AAE: Supporting Individual Artists Webinar Series

About this Series

Americans for the Arts is excited to bring you a series of deep dive webinars about supporting individual artists. As part of Americans for the Arts ongoing program, Arts Administrators Essentials: Supporting Individual Artists, these webinars are your opportunity to hear from individuals and organizations in the arts and culture field that support individual artists as part of their everyday work. The first part of this series will take a look at supporting artists of specific disciplines, with the second part focusing on programs you may want to consider developing as you work to support individual artists.

This project is supported in part by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Supporting Individual Artists: Musicians Edition

    Contains 2 Component(s) Recorded On: 06/05/2019

    What can your community do to fully support musicians in your creative industry? Join us on 6/5 for webinar with representatives from Des Moines as we take a look at how they are valuing musicians in their community and helping them create thriving practices.


     About this Webinar

    Recognizing that communities need more than just strong businesses to thrive, Central Iowa has staked its claim on a robust arts and culture scene to attract, retain, engage, entertain and inspire residents and visitors alike. With a commitment to fostering a strong creative economy, this community recognizes and values the role that individual artists in creating a vibrant community. This commitment is evident as we look at the many organizations supporting artists of all disciplines, especially musicians. Join us for a webinar with representatives from Des Moines, Iowa as we explore ways that a community can holistically support musicians through avenues such as marketing, financial skill building, providing performance spaces, and more.

    Attendees will hear from:

    Sally Dix, Executive Director, Bravo Greater Des Moines

    Katie Byers, Founder, Home Ditty

    Jay Byers, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership

    Tobi Parks, Executive Director, Station 1 Records

    This project is supported in part by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


    Sally Dix

    Executive Director, Bravo Greater Des Moines

    Sally Dix is the Executive Director for Bravo Greater Des Moines, a nonprofit organization that leverages community resources to maximize impact of arts, culture and heritage to advance regional priorities.  Bravo’s revenue comes primarily from 17 local government partners who contribute a portion of their hotel/motel tax.  Bravo then strategically invests those through grants and leadership initiatives to elevate and enrich a vibrant Greater Des Moines.  

    Prior to joining Bravo, Dix served as the Vice President of Communications for the Science Center of Iowa.  She also served as the first Executive Director of the Iowa Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 

    Dix has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins, both in Environmental Science and Policy.  She also received her MBA from the University of Iowa.   

    Website: http://bravogreaterdesmoines.org

    Facebook Page: @BravoGreaterDesMoines         


    Katie Byers

    Founder & CEO, HomeDitty, LLC

    Katie Byers is a former attorney turned entrepreneur and an avid music lover. She is the Founder & CEO of HomeDitty, a web based software built specifically for house concert hosts that launched into Beta testing in February 2017. HomeDitty connects musicians directly with house concert hosts, automates the entire hosting process and facilitates online payments to the musicians including a crowdfund payment option. Since its inception, hundreds of house concerts have been hosted through HomeDitty with over 500 host signups in 40 different states. HomeDitty was created and inspired by Katie’s love of hosting house concerts, to get more people across the country hosting private house concerts and to create an additional revenue stream for musicians.

    Katie is a graduate of The University of Iowa and The University of Iowa College of Law.  She received the David Hurd Community Supporter of the Year award from the Des Moines Music Coalition in 2017 in recognition for her dedication to hosting local house concerts and for helping create home venues across the country. Katie resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, Jay and their two teenage daughters, Sophie and Charlotte.

    Twitter:  @homeditty

    Facebook:  @homeditty                                            

    Website:  https://www.homeditty.com/                   

    Jay Byers

    Chief Executive Officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership

    Jay Byers is CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The Partnership is the regional economic and community development organization serving Central Iowa with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce and a network of more than 6400 regional members.

    Byers is a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE), graduate of the U.S Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organization Management (IOM), graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OUEDI) and graduate of Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) Ford Foundation Regionalism and Sustainable Development Fellowship. Byers currently serves as Vice Chair of ACCE and on the Executive Committee of the Iowa Chamber Alliance, the General Council of the World Chambers Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is a member of the Professional Developers of Iowa, Iowa Association of Business and Industry and International Economic Development Council. Byers also serves on the boards of Simpson College, Catch Des Moines, Greater Des Moines Committee, ChildServe, Balance Autism and Keep Iowa Beautiful. He also is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Byers is a graduate of Simpson College and the University of Iowa College of Law. He resides in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, Katie, and two daughters, Sophie and Charlotte.

    Twitter: @DSMPartnership 

    Facebook:  @DSMPartnership                                                  

    Website: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/                  

    Tobi Parks

    Executive Director,Station 1 Records

    Tobi Parks is the creator and Executive Director of Station 1 Records, a non-profit 501(c)(3) artist development and entrepreneurship organization dedicated to the patronage and development of independent artists on the regional and national stage.  Prior to her starting the non-profit, she was Director of Copyright at Sony Music where she worked with Sony’s Columbia Records, Epic Records, and RCA Records labels.  She has a long history working in media having worked for a number of years as a Programming and Promotions Associate for Clear Channel Broadcasting and as Director of Marketing and Public Relations with the PBS produced series, In the Life.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, a Master of Arts in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis, and a Juris Doctor from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. She is a musician that has played bass in the NYC glam-punk band Bambï, Toronto-based The Cliks, St. Louis-based acts The Star Death, Is That You?, and Grandpa’s Ghost.  As a solo performer and session player, she has worked with Cyndi Lauper, Margaret Cho, Darin Gray, Tim Garrigan, Keith Rowe, Mark Shippy, and video artist James Fotopoulos.  She has composed for stage, television and film.       

    Twitter: @station1records

    Facebook: @station1records                                        

    Website: www.station1records.com                  

  • Supporting Individual Artists: Dancers Edition

    Contains 2 Component(s) Recorded On: 07/25/2019

    With thousands of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, employing tens of thousands of people, the dance community in the US continues to be a driving force in the arts and culture sector. But how exactly can organizations best support the individual dancers so that they can be successful in achieving their personal goals, while positively impacting the communities they are a part of?


     About this Webinar

    With thousands of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, employing tens of thousands of people, the dance community in the US continues to be a driving force in the arts and culture sector. But how exactly can organizations best support the individual dancers so that they can be successful in achieving their personal goals, while positively impacting the communities they are a part of?

    Join Allyson Esposito, Senior Director of Arts and Culture at the Boston Foundation, to learn about the Next Steps for Boston Dance grantmaking initiative for Boston area choreographers. The Boston Foundation is one of the nation’s largest and oldest community foundations. The Next Steps for Boston Dance program was born out of the results of several different research initiatives led by the New England Foundation for the Arts, the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and the Boston Foundation, which identified dance as the least philanthropically supported discipline in the region, and articulated a need for artist-level support and the development of pathways for local choreographers and dance artists.  Next Steps was created with significant input from the dance community it was intended to serve and provides much needed rehearsal space, mentorship, and funds for artists to take their “next step”. Key to its success is the flexibility of the program (no pun intended!), with individualized supports provided to each artist recipient.  

    Attendees will learn:

    • How to create an artist-level grant program based on research and data, but with significant artist input into the program design process
    • How to create individualized supports within a grant program
    • What choreographers need to be most successful in achieving their career goals
    • What parallel investments and ecosystem shifts have had to occur to ensure Next Steps is most impactful
    • Choreographer mentorship models
    • Cohort and network building within a diverse and disparate dance ecology

    This project is supported in part by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


    Allyson Esposito

    Senior Director of Arts & Culture, The Boston Foundation

    Allyson Esposito is a professional artist, arts administrator, change management consultant and lawyer with more than ten consecutive years of experience in the philanthropic field. In each of the philanthropy roles she has held, Esposito has led comprehensive change, designing and implementing new strategies, programs and systems to support a new vision that addresses areas of highest need and greatest opportunity, often in response to large scale, municipally-led cultural planning efforts. 

    She currently serves as the Senior Director of Arts & Culture for the Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s Community Foundation and one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of $1 billion. Relocating to Boston during a critical “arts renaissance” for the city, Esposito designed a large-scale philanthropic response to the city’s first large-scale cultural plan, Boston Creates. One of her programs, Live Arts Boston (LAB), has been hailed as most well-known, field-changing grant programs for the arts in Greater Boston. In three years, LAB has supported 185 projects and more than 450 artists (70% of whom identify as people of color) with nearly $3 million to create, present or produce new work for Greater Boston audiences.  A recent WBUR article about LAB noted that, since its inception, “the arts in Boston is demonstrably more vibrant.”

    Esposito came to Boston from her hometown of Chicago, where she worked for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) as the Director of Cultural Grantmaking, leading efforts to strategically restructure all grant programs for the first time in 20 years, ultimately designing and managing 4 programs awarding more than 250 grants per year. Prior to DCASE, she was Program Officer for the Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation during a time of significant organizational and leadership transition.

    Jean Appolon

    Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Jean Appolon Expressions

    In addition to being the Co-Founder and Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Appolon received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Lynn Williams Rousier Dance School, the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. at the Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Program (1995-1996, Boston, MA), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (1996-1998, New York, NY) and the Joffrey American Ballet School (1998-2003, New York, NY), where he graduated with a B.A. from a joint degree program offered by The New School. 

    Appolon has also performed with Elma Lewis Productions (Black Nativity), Marlene Silva, North Star Ballet Company (Fairbanks, AL), Black Door Dance Company (Miami, FL), and the Atlantic City Ballet Company. Jean Appolon teaches dance at Boston Ballet’s City Dance and Boys in Motion programs, The Gold School, Wellesley College, UMass Boston and The Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA), among other locations. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. The 2019 Summer Dance Institute is being held in Lawrence, MA for the first time this year, in partnership with Izizwe Dance Studio and Bread and Roses. 

    Jean Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian Contemporary dance company has toured to Washington DC, Silver Springs, MD, NYC and Port Au Prince, Haiti. JAE has also performed at major venues such as Boston’s Paramount Theater, John Hancock Hall and Silver Spring MD Civic Center, as well as in city parks and community spaces in free performances accessible to the public. JAE also has performed at many schools and colleges, including Boston University, American Universtiy, Dartmouth College, Dean College, Harvard University, Lesley College, Northeastern University and Wheaton College. JAE has been fortunate to share the stage with celebrities such as Danny Glover, Henry Louis Gates and Edwidge Danticat, and to collaborate with community partners such as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), Central Square Theater CityPop Egleston and the Irish Immigration Center of Boston.

    Facebook: Jean Appolon Expressions

    Website: https://jeanappolonexpressions.org/

    The Boston Foundation’s Next Steps for Boston Dance: https://www.tbf.org/nonprofits/grant-making-initiatives/next-steps-for-boston-dance

    The Boston Foundation’s General arts and culture site: https://www.tbf.org/what-we-do/strategic-focus-areas/arts

    The Boston Foundation’s research and study about funding for Boston and 10 Other Cities (from 2016): https://www.tbf.org/-/media/tbforg/files/reports/arts-report_jan-7-2016.pdf?la=en

    The New England Foundation for the Arts study: https://www.nefa.org/moving-dance-forward