The Art of Speed Convening at Meridian

International visitors “speed convene” on social change through the arts.
International visitors “speed convene” on social change through the arts.

On May 22, 2014, Meridian art-fully hosted a speed convening session with an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), in conjunction with our partners at the U.S. Department of State, on “Promoting Social Change Through the Arts.” The multi-regional group of 24 visitors—from countries as varied as Haiti to the People’s Republic of China--included festival directors, filmmakers, photographers, and puppeteers, among many other varied positions and mediums in the arts community.

For a series of four timed sessions, these artists met with their U.S. counterparts to exchange ideas, advice, and challenges of working in their respective fields. U.S.-based peers included Julianne Brienza, President and Chief Executive Officer, Capital Fringe Festival; Kiley Kraskouskas, President and Executive Producer, Thinking Forward Media; Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Environmental Film Festival; Pamela Tiik Pollet, Teacher, Fillmore Arts Center; Leadership Team, Girls Rock! DC; Mary Hall Surface, Artistic Director, Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival; and Julie Yoder, Founding Member, Girls Rock! DC, who generously shared their morning with the group.

During their time in Washington, D.C., the group met with a range of experts and organizations—from Art in Praxis to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Museum of African American History and Culture to Very Special Arts (VSA) and Accessibility. The international visitors headed on to New York for meetings and to catch a show on iconic Broadway before dividing into three teams to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; and Kansas City, Missouri. This IVLP will reconvene and conclude in Santa Fe, New Mexico where they’ll visit, among many other sites, the International Folk Art Marke — the largest in the world.

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