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Conference Sessions and Presenters - Saturday, October 28th

AM Session Block 1, Saturday, October 28th

How to pick: making impacts AND satisfying your creative needs, Jessica Gelter

If you're germinating a dozen ideas, how do you pick which one to put in the garden to give your full attention? We'll try out some easy tools and systems for picking your next project and we'll review ways you can evaluate if you and the community got what you were expecting. This workshop will be led by Jessica Gelter, an experienced artist coach who has coached over 200 creatives and helped a dozen nonprofit art organizations launch in her role as executive director of Arts Alive. As leaders and facilitators artists are at the center of much of this community-engaged work. Burnout is real. As creatives, we need to ensure that we can continue to show up - and the best way to do that is to pick projects that are satisfying our needs as well as projects that have community impact. This workshop offers an objective way to look at that decision-making.

Photography as a Tool for Social Change, Becky Field

This session will share an overview of the role of photographic art to effect social change, followed by a focus on Becky's 12-year photography work illustrating New Hampshire's cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity and it's impact on public awareness and the immigrants themselves. Her colorful images, two books, public talks and photo exhibits have challenged prevailing sentiments about diversity in this state, honored and celebrated our multicultural neighbors, and stimulated public discussions about the values and strengths of cultural diversity. Becky will share some journey stories from NH's immigrants that speak to the emotional challenges of being a refugee or asylum-seeker. Attendees will do a short exercise that illustrates the pain of fleeing one's home. During Q&A, participants can share their perspectives on NH's diversity. 

Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage, Vera Longtoe Sheehan

Wearing Our Heritage brings forth clothing, accessories, and regalia as expressions of personal and community Native identity in New England. It documents the ways in which garments and accessories that reflect New England Abenaki heritage have been, and still are, made and used to express Native identity. What does it mean to be Indian in New England? What does it mean to be an Indigenous artist? Native identity finds expression in different ways with each generation. These objects are made and worn for self-affirmation, to affirm connections with family, clan, band, and tribe, and to express identity within the geographical locale co-occupied with mainstream culture. This presentation will encourage engagement and understanding of some of the issues associated with Native identity, recognition, and evolving creative expression by members of traditional culture.

Collaborate and Listen: Creating a Collaborative Community Art Piece, Jason DeYoung, Queerlective

Through this workshop, participants will discuss the impact collaborative art pieces can have on building community. Participants will work together to create their own collaborative art piece and will then discuss what was learned and how this can be implemented in their own individual communities. Jason will share about Queerlective's work, examples of their own collaborative art projects, and discuss how this is fostering relationships, building a sense of identity, and creating a shared space for creativity. 

PM Session Block 2, Saturday, October 28th 

Changing Brains Through Art and Adventure: Experiential Approaches to Adolescent Engagement, Growth, and Community, Cara Cabral and Jennifer Minicucci, Arts in Reach

The mental health crisis among adolescents is at an all-time high. This workshop addresses the question: How can artistic youth programming broaden critical support for this population and their unique challenges? This workshop will provide opportunities for teaching artists, in-school and out-of-school educators, and program staff to explore an evidence-based framework for creating effective art-based experiences that support stress reduction, well-being, social skills, and resiliency. Examples of how this model is being applied at Arts In Reach will be shared. An emphasis will be placed on co-learning and the importance of the role of the facilitator in shaping the learning environment and in tailoring activities to both individual and group needs. Participants will leave this workshop with a theoretical model they can apply to their own practice, strategies for expanding their facilitator’s toolkit, and lots of valuable resources. This workshop will also demonstrate experiential learning in action through an interactive art activity. While this workshop primarily focuses on the youth demographic, the frameworks explored are applicable to group settings of all ages.

The Creative Economy - Hidden in Plain Sight, Dee Schneidman and Natalya Tausanovitch, NEFA

Let's talk about who is in the creative ecosystem, how to find each other within it, and how to stay connected - to each other and also to those outside the creative sector who are invested in healthy communities.  Let's make how the creative sector works symbiotically across communities and sectors more visible and valued. Creative places employ people with all kinds of expertise, and creative people work in nearly every sector that powers New England, from the arts, to education, to technology and science, to major global brands. They create what we listen to, watch, read, wear and buy. And they play a key role in determining where we want to live, work, and go on vacation. But the creative sector is so embedded and intersectional with other sectors that it can be hard to see, measure, connect, and include in cross-sector initiatives. Resources can only flow to what is visible/known, so how can we know and engage our mysterious creative ecosystem? NEFA staff will share trends from our work helping to define the creative sector for 45+ years; analyzing where creative people work and with whom, gathering examples of their cross-sector partnerships, and inviting everyone in the sector to share what they do and their relationships online on so that this diverse and interdependent sector can be celebrated and better known and connected. We'll explore the connections across the ecosystem - because collaboration is actually necessary in order to do creative work, but also because understanding the relationships within the complex ecosystem will help resources flow throughout and to it from those outside of the creative sector.


A Park for the Arts, Newton Rose, Kelly Gadouas, and Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park 

Saint-Gaudens NHP is one of the few national parks centered on the arts. This workshop explores how the park strives to be a continued site of creativity and community. Park staff and partners will highlight three recent initiatives of using the arts to address contemporary issues and build community. These case studies include the curation of a student art exhibit related to the natural and cultural harm of the Emerald ash borer in partnership with the park, a local school, and citizens of the Abenaki community. The Education Fellow will also share how the park worked with members of the local Jewish community to use music and art as a rejection of an incident of antisemitism at the park. Lastly, a park ranger will share recent innovations to public programming at the park that more clearly connects diverse histories, art on display, and contemporary issues.

Death Wings Workshop: Hands-on art making to transform the cultural conversation about death and end-of-life, Laura Cleminson and Bess Welden

As a society we are woefully out of practice in talking about death, dying and loss. We've all lost someone we love. Right now, many of us are navigating how to support a friend or loved one who is dying, but we aren't talking about it because we don't know how. We live in a world where we've medicalized death and have distanced ourselves from the fact that a natural part of our living is also our dying. This has left us with few tools for that tender road.  This workshop is for you if: 1) you are in search of a way to honor someone who has died; 2) you are looking for ways to communicate the impact someone that is currently dying has had on you; or 3) you are a professional who works with people experiencing loss and are looking for creative pathways to connect with your clients. Your co-hosts for this "care-fully facilitated", creatively compassionate experience are: Laura Cleminson, End-of-Life Doula and Founder of the Pre-Dead Social Club, an organization dedicated to building community that normalizes death and dying and; Bess Welden, award winning playwright, core artist and creative producer of the Death Wings Project. They will lead a hands-on experience, which includes short writing prompts that turn into hand-cut paper feathers used to assemble a set of mini-wings in small groups.  Participants will get a taste for what happens in a full-length workshop and experience firsthand how making death wings brings people together regardless of our backgrounds or demographics through a highly accessible visual arts project.

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