The 9th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium was held on March 6, 2016 at the Katzen Arts Center at American University. We welcomed over 200 guests from across the country for a day of conversation, sharing, exploring, and learning. Our morning keynote was a lively conversation between Deborah F. Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and American University faculty member Andrew Taylor. There were morning and afternoon panel sessions, featuring panelists from Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Compnay, Museum Workers Speak, and more. Our lunch time was action packed with workshops, a resume review table (courtesy of EALDC), and tours of AU Museum at Katzen. The day drew to a close with an insightful keynote from Megan Crigger, the Director of Creative Services for the City of Kansas City, MO, inspiring words from Robert Lynch (Americans for the Arts). and a spectacular slam poetry performance by Split This Rock. Find out more about the 2016 symposium below!

Keynote Speakers 

Deborah F. Rutter

President of John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Megan Crigger

Director of Creative Services, City of Kansas City, MO



Our six dynamic panels this year focused on a range of topics including Arts Education Advocacy, Achieving and Maintaining Financial Stability, Entrepreneurship and Art Start Ups, Arts in Post-Crisis Areas, Putting Artists First: Arts Incubators and Other Support Structures, and Outreach Outcomes: Engagement that Matters.

Learn more about what our panelists discussed here.



SMORG, a professional development and networking feature designed to enhance the symposium experience through art, was designed and first debuted at EALS 2015. To learn more about SMORG, click here.

Symposium in Real-Time


See what everyone was tweeting and talking about at #EALS2015 by checking out our Storify from the day!

The EALS 2016 Committee

From left to right: Zenia Simpson (Marketing Director), Helene Genetos (Finance Director), Tori Sharbaugh (Development Director), AmyJo Foreman (Executive Director), Deborah F. Rutter (Keynote Speaker), Jenni Amis (Programming Director), Sarah R. Hewitt (Production Manager), David Travis (Finance Coodinator), Haley Powell (Advancement Coordinator), Emily Hirsh (Program Coordinator)

Not pictured: Chris McCloskey (Marketing Coordinator)