Annual Conference

Join us for our 59th Annual Conference
International Council of Fine Arts Deans

The Arts as Inspiration
for Social Transformation and Resilience

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Thursday and Friday, September 28th - 29th, 2023
Three Pre-Conference workshops on
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

 Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico
 Universidad de Puerto Rico Rio Piedras 
Universidad del Sagrado Corazón

Founded in 1521, San Juan is the second oldest European-founded city in the Americas but is home to much more than just history. Only 15 minutes from SJU airport, San Juan blends elements (cobblestone streets and colonial architecture) with all the amenities of modern urban life (craft cocktails, contemporary dining, amazing shopping, and vibrant nightlife). Plan to immerse yourself in the culture and explore the wealth of art, food, adventure, and beauty that is waiting to be discovered as part of ICFAD’s 59th Annual Conference. 

Here is a printable Registration Form.

To make reservations this close to conference, please email [email protected] or call him at (787) 289-6028.

San Juan is one of the most important cultural centers of the Caribbean, both for its homegrown culture and the healthy influx of visiting artists that the local population supports. The city hosts the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the world-renowned Pablo Casals classical-music festival in winter, and an annual series of opera concerts. Many hit plays in New York and other large markets get produced locally, and there are often three or four other local theatrical productions taking place on any given weekend, many of them downright adventurous. The vast collection at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico offers a wonderful overview of the evolution of island art, while the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico holds a peerless collection of modern Caribbean works. 

Plan to stay an extra day or for the weekend! The conference hotel’s Tour Desk representatives can help you set up tours of Old San Juan; farms focusing on sustainability and appealing to all senses; art museums; the Barrilito Rum Distillery; a coffee plantation; or El Yunque Rainforest. They offer nighttime kayaking in a bioluminescent bay with a trained guide or snorkeling from a catamaran. Learn to surf or stand-up paddleboard. Email them at [email protected]. Or, work with our friends at Bespoke Lifestyle Management and receive a 15% discount on services by referencing this code.

San Juan is the second most populous metropolitan area in the Caribbean, and while there are historical sites such as the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, the city is worth visiting just for its architecture. Cobbled streets take you past a succession of brightly colored houses, each more charming than the last. The city’s dynamic art forms animate the city.

Our appreciation to our Conference Photography sponsor:

Tuesday Evening, September 26
Reception for Mentors and Participants of ICFAD’s Leadership Development Workshop

Wednesday, September 27

Shifts and Trends in Development in the Wake of a Global Experience: an in-person workshop for arts advancement professionals
on Wednesday afternoon through mid-day Thursday, with presentations and discussions focused on Capital Campaign Practices and Strategies for Institutions of All Sizes; Foundational Philanthropy Success Stories; and Current Dynamics in Advancement. Agenda.

Our Unique Opportunities and Challenges: a full-day-and-a-half program for ICFAD’s new affinity group for curators, directors and professionals who are responsible for fulfilling educational missions through artistic exhibitions. Agenda.

The full-day session of the hybrid and on-going Leadership Development Workshop
proudly sponsored by

Leading Strategic Innovation; Leading Cultural Transformation; Afternoon Program with Advancement Officers; Personnel Matters; the Language of Ongoing Regard. More about the Leadership Development Workshop. Printable syllabus.

Wednesday Evening, September 27

Welcome Reception on the Oceanfront Terrace at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Thursday, September 28

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast and Early Bird Session or Facilitated Discussions
Advancement Officers and Gallery & Museum Directors Breakfast and Roundtable Discussions

9:15 a.m.
Welcome to San Juan, Puerto Rico

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Opening Keynote Speaker
proudly sponsored by

Embracing Change & Staying Resilient
Change can have a major impact on the culture of an institution. Demonstrating empathy for the changes we've gone through and learning ways to better connect with each other is key to the future of our work together and our overall well-being. Cultivating a resilient mindset will be critical moving forward. In Mark’s message, he will provide a newfound way for us to connect with courage!

Mark Ostach helps people find the courage to connect. A globally recognized speaker on Digital Wellness and frequently featured in the USA Today, Mark has done two TED talks, written two books, and spoken to thousands of people encouraging them to embrace a spirit of courage through vulnerability. Mark has degrees in psychology, technology, and an interest in behavioral neuroscience. His mission is to remind the world that human connection is the most powerful connection we have.

Advancement Officers are invited to attend this program as the conclusion of their workshop.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Morning Reflection Break
proudly sponsored by 

10:45 - Noon
Curating Puerto Rican and Caribbean Art 
proudly sponsored by

A conversation with contemporary art curators who have organized major exhibitions of Puerto Rican and Caribbean Art in the past year at major museum institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Facilitated by Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, panelists will include: 

Gallery and Museum Directors are invited to attend this program as the conclusion of their workshop.

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Presentation: Award for Arts Achievement and Excellence
proudly sponsored by

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
How Community Partnerships Inspire and Enrich Degree Programs

This panel opens a reflection regarding the importance of anchoring arts education and the formation of cultural agents in a specific social context. It presents an overview of the development of the main cultural and educational institutions in Puerto Rico, stressing the fundamental role that the arts and culture play in our society. It addresses the experience of innovative programs developed at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Río Piedras Campus. In the first case, it presents the structure of internships, resident artists, and community projects as part of the co-curricular experience developed by the School of Arts, Design and Creative Industries. It also discusses the relevance of opening the academia to a plurality of knowledges and epistemologies, and of strengthening the collaborations with community organizations, in the experience of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, and the Master in Cultural Agency and Administration of the Humanities Faculty at the UPR. Facilitated by Agnes M. Bosch Irizarry, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, Universidad de Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, panelists will include:

  • Javier J. Hernández Acosta, Dean, Escuela de Artes Diseño e Industrias Creativas, La Sagrada Corazon
  • Pedro Reina Perez, Former Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Program (PREI), University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras
  • Mareia Quintero Rivera, Coordinator, Master’s in Cultural Management, University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras

3:30 p.m.
departure to Old San Juan

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Explore Old San Juan on your own

5:30 p.m.
Dinner at various restaurants in Old San Juan as pre-registered groups. Here is a list of restaurants, sharing what will be served, pricing and a map, for your review prior to registering for the conference. Dinner reservations will be for 6:00 p.m.
Vegetarian and vegan options will be accommodated by request, at the moment of registration.
Or dinner on your own
Your administrative assistant or you will be asked during the registration process to please select a restaurant for dinner. Please reference the list of restaurants above to make your restaurant selection prior to registering.

Friday, September 29, 2023

7:30 – 8:15 a.m.
Committee Meetings

ICFAD’s Committees and their leaders welcome the participation of new members. Please feel welcome to attend any of these meetings that may be of interest to you. Coffee will be available in the meeting space.

  • Creative Collaborations / chaired by Carmenita Higginbotham / board liaison Sarah Bay-Cheng
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging / chaired by Rubén Graciani / board liaison Eileen Strempel
  • Global Connections / co-chaired by Amir Berbic and Royce Smith / board liaison Royce Smith
  • Leadership Development / chaired by Peg Faimon / board liaison John Scheib

8:30 – 9:15 a.m.
Breakfast and Facilitated Discussions

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
A Case Study in the Arts through a Social Transformation Lens

Programa Música 100x35 – “Working on the present, to transform the future”
Becoming an advocate for accessibility to a free musical education, Música 100x35 Program serves more than 800 students annually. Bringing musical experiences and a culturally rich environment to economically and socially disadvantaged communities, the Program has impacted more than 7,500 students since its beginning in 2010.  Based on “El Sistema” from Venezuela, this program implemented a group class platform of musical education with an orchestral and choral focus for children and youth from 4 to 18 years old.

“Music has to be recognized as an…agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values - solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.” - Jose Antonio Abreu

  • Ernesto Ramos, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico
  • Carlos Torres, director of El Sistema-inspired program, Música 100x35

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Morning Reflection Break
proudly sponsored by

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable Discussions have been sponsored by Theatre Consultants Collaborative since 2013. 

12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Lunch and Annual Meeting of International Council of Fine Arts Deans
proudly sponsored by

2:15 departure to Universidad de Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras 

2:45 – 5:00 p.m.
Concurrent programs on campus:

Fenomenal, Rompeforma 1989-1996 is a documentary film about the experimental Latinx festival Rompeforma—a dance, performance, and visual marathon held in Puerto Rico from 1989 to 1996. Co-directed and produced by [dancers, choreographers, and educators] Merián Soto and Viveca Vázquez, the documentary is edited by Laura Sofía Pérez and includes music by Eduardo Alegria. Fenomenal shows excerpts from dozens of performances and critical comments from eyewitnesses, dedicated spectators, the public, and participants—all members of our cultural sphere in the San Juan of our (and those) times. In its six iterations, Rompeforma featured the participation of notable artists in our local and diasporic cultural community, presenting work by over sixty Latinx artists from across the hemisphere. In addition to this dance, performance, and visual marathon, the events included two exhibitions, five theater installations, a retrospective of Petra Bravo’s choreographic work, spoken word events, and dozens of workshops and master classes. The documentary intends to inspire new generations of Latinx artists and cultural activists, providing evidence of their undeniable creative wealth and their extraordinary contribution to the cultural vanguard of the Americas and the Caribbean. Joining us will be producers and choreographers Viveca Vazquez and Marian Soto. Also: Pepe Alvarez.

Ultimately, Fenomenal celebrates, preserves, and makes accessible a substantial part of the archive of the varied repertoire of a generation of Latinx experimentalists in the fields of dance, performance, and curation. A cultural experience often ignored and forgotten by historians, academics, and practitioners in the performance disciplines, Fenomenal confronts a kind of elusive amnesia or even tacit appropriation regarding the unfairly forgotten work of an entire generation of Latinx experimentalists.

Or, all three of these discussions:

University, Theatre and Community: A Roundtrip -- Since 1946 the University of Puerto Rico has connected its theatre students to the community in general through its Traveling Theatre Unit. Its aim still is to present  Spanish as well as Puerto Rican traditional farces to non-traditional audiences throughout the Island. It is a way to connect audiences with theatre and the University. In 1980 another way of connecting the University to the community through theatre was introduced. Theatre students directly intervene with organized community members such as high school students, inmates, rehab and mental health patients, and the elderly. The program is called: Leaps and Bounds, Play as a Theatrical Discipline. University students visit specific communities to share practical knowledge through art and education, creative drama and theatre for social change. This time the audience actively participates and become actors themselves. Sometimes the two words coincide: the University travels to the community and vice-versa.  Joining us will be Rosa Luisa Márquez.

Radiography of the Mid-twentieth Century Puerto Rican Dance Scene: Through Arturo Melero's Photographic Lens -- The Dance Archive, located in the Collection of Arts of the University of Puerto Rico Library System digitized 3,000 negatives belonging to the collection of dance negatives of photographer Arturo Melero (1917-2000). The images are available at the Puerto Rican Digital Library, thanks to a grant from the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities. The photographic work of Arturo Melero documented for four decades: dance students, instructors, classes, rehearsals, productions of ballet, Spanish dances, pantomime, and variety shows of local and visiting dancers and companies. Melero, thus became the chronicler of the dance activity that took place in Puerto Rico between 1956-1997. Through this presentation the Dance Archive will share images resulting from the effort to rescue, preserve and make accessible this unique visual dance reference.  Joining us will be Sonia Daubón.

Habitar lo imposible: danza y experimentación en Puerto Rico (Inhabiting the Impossible: Dance and Experimentation in Puerto Rico), the first book of its kind on the island, covers four decades of experimental manifestations in Puerto Rican dance practice from different perspectives: those of independent artists that make up this community and those of scholars of different fields that develop different analytical approaches and ways of writing about dance. Through a collection of essays, artist statements, and interviews, the book proposes alternative ways of looking at and analyzing the development and contributions of experimentation in dance as a sustained practice that has always incorporated issues of gender, sexuality, race and our colonial situation. It is also the first time that a publication in Puerto Rico examines and analyzes a radically innovative aspect of the dance ecosystem. Joining us will be Susan Homar and nibia pastrana santiago.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Closing Reception

Saturday, September 30, 2023
8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
ICFAD Board of Directors Meeting with Committee Chairpersons in attendance through 10 a.m.