Americans for the Arts National Convention is Coming to San Francisco – Here’s What to Expect

Convening National, Local Leaders to Address Impact of Arts on Nation’s Communities

The Convention will take place June 15-18 at the Hilton San Francisco, Union Square

SAN FRANCISCO—Americans for the Arts, the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America, will hold its annual convention in San Francisco from June 15–18, 2017. It is the largest national gathering of arts leaders and their partners in creative business, education, and government, and is expected to draw upwards of 2,000 attendees.

A series of prominent speakers and arts innovators will explore the deep and diverse economic, civic, and social impacts that the arts generate for our nation’s neighborhoods and cities, as well as the role of the arts in creating and sustaining healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities. More than 74 speakers in 36 sessions will cover a wide range of topics including arts education, public art, arts funding, cultural equity, employee engagement, research, and advocacy. Two pre-conferences will focus on racial equity and public art.
This year’s annual convention will explore the role of the arts in creating and sustaining healthy, vibrant, equitable communities. The conference will also examine the arts’ economic impact on the national and local economy. 4.8 million Americans go to work in arts and culture industries and the arts generate $22.3 billion in federal, state and local government revenue. Cultural tourism in San Francisco alone contributes $1.7 billion to the local economy. Talks will revolve around five core themes: engaging equity, inspiring activation, embracing reinvention, celebrating optimism and building skills.

Featured speakers include:
•    Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs, City and County of San Francisco
•    Robert Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
•    Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative
•    Deborah Cullinan, Director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
•    Danielle Brazell, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
•    Drew Bennett, Director, Arts in Residence Program, Facebook
•    Roberto Bedoya, Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Oakland

“We are thrilled to be holding our convention in San Francisco, a city that is known for its progressive social activism and spirit of innovation, said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “There has never been a more important time than now to come together and to share promising practices and strategies aimed at preserving America’s cultural sector so that we can continue to do the important work of building stronger, healthier communities.”

According to Director of Cultural Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco Tom DeCaigny, “The annual convention occurs at a critical time for the arts in America. We look forward to engaging in the national dialogue around the importance of the arts to a healthy democratic society and to advancing cultural equity. We are excited to show off San Francisco and all of its amazing cultural resources and artists – it’s going to be a great time!”

Credentialed media are welcome to cover the convention, and should contact Inga Vitols (, 202-371-2830) to register.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

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Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online