John and Susanna both presented on different panels at the annual Alliance of Artist Communities conference in Portland, Oregon. John participated in a conversation about how residencies can facilitate experiences and resources for artists that go beyond the usual practicalities of simply a period of time and a space to work. After a brief introduction by each panelist, the entire room formed a succession of working groups that brainstormed about needs and wants of residents; how we as residencies define success; and examining how residents can continue to benefit from their experiences long after their actual time on-site.

“Who Are We Serving and How?” panel discussion underway at the 2016 AAC Conference. Photo courtesy of the AAC volunteer staff

Susanna presented in a panel called “Who Are We Serving and How?” The discussion tried to parse the difference between non-profit buzz words – equity, inclusion, and diversity. The panel also focused on brainstorming alternative forms of outreach and selection. We were honored to feature Lisa Hoffman, the new director of the AAC, in the conversation. The room was packed with participants and the conversation grew nebulous, widening the brackets of what we usually think fits in the topic of equity. Everyone seemed to leave with more questions than answers – maybe a good sign?

Lisa Hoffman and Mario Garcia Durham introduce the session’s topics. Photo courtesy of the AAC volunteer staff

Favs of the 2016 AAC Conference: Susanna: The “kaleidoscoping conversation” organized by St. John’s artist Sharita Towne and gallery c3, which used an inclusive form of question raising around race, gender, and the art sphere’s complacency and responsibility in gentrifying cities. Favorite quote: “You’re either at-the-table or on-the-menu.” John: First, the continuing excellence of the AAC organizers in creating an incredibly useful and inspiring event. Second, the one-on-one talks we had with so many other supportive and interested folks who run residences, whether large or small. I’m so very glad we’re part of this community. Favorite quote: “We provide radical hospitality” (Amanda Kik).