Over winter break, the first-year Bolz Center students had the great pleasure of attending the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference (APAP) in New York City with our director, Sherry Wagner-Henry. Held annually in January, the conference bridges the gap between performers, agents, venue managers, and more. It provides the perfect arena to catch up with colleagues, confirm programming for future shows, and facilitate new relationships. The Bolzies helped me to reflect on the experience:
“APAP and NYC have been amazing! The morning sessions have all been interesting and engaging and it was great to hear Ben Cameron speak. Other highlights were a panel discussion about introducing new work to grow the next generation of audiences with John Clancy and Mike Daisy, and seeing the incredible Reggie Watts perform. I’ve enjoyed checking out the showcases as well, and saw a four-person tap dance act that was backed by a live band, an Irish folk group, and Real Diamond: the World’s Greatest Neil Diamond Tribute Band (which I enjoyed with only the slightest bit of irony). It’s been great to check out NYC and get the chance to walk around Central Park and hang out in Brooklyn and the East Village. It was nice connecting with alumni and getting a chance to network with people here at the conference. What a great experience this was—wish I could come back every year!”
“APAP is the speed dating of the performance world. If there’s no connection within minutes, there is no deal.”
“The first impression one gets when walking through the APAP Expo Halls and discussion groups is one of controlled chaos. The business of performance presentation is all about relationships, networking, and timing. The vast majority of the participants come for private meetings, handshake deals, and general schmoozing. Relationships are built and broken over one weekend, resulting in the next year’s bookings for much of the U.S. performing arts centers. It’s a mish-mash of education, showcases, and arts leaders coming together to discuss the state of the performing arts and the future of the industry.”
“Seeing the connections and relationships attendees have built over the years prove that personal interaction is still a premium within the industry.”
“The 2013 Arts Presenters conference in NYC was a great opportunity for our Bolz Center students (and for me as director!) to connect with industry professionals, participate in professional development sessions, and reconnect with local alumni and friends of the arts program. The added extension benefit of this conference is that it draws professionals from across the country, including our alumni working in the performing arts, so the connection points go well beyond the Big Apple. This Bolz Center annual pilgrimage, funded by an endowment created to honor the late Bill Dawson of Arts Presenters, is a wonderful way for our first-year students to be introduced to the depth and breadth of opportunities in the industry, as well as start the all-important networking with our alumni and friends in the Northeast.
-Sherry Wagner-Henry, director
As for my own impression, my favorite overheard quote at APAP was ‘Business brings the money...but mission brings the heart and soul.’ I think this not only captures why we, as arts students, do what we do, but also the importance of business to make it happen.