National Guild For Community Arts Education

Forgot Password?

Enter your email below to help retrieve your password.

Forgot Password?

The 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. Gather with your peers to address common challenges, network, and brainstorm innovations for the field.

Sessions are 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 you need to grow your organization. Choose one pathway or sample a variety to create your own best conference experience.

Check out these highlights from the conference program. New details added regularly. Check back here for the latest updates!

Plenary Sessions

 The conference will include plenary sessions to inspire and inform our field. Our 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

Annual Awards Breakfast

 Awards-lunch.jpgSaturday, November 18, 8:00AM – 10:00AM

Join us for a celebratory breakfast honoring two extraordinary leaders in the field: Lara Davis (National Guild Service Award) and Ellen Michelson (National Guild Leadership Award). The Awards Breakfast, which is included in registration, also features performances by young Bay Area performers.

Special Events

 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 for this event will open in a few weeks.


  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy, 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.


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

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


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

Gain practical tools and hands-on training that will help your organization produce powerful benefits for students, teachers, artists, and communities through deeper partnerships with K–12 schools.


Breakout Sessions Highlights

 The conference will include workshops, roundtables, and other professional development opportunities for everyone in the field. Here are some highlights. Check back regularly for the latest updates!

Building a Culture of Accountability to Strengthen Community Impact
Through role playing and poetry, conference keynoter Hasan Davis will introduce you to a methodology for building a strong organizational culture of accountability that in turn helps you better serve community needs. The R.O.P.E.S (Rules of Properly Engaging in Success) method is designed to reset organizational norms for the better by engaging your whole team in establishing the ground rules for success. Through this process, team members will be able to identify their individual strengths and needs; and collectively create pathways to more effectively communicate and plan together. We’ll then explore how this same process can be applied to your work with students and communities. Track: Arts and Healing.

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

Catalyzing Your Individual Donor Program

At a time when many arts organizations are struggling with further cutbacks to government funding, raising money from individual donors offers a promising revenue stream as well as a major lift for their already-stretched teams. How can you work smarter, not harder on your fundraising and at the same time have it draw on your group’s strengths: your artistic identity, creativity and vibrancy? In this three-hour workshop, you’ll discover practical strategies to deepen your donors’ engagement with and commitment to your organization and brainstorm with your peers about ways to make fundraising fun and exciting for everyone involved. Bring your imaginations with you! We will do a quick review of basic fundraising concepts and then explore ways to strengthen your individual donor work through creative cultivation, retention and upgrading strategies. This session is most appropriate for groups that already have at least 100 donors and that do regular annual appeals and other individual donor fundraising activities. Track: Arts Management

  • Rona Fernandez, Senior Consultant, Klein & Roth Consulting, Oakland, CA

Connecting Purpose, Paradigms, and Practice: Through-Lines to Moving Forward in the Workplace, Classroom, and Community
As administrators, educators, artists, and activists, we seek strategies to enhance our impact through our organizations and creative practices. Current research is providing us with deepened understandings of social-emotional learning, restorative practices, trauma-informed strategies, brain-based pedagogy, and play-based learning. With so much to know and integrate, what is a through-line for understanding emerging fields, finding relevance for our work and developing strategies for incorporating this learning into day-to-day practices within our organizations and with our constituencies?

Participants will:

  • gain a brief introduction to bodies of current work and research
  • explore a through-line for connecting practice with research-based understandings that are increasingly influencing work in schools and communities
  • experience strategies for developing personal and organizational practices that can transform working relationships, productivity, learning and pedagogy

Experiential processes easily transferable to a work environment, classroom, or community setting will include: Creating collaboratively; exploring strengths and challenges through individual, partner, and group processes; and grounding our work through individual and group strategies. This session will be deeply rooted and playfully executed. Participants will leave with practical strategies and tangible tools to apply immediately back home. Track: Arts Management.

  • Jan Kirsch, Director of Professional Development, Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles, CA

Homegrown: From Student to Alumni to Staff

This interactive session will provide you with advice, information, and counsel on how to maximize the positive outcomes that can result when alumni of an arts education organization return to take on leadership positions. An alumna now on the staff of a nationally recognized creative youth development organization, SAY Sí in San Antonio, Nicole Amri will share her personal journey from student to alumna to staff. Join to discuss strategies for preparing students before they leave your programs, engaging alumni once they leave, and finally hiring them back in leadership roles. A Q&A will allow participants to explore benefits and challenges, both foreseen and unforeseen, of welcoming back alumni as professional staff at your organization. Track: Creative Youth Development

  • Nicole Amri, Program Director, SAY Sí, San Antonio, TX

Life is Living: The Creative Ecosystem in Action
Since 2008, thousands of Oakland residents have annually gathered a festival in a historic Black Panther Park in Oakland to model a new vision of environmental practice. The Life is Living Festival, produced by Youth Speaks and co-founded by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Hodari Davis, re-imagines environmental stewardship through the centering of Black and Brown life. The structure for producing Life is Living has since been replicated in Joseph's new role as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at YBCA, and serves as a dynamic example of how arts institutions can work efficiently and in integrity with local communities to co-produce locally relevant work that accesses local creativity and yields mutually beneficial and beautiful results. Join the co-founders today to discuss this organizing structure, talk about the politics and values of partnering in community context, and discover how and why Life is Living has come to mean so much to the Town that birthed it. Track: Community Partnerships

  • Hodari B. Davis, National Program Director, Youth Speaks, San Francisco, CA
  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Pathways to Civic Leadership 
Making a difference in the community requires more than good intentions. It requires leadership skills and tools. Participants in this interactive workshop will use movement and drawing to identify personal leadership pathways in their organizations, and from there, ways to use art to address civic challenges in the community beyond. Leaders from the Hyde Park Arts Center in Chicago and Destiny Arts Center in Oakland will guide participants to explore:

  • Strategies for effective civic engagement with community partners
  • Ways to leverage community members’ experiences for current organizational opportunities
  • Communication strategies, both internal and external, to foster connections and joint action across perspectives
  • Productive steps to move from vision to implementation, building organizational capacity with a balance of realism and optimism
  • Practical ways to serve as a civic ambassador for your organization and the community you serve

Track: Leadership Development

  • Aurora King, School and Community Programs Director, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
  • Mika Lemoine, Senior Mentor Teaching Artist and Junior Company, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
  • Hilesh PatelDeputy Director, Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago, IL

Public/Private Partnerships for Creative Youth Development & Arts Education
The Sony Pictures Media Arts program in Los Angeles is a model public/private partnership, which has endured and evolved for over 20 years, involving 6,000 teenagers and 500+ teaching artists and producing hundreds of award winning animated films. This session will feature representatives of the three different sectors behind this successful partnership: a municipal government agency (City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs); a movie studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and an institution of higher education (California Institute of the Arts and its Community Arts Partnership program). Learn what has made this public/private partnership model effective in advancing arts education, and gain valuable insights into how to initiate and sustain similar collaborations in your community. Track: Community Partnerships

  • Glenna Avila, Wallis Annenberg Director of Youth Programs and Artistic Director, CalArts, Oakland, CA
  • Janice Pober, Senior VP of Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Culver City, CA
  • Leslie  ThomasCommunity Arts Director, Dept. of Cultural Affairs, City of LA, Los Angeles, CA


Social Emotional Learning in the Arts:  Using Youth Program Quality Methods to Support Staff & Improve Practice
How do arts education organizations develop teaching artists’ ability to increase youth skill building in areas other than the arts? This interactive workshop focuses on how the Youth Program Quality (YPQ) strengths assessment and low risk improvement process can help teaching artists more effectively promote positive youth development in their programs with a focus on social emotional learning (SEL). The Center for Youth Program Quality will share SEL practices and other useful tools from their report, Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social Emotional Learning. Creative Action, a leading creative youth development organization in Austin, TX, will share strategies for strengthening teaching artists’ ability to nurture SEL in the classroom. They also will demonstrate how they embed YPQ tools into their larger training and assessment platform to coach high quality out-of-school time staff. Join us to gain effective tools and resources, share best practices in staff development, and leave with new program ideas and peer connections. Track: Creative Youth Development

  • Sarah Rinner, Senior Director of Out of School Time Programs, Creative Action, Austin, TX
  • Frank Nappi, Associate Program Director, Creative Action, Austin, TX
  • Leah Wallace, Program Associate, The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Ypsilanti, MI

Surviving and Thriving in Today's Socio-Political Climate: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
Working with youth in the current socio-political climate is a complex responsibility. Many young people are grappling with difficult real-world issues and urgently seeking creative outlets for expression. Arts educators are uniquely positioned to partner with schools and other youth organizations to build student agency and expression, support teachers in their complex work, and demonstrate pathways to positive change. In this session, you’ll learn about Arts Corps’ culturally responsive pedagogy, which engages learners while addressing and respecting their cultural integrity. Preliminary results from Arts Corps’ AEMDD-funded Creative Schools Initiative, indicate that culturally responsive arts integration leads to gains in students’ academic mindsets (sense of belonging, growth mindset, self-efficacy and relevance), with significant effects for youth with IEPs. Participants will come away with strategies for bolstering student academic mindsets, ideas for addressing justice in the classroom, and examples of how to create and maintain strong partnerships and high-quality programming in these times. Track: Arts in Education.

  • Carina del Rosario, Teaching Artist, Arts Corps, Seattle, WA
  • Dennie Palmer Wolf, Principal, WolfBrown, Cambridge, MA

Youth Justice: A Collective Action Approach 
Join Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) and Carnegie Hall for an in-depth look at the important and growing work being done with the arts in juvenile justice settings. You’ll hear stories from people who benefitted from the arts while in the justice system. We’ll then explore the opportunities and challenges of arts education a justice setting as well as examine several collective action strategies for advancing this work, including AIYN organizations; the NeON Arts network in New York; and Create Justice, a new national initiative for collective action. You will leave with tools and strategies, including an introduction to best practices for youth leadership, professional development with artists and social service partners, evaluation, and public advocacy. Track: Social Justice.

  • Fabian Debora, Teaching Artist
  • Ann GreggDirector, Social Impact Programs, Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, New York, NY
  • Kaile Shilling, Executive Director, Violence Prevention Coalition, Greater LA


Roundtables and Networking Meetings

 Discipline Roundtable Breakfasts
Thursday, November 16, 8:30 – 9:45 AM
Kick-off your conference experience by engaging in a focused conversation with your peers that work in your artistic discipline at organizations across the country. This is a great way for veterans and first-time conference attendees alike to make connections that will last through the next three days and beyond!

Breakfast meetings are planned for Dance, Music, Theatre, Media Arts, and Visual Arts disciplines.

Food for Thought Luncheons
Thursday, November 16, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Choose from a variety of dynamic, small group luncheons to best suit your interests, learning style, and state of mind. Each luncheon will provide you with new ideas and connections. Lunch is provided with main conference and single day registrations.

Sample Food for Thought topics:

  • Recruiting and Retaining Quality Staff
  • Building Student Participation in Fee-Based Programs
  • Leadership Over 50: Growth and Adaptation for Late-Career Leaders
  • Cutting-Edge Marketing in the Arts

Arts Education Showcases
Sample some of the latest in administrative and classroom technology designed specifically to help nonprofit arts organizations thrive.

Click here for more info on all Networking Events at the conference.

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