention...

Remember those essays you had to write in elementary school - e.g. "What I did for summer vacation"?  That's sort of what this post feels like since Brad chastised me for being remiss in my blogging duties.  Of course, I fired him - again.  I do that a lot.  It just never seems to stick. AFTA held this year's convention in Philadelphia - the city of brotherly love (and sisterly affection).  The hotel sold out long before I climbed out of my procrastination long enough to book a room.  Thankfully, I found a room at a nearby hotel - directly across the street from where they were filming Transformers 2.  If only I hadn't gotten bored and walked out of Transformers, then I might have been more starry eyed.

After three days in Philly with Americans for the Arts, I return to the Burgh with three essential take-aways:

1.  Affirmation -- In a recent (soon to be published) environmental scan of the arts community conducted by Americans for the Arts, it has been determined that, "The influence of technology, unconstrained access, and the new immediacy of communication on traditional and new and evolving production/delivery mechanisms is not yet entirely understood."  While the influence of technology on production/delivery may not be fully understood, the impact of technology on the arts community has been seismic.  Between AFTA and the NPAC conventions this month, I come back to the Burgh knowing that our Technology in the Arts conference, blog, podcast, and site resources are truly useful tools for the field to assist them in navigating unfamiliar terrain.

2.  Futurists Rock -  The Keynote Address was given by futurist Andrew Zolli, founder of Z+ Partners and organizer of the PopTech conference, in the manner that I've yearned for at all of the conferences I have attended throughout my professional life:  highly engaging, provocative and witty.  He touched on a multitude of issues - from innovation and "the tyranny of choice" to experiential economics, "the Long Tail" and "Citizen Brand." I think it was the first time that I went to a conference where the keynote speaker talked for 45 minutes, and I wanted to hear more!  For those of you who were not able to attend AFTA this year (or for those of you who just want to hear more of what Andrew has to say), check out these video clips on YouTube.

3.  The RenGen is Here - On Friday, I had the pleasure of listening to Patricia Martin talk about the premise behind her book RenGen: Renaissance Generation - The Rise of the Cultural Consumer and What It Means to Your Business.  Here's a brief bit from Patricia about the event that inspired her to do the research for this book:

I tried to run out to the AFTA bookstore to buy RenGen - but of course, it was already gone.  Amazon, here I come!

My two favorite concepts that she talked about during her session are:

  • RenGen is a psychographic NOT a demographic. What characterizes this psychographic?
    • Lifelong learners
    • Time-starved idealists
    • Sensualists
    • Eco-conscious
    • Fusionists
    • Inner-directed creatives
  • Collective Creativity - a post on the concept from her blog.

Okay, folks, I have blogged enough today to keep the Brad at bay.  I pinkie-swear to do better!