Performing Arts: Theater
January 9, 2021
Convened against a backdrop of a major pandemic, political divisiveness plus calls for racial diversity, equity and inclusion, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) plunged into its annual conference. Instead of flooding Manhattan with eager artists and presenters, the partnering professionals convened on zoom from Jan. 8 - 11.

The composed and gracious Lisa Richards Toney, President and CEO welcomed everyone to a virtual conference that actually collected many newcomers because costs were cut simply by not having to leave one's home and pay for expensive hotel and living accommodations. Of course, there's the loss of human to human contact, but the chat lit up with kudos to APAP, while participants"high fived" each other and commiserated over the state of affairs.

Structured much like the annual high-energy live event, keynote speakers, plenaries, workshops, special interest groups, showcases, pitches and more were accessed by professionals sitting on couches, in kitchens, offices and outdoors. Missing were the hugs and screams of delight at seeing colleagues; artists bumping into favored presenters on the escalator or in the cofe bar--those moments were lost but zoom united participants relieved to see one another.

One of the conference's most anticipated events was the presence of Anthony Fauci in conversation with Maurine Knighton, Doris Duke Foundation Program Director for the Arts. Surrounding the professional development and special interest groups were showcases that benefited by the ability to replay the performance after the original showing.

Invaluable resources were consolidated and disseminated to the membership and that in itself might be enough to prompt people to join.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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