AFTA Half-Century Summit

Every year, Americans for the Arts hosts a summit/ conference/convention. Last year’s event was in Seattle and next year’s is in San Diego! But, lucky me! This year’s summit took place in Baltimore and that meant interns got to go! YAY! Unfortunately, we were only able to go for one day..but, it was a great day! Leading up to the summit, there were a lot of pre-conference events, including a talk with John Waters (creator of Hairspray). I was really disappointed I was not going to be able to attend this event, but it ended up ok in that I got to meet him the next day! He signed his new book for me, which I am very excited about reading, and he was nice enough to take a picture with me. Now, if you know anything about John Waters, you know he is weird…well, in person he is just as bizarre if not more so! I attended the opening lunch with guest speakers Robert Redford (LOVE HIM) and Arianna Huffington (creator of huffingtonpost.com). Both did a great job, and later when Arianna signed HER new book for me, and I told her how much I loved reading her site, she asked me when I was going to start writing for the arts section!! I don’t know if she was serious or not, but I am definitely going to start brainstorming some topics and get back to her about that one. The rest of the afternoon was full of your typical conference stuff; snacks, break-out sessions, more snacks…you know how it is. Later that night, all the interns were invited to the American Visionary Art Museum This museum was SO freaking cool. I need to go back though and really take it all in. There was so much art, music, drinks, and food that I really didn’t get the chance to walk around and absorb it all. The day is not over yet though! I met Bill Ivey, former chairman of the NEA and founder of the Curb Center for Cultural Policy at Vanderbilt. Now, I have many academic aspirations, and one of them is studying with this guy at Vandy. Not sure it’s going to happen now though, because I think my excitement at meeting him may have scared him off…oh well!

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