Chicago Suburban Arts Conference

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May 3, 2014 between 8a and 4p St, Charles IL at Steel Beam Theater, PrintLab and Pizzeria NEO.
After conference reception between 5p and 8p. You can see the full event schedule here.

If you need further information (or if you wish to sponsor this event), please e-mail Amanda Harris at ChicagoSuburbanArtsConference@gmail.com

Special thanks to our partners in helping organize this special event.

The intent of Chicago Suburban Arts Conference is to bring together suburban arts organizations in order to foster a wider collaborative environment. Through the conference, organizations will identify their needs and asset. Based on that self evaluation, be paired up with other organizations to partner for future endeavors. Speakers and facilitators will also focus on a variety of forms of collaborations in the hopes to get arts leaders to look at how they can facilitate building community through the arts in conjunction with like-minded groups.

We are thrilled to announce our keynote speaker, Janet Carl Smith, who will be presenting on "Connecting the Arts: Thoughts on Collaboration and Advocacy".

Janet Carl Smith is an arts advocate, advisor and connector who promotes the arts as an essential part of life in Chicago.  Throughout her career she has worked in city government and higher education to bring accessible, high quality cultural experiences to the public, strengthen the capacity of the arts sector and engage civic leadership in conversation about the importance of arts and culture in the community.  As Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs until her retirement in January, 2011, Ms. Smith built support for the arts over thirty two years by managing free public exhibitions and performances.  In addition to cultural programming oversight at the Chicago Cultural Center, she directed a range of city-wide collaborative programs to promote Chicago's cultural resources and support the development and success of local artists and arts organizations.      

Previous to that, Ms. Smith directed campus programming at the University of Illinois at the Medical Center (now UIC.) from 1968-78, and has worked throughout her career on initiatives that encourage college students to engage with the arts.    

Since leaving her position with the city, Ms. Smith continues to mentor, advise, connect and support arts organizations and arts managers.  She serves on the Executive Committee of Arts Alliance Illinois and initiated a task force to raise awareness about the important role of the arts, innovation and creativity in civic dialogue. As Chair of the Council on the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, she is passionate about promoting lifelong learning.   In addition, she is a member of the Chicago Toronto Sister Cities Committee, and serves on the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Theatre and Music Advisory Committee.

Among her tributes, Ms. Smith was honored by the Arts and Business Council in 2009 as "one of Chicago's most skilled and imaginative administrators for the arts" and she was awarded Metropolitan Capital Bank's 2011 Distinguished Service in the Arts Award.  In May, 2014, she will be honored by the Chicago Cultural Alliance as a Cultural Champion.

Ms. Smith has spoken to a variety of professional arts, education and civic organizations on such topics as creativity, the arts in Chicago, cultural tourism, and collaboration.  She is a New York native and a graduate of Northwestern University, and lives with her husband Mel Smith in Chicago.

Additional speakers and break out facilitators will include Illinois Arts Council, Arts Alliance Illinois, Lara Oppenheimer of Chicago Time ExchangeJimi Allen of Gravity Building and others.