National Guild For Community Arts Education

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The annual Conference for Community Arts Education features nationally renowned speakers and dozens of professional development workshops, roundtables, and program showcases to help you increase impact, improve participation, raise money, sustain and grow key programs, and advocate for more equitable access to arts education. Arts education stakeholders gather to address common challenges, network, and brainstorm innovations for the field.

2017 sessions were organized in progressive tracks to provide you in-depth training in Leadership Development, Community Partnerships, Creative Youth Development, Arts & Healing, Social Justice, Arts in Education, as well as the Arts Management skills needed to grow organizations. Attendees were welcome to choose one pathway or sample a variety to create their own best conference experience.

View the 2017 Conference Program by Tracks

Special Events

Opening Plenary: The Art of Justice
Thursday, November 16, 10:00AM – 11:30AM

Hasan Davis is a Hope Dealer. He knows first-hand the impact that one committed champion can have in transforming a young life experiencing difficult times. As a young man, Hasan faced multiple social and personal challenges, but the opportunity to creatively engage the world and find his own voice allowed him to exchange one “JD” for another. He went from Hasan Davis, Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis, Juris Doctor. Come walk a few miles with Hasan and be reminded why your work is even more important today than ever.


  • Hasan Davis, J.D., President, HD Solutions, Berea, KY


 Programming FOR the Future, WITH the Future
A free public forum

Wednesday, November 15, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

In the culture of design, we have grown adept at talking about the future without integrating “future citizens” into the conversation. Specifically, this means creating policy and programming decisions that are for and about young people without consulting or including young people in the process. A number of leaders have begun recognizing this process flaw, and have committed to co-designing next generation systems with young people whose outcomes are justice. Inspired by the multi-city conference Create Justice, organizers in the San Francisco Bay Area have forged partnerships between adults and teens who work with four seminal youth centered organizations, Youth Speaks, Destiny Arts Center, Berkeley High School's CAS program, and YBCA's Youth Fellows. Join us this evening for an overview of what co-designed systems look like in principle, and participate in a cross-generational workshop on the ground to experience what this modality feels like in practice. This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is now open.


  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
  • Rebeka Rodriguez, Civic Engagement Manger, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

 Emerging Young Artist Residency
Thursday, November 16 – Saturday, November 18

Bay Area and national youth will participate in an Emerging Young Artist Residency, Nov. 16 – 18. Hosted by Destiny Arts Center, the residency will offer young performing artists, ages 16-14, an opportunity to collaborate with leading teaching artists and their peers in the creation of original performance pieces that explore critical social issues connected to conference themes. The residency will culminate in a 10-15 minute performance at the Annual Awards Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Friday Plenary: Designing Your Life
Friday, November 17, 10:00AM - 11:30 AM
The question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” is one that never truly goes away. Whether you are a college grad entering the workforce, a forty year-old shifting careers, or a sixty-eight year-old trying to define an encore career, the search for a fulfilling life never stops. In this riveting keynote, award-winning product designer Bill Burnett will share tools and strategies for how to look at career and life planning through the lens of design.


  • Bill Burnett, Executive Director, Design Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA


 Working in Trauma-Impacted Communities: Building Capacity for Self-Care to Better Care for Others
Friday, November 17, 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

This session is SOLD OUT.
When incorporating a trauma-informed approach to working with young people and community, it is vital that you take care of yourself so that you can sustain the work of caring for others. This two-part session will include a three hour workshop with leading national expert, Shawn Ginwright, and a site visit and dinner at  RYSE Center in Richmond. 

 Part I: Workshop with Shawn Ginwright (2:00 pm – 5:00pm)
During this three-hour workshop, we’ll  explore how to apply Radical Healing practices to your home and work lives by developing a personal "diet for justice"—activities and practices that can be integrated into your daily routine to build fitness for personal and collective power. By engaging in small but consistent Radical Healing practices, the diet for justice leads to collective practice, which ultimately creates the changes we seek. During this three-hour workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to learn and generate both ideas and action-oriented plans for fostering personal wellness and racial healing in trauma-impacted communities.

Part II: Site Visit to RYSE Center & Dinner (5:00pm – 8:00pm)
After the workshop, we’ll head out to Richmond and visit RYSE Center which is anchored in the belief that young people have the lived knowledge and expertise to identify, prioritize, and direct the activities and services necessary to thrive. You will see and learn firsthand how RYSE’s staff and the young people they serve employ Radical Healing strategies in their day to day work.  We’ll then share a meal together catered by a local restaurant.

Ticketed event: $40 fee to cover roundtrip transportation to RYSE Center and dinner. Pre-registration is required.  Registration for this event can be found in the "Special  Events" section of the registration portal. Attendees must commit to the full program, from 2:00pm – 8:00pm. Space is limited.


  • Shawn Ginwright, Professor, San Francisco State University, San Fracisco, CA
  • Kanwarpal Dhaliwal, Co-Founder and Associate Director, RYSE Center, Richmond, CA
  • Dan Reilly, Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, RYSE Center, Richmond, CA

Annual Meeting
Friday, November 17, 9:00AM - 10:00AM

Join us as Guild leaders report on youe national organization's recent accomplishments, discuss strategic priorities, and the Guild's future plans.

Annual Awards Breakfast
Saturday, November 18, 8:00AM – 10:00AM

Our celebratory Annual Awards Breakfast will honor Lara Davis and Ellen Michelson for their extraordinary service to community arts education. A performance culminating the conference’s Emerging Young Artist Residency for 14-16 year olds, will be a highlight of this festive gathering, and will remind us of what community arts education is all about.


 High-Impact Partnerships with K-12 Schools
Saturday, November 18, 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Held on-site at the Westin St. Francis, participants of this day-long institute will gain practical tools and hands-on training to help your organization produce powerful benefits for students, teachers, artists, and communities through deeper partnerships with K–12 schools. Using case studies, examinations of critical issues, dialogue with expert practitioners, and hands-on practice with planning and evaluation tools, you’ll explore arts education partnerships from multiple perspectives and discover what makes them effective over time. True partnerships—characterized by mutual understanding and commitment, collaborative planning, and shared responsibility and accountability—have lasting effects.

Roll up your sleeves and join experts and peers to increase your understanding of these key partnership ingredients:

  • Benefits and challenges of collaboration
  • Characteristics of effective, sustainable partnerships
  • Management skills for establishing and sustaining effective partnerships
  • Methods for overcoming common partnership challenges.

You’ll also craft a partnership action plan for implementation back home

Please note: this session runs from 10:30AM - 5:30PM and will be held on-site at the hotel.


  • Chrissy Anderson-Zavala, Arts Education Consultant, Santa Cruz, CA.

 Transformative Leadership: Leading, Caring for and Preparing the People You Serve
Saturday, November 18, 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
A mindful leader understands the more power you have, the more careful and responsive you must be with those you have the privilege of leading or serving. Creating caring organizations and communities is the result of thoughtful and connected leadership. It’s not hard to see why caring leaders often seem to intuitively nurture future caring leaders. Leadership is a topic that many people have long been contributing perspectives on and that’s because there’s that aspect of leadership that’s often hard to define; it’s the part that makes someone want to be out in front to be accountable, withstanding the brunt of what’s to come-good or bad. In addition, that person has to be the same person that inspires and builds consensus from within the group they are gifted with leading. The person out in front bearing the brunt must be strong and resilient, but at the same time, compassionate and a fearless follower of the people they are expected to lead. The impact of good leadership should last long after the leader has gone.

In this full-day workshop, join leadership and community arts education expert Kwayera Archer to design or redesign your inspirational leadership style, all while being a genuine example of wellness! Kwayera has a proven track record in designing and delivering initiatives that are sustainable and inclusive of the community’s voice. She was trained as a professional modern and ballet dancer, and later became the founder and CEO of the award-winning Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy where she collaborated with the Brooklyn community for over 25 years to grow the organization from a minute budget to a multi-million dollar institution. Her practical experiences, proven case studies, creative use of multi-media, and her enthusiastic and passionate delivery, have proven to be a winning formula for organizations and agencies across the globe. Sign up here.

Please note: this session runs from 10:30AM - 4:30PM and will be held on-site at the hotel.


  • Kwayera Archer, President/CEO, Global Ase Consulting LLC, Kingston, Jamaica

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.