The tenth year of Break It Down | Make It Better will take place at the historic Federal Building and kick off with a keynote presentation by George Bayard III, founder and director of the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA).

Following the keynote will be a day of breakout sessions, food, a dance performance by Dance in the Annex, and a happy hour. The days sessions will take the form of presentations, roundtables, panel discussions, and workshops on the topics of professional skills building and the conference’s theme, creative placemaking, a practice in which the arts are used to strengthen communities.

Tickets are on sale now. Check out the day’s sessions and schedule below:

Creative Placemaking Roundtables, Presentations, and Panel Discussions

• The Future of the UICA: A Roundtable Disscussion with John O’Neil, Tommy Allen, and Paul Wittenbraker

Artprize: Year of Yes with Director of Exhibitions JoLee Caseras

• Art, Land, Politics, and a Decommissioned Power Plant with Macatawa Strata

• Running an Alternative Art Space with Hugo Claudin of Mexicains Sans Frontieres

• Jumping into Public Art. An Artist Panel Discussion by Katie Moore of DGRI

• Advocating for 1% for Art Funding with Susan Coombes, former art commissioner

• Lessons Learned Restoring Burton Heights’ Four Star Theater with Marcus Ringnalda

• Stronger Together: A Roundtable Discussion on Creative Collaboration with Chris Protas of All Artworks

• Intro to Public Narrative Framework, a tried and true method for community engagement with artist Angelika Lee

• Volunteerism in our Art & Music Communities with Charity Lytle of The DAAC

Skills Building Workshops and Presentations

• Paid Artist Opportunities: Application Workshop

• How to Write a Killer Artist Proposal with John Fenton of Lions & Rabbits

• Getting the Most Out of an Art Residency with musician Vanessa DeCouto

• Forging a creative career path with printmaker Kristin Casaletto

• Digital Marketing Skills with artist Payton Pringle

• From Blog to Book with food photographer Katy McAvoy

• Mental Health & Art as Therapy with Nicholas Hartman (Chapel of Ghouls)

• The Gift of Being Present with Kate Lewis

• Following the process: Allowing Intuition into Your Artwork with
Ryan Crawley

The Day’s Schedule

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Opening Remarks and Keynote Speaker George Bayard III

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Breakout Session Block #1: Six locally-led roundtables, workshops, panels and/or presentations

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Breakout Session Block #2: Six locally-led roundtables, workshops, panels

2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Breakout Session Block #3: Six locally-led roundtables, workshops, panels

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
Keynote Panel Discussion
A discussion between regional arts leaders on the themes of creative placemaking: getting artists, arts workers, and arts organizations out of their silos, collaborating with others, and embracing the neighborhoods and regions around them.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Happy Hour
Happy hour will open with a dance performance by Dance in the Annex followed by refreshments and a chance to mix and mingle. In addition, it will feature tabling by regional arts organizations so that conference guests can learn more about what they do and how to get involved.

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