SNAAP at IU presenting unique conference on arts training and the creative workforce

Who are the 3 million arts graduates in America? What do we know about them? What is the state of arts training in higher education today?

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project — a project of the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research in collaboration with the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University — is organizing a one-of-a-kind three-day national conference on arts training and the creative workforce.

The event, “3 Million Stories: Understanding the Lives and Careers of America’s Arts Graduates,” will take place March 7 to 9 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The diverse group of speakers will include:

  • Lewis Black (MFA 1977, Yale School of Drama), Grammy Award-winning comedian, author, playwright, social critic and actor who will be interviewed by Academy Award-winning playwright and lyricist Willie Reale.
  • Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of “The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art and Music Drive New York City” (Princeton University Press, 2007), which has received attention in publications such as the Economist, Time, Forbes, The New Yorker, the Village Voice, National Public Radio and The New York Times.
  • Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin and advocate of accountability in higher education.
  • James Heartfield, British journalist and author of numerous acclaimed publications, including The Creativity Gap.
  • Samuel Hoi, president of Otis College of Art and Design and chair of the board of United States Artists.
  • Sunil Iyengar, director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Ann Markusen, author of numerous publications on the arts and director of the Arts Economy Initiative and the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
  • Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, authors of the path-breaking book “Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People.”
  • R. Keith Sawyer, author of 12 books, including “Group Genius” and “Explaining Creativity,” and over 80 scientific articles.

According to Steven J. Tepper, associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Public Policy and Enterprise at Vanderbilt and the conference organizer, “The conference should be required attendance for anyone who is involved in arts training and supporting artistic careers; it will also have much to offer artists, researchers and others who share a broad interest in the 21st-century creative workforce.”

Registration is now open at www.3millionstories.com. The deadline for discounted hotel accommodation is Feb. 1.

Support for this event comes from the Surdna Foundation through its leadership grant for SNAAP.

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project investigates the educational experiences and career paths of arts graduates nationally via an annual survey, and provides findings to educators, policymakers and the general public.