The 56th Annual Conference of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans—AT&T Conference Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin

The ACL Music Festival features a diverse lineup of acts with eight stages and more than 125 performances. Best of all, it’s happening in Austin the weekend after the ICFAD Conference wraps up on Friday evening. They don’t call Austin the Live Music Capital of the World for nothing! Stick around for the weekend and enjoy. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Development Workshop

AT&T Conference Center
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The College of Fine Arts at UT Austin holds a strong fundraising record. Over the past 15 years, the college has more than doubled its yearly fundraising totals from an average of $5-$7 million to $12-$15 million. The college finished its last capital campaign in 2014 at $118 million, surpassing its original goal of $80 million. College endowment holdings have increased by $100 million in ten years and now total $160 million, which include over 465 individual student, faculty, and program endowments. In addition, more than $111 million in unrealized estate gifts are currently in place, most earmarked for endowments.

Join our hosts and other Deans and Advancement Officers representing a balance of small, medium and large arts colleges for an afternoon of learning and networking. During this workshop, Deans will learn to:

  • strategically manage the intense challenges of fundraising while leading academic departments;
  • practice essential fundraising skills including donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; learn how your advancement officers can support you, and what tools they have to offer.

Advancement officers will learn to:

  • effectively collaborate and communicate with advancement counterparts at your institution;
  • develop and communicate your institution’s fundraising vision and priorities to your constituents;
  • review best practices for engaging / sustaining donor interests from annual gifts to major and estate gifts.

Development Officers are invited to convene again on Thursday morning to meet informally, compare notes, and talk about ICFAD's new Advancement Associate membership group.

Advancement Officers are invited to join us for breakfast tacos, thanks to the generosity of The College of Fine Arts, before catching your flights home or visiting donors in the Austin area. Note: to participate in the full conference, or other conference events, we respectfully request that a conference registration be submitted.

Understanding Virtual Acoustics and its Impact on Performance Venues

A FREE workshop sponsored by The Wenger Corporation
1:00 p.m. - Bus leaves from AT&T Hotel & Conference Center
2:00 p.m. - Tour and Presentation at Pflugerville High School, 1301 W Pecan Street, Pflugerville (15 miles)
3:00 p.m. – Bus leaves from Pflugerville High School
Proper acoustics are fundamental to a great live music experience, both for the audience and the performer. The launch of the Transcend Active Acoustic System continues Wenger’s long history of quality, groundbreaking acoustical solutions. From Wenger’s traditional room treatments to more complex systems like Transform acoustical banners, Wenger products strive to create a more desirable acoustic environment. The process of acoustically treating a room is complex and often costly but makes a huge improvement in a venue’s sound. This workshop will feature a demonstration of the Wenger Transcend Active Acoustic System. This Acoustic Enhancement System is installed at the auditorium at Pflugerville High School in Pflugerville, Texas. This Fine Arts Center (FAC) is a 1,000-seat auditorium used for theater performances, band and choir concerts, music camps, dance and talent competitions, prom fashion shows and more.  In 2017, the space underwent an acoustical upgrade to better serve nearly 2,000 students, district-wide events, and the broader community. Transcend Active Acoustic System, a groundbreaking system created in partnership with the audio experts at HARMAN, an industry leader in digital signal processing technology that creates digitally enhanced acoustic environments in any venue.

Welcome Reception

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The Etter-Harbin Alumni Center across the street from the Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
proudly sponsored by The College of Fine Arts

Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company Revive "The Method Gun"

8:00 p.m.
Following Wednesday evening’s welcome reception, this event is complimentary, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the College of Fine Arts. It is ticketed separately with limited seating. Advance reservations are required. 

Founded in Austin and a resident company of the University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance, the Rude Mechs are among the country’s leading proponents of devised theatre. One of their signature works, The Method Gun has been performed across the U.S. The New York Times described it as “satirical and celebratory in roughly equal parts, exploring ideas of togetherness and loss, the dynamics of being part of a tight-knit group and what it means to take care of one another.” The Mechs say of themselves that “we don’t produce the ‘old chestnuts’ or even new chestnuts by other people. All of our work is home grown. We promise to always use our best thinking, our fiercest arguments, and the last of our midnight oil to make mentally nervy and physically ecstatic shows. We believe Austin has a unique voice. We are proud to represent it here, and to export it with sass as we tour nationally and internationally.” This is a show rarely seen and not to be missed. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Join us for an optional dawn visit to the James Turrell skyspace called The Color Inside. This open-air observatory is a study in light and community that unfolds through an hour-long light sequence synchronized to the sunrise.  The light sequence runs from 6:27 – 7:23 a.m. Space is limited to the first 25 who register. Sunrise will be at 7:26 a.m. Staff from Landmarks, the public art program of the University of Texas, will meet you in the Lobby near the restaurants and valet parking at 6:15 a.m. and walk you over the 10 minutes to the Student Activity Center.  The Color Inside is in the roof-top garden of the Student Activity Center.

Breakfast and Early Bird Session

7:15 – 8:00 a.m.
The Value and Future of SNAAP Data
Presented by Dean Doug Dempster and Sally Gaskill
Come learn about the past, present, and future of SNAAP. Since 2008, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) has provided data and insights on the education, lives and careers of arts graduates. In its first decade, SNAAP fielded seven national surveys resulting in more than 200,000 respondents from over 300 institutions in the US and Canada. Through its data, reports, and videos such as “Uncle Henry is Wrong,” SNAAP has changed public perception of the value of an arts degree. SNAAP is transitioning to a new business plan and continues to serve the field with research and data collection, to benefit the arts in higher education in general and ICFAD’s members in particular.
Session to include:

  • SNAAP’s Greatest Hits: the most influential data points from our first 10 years
  • Arts + Design Alumni Data and its board of directors
  • Current SNAAP projects
  • The Next Survey in 2021-22

Welcome from Austin Mayor Steve Adler and University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken

8:15 – 8:30 a.m.

The Commercial Arts and Entertainment Sector of Austin

8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
One of the great things about Austin is how healthy of a place it is. Austin has been labeled as the “least stressful city to live in” and an “energetic city”. The relaxed vibe of the city is contagious. Arts and entertainment have everything to do with it. Learn more about how they do it, from panelists representing these organizations to join us:

Austin Film Festival furthers the art and craft of storytelling by inspiring and championing the work of writers, filmmakers, and all artists who use written and visual language to tell a story. In addition to an eight-day film festival and four-day conference, AFF offers year-round events, a Young Filmmakers Program, a TV show, radio show, podcast and more.

Owlchemy Labs, a creative studio with a passion for polished and unique VR experiences and games. Founded in 2010, we believe that interaction and using your hands is what truly makes virtual reality the most incredible place to build unique content that blows players’ minds. We love building experiences oozing with style and full to the brim with our unique brand of humor.

The SXSW Festival invites artists, industry professionals, and fans from all over the world to Austin, Texas for a week every March to attend performances by iconic artists, make professional connections, elevate their musical careers, and discover the next wave of musical talent.

The Arts and Liberal Education in Turbulent Times

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. | Download Presentation
Over the past several decades, the value of an arts education has increasingly been brought into question, especially from politicians and the media. Yet, despite the prevailing narratives about the economic risks of pursuing a career in the arts, from a social and cultural perspective the arts have never been more critical to transcending the vicissitudes of our turbulent world. University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher will discuss the critical role arts educators and leaders play not only in preparing students to build meaningful lives in which creativity and knowledge are worthy pursuits in their own right. They also engender in students the social responsibility, empathy, and understanding needed to become agile learners who seek multiple perspectives and strive to make a difference in the lives of others.


11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Employment Trends Among Artists

11:15 – Noon | Download Presentation
In a time when colleges and universities are more accountable than ever for the professional success of their graduates, Ann Markusen may be the country’s leading labor economist looking at employment among creatives. Ann is the director of the Institute's Project on Regional and Industrial Economics. Her research focuses on occupational approaches to regional development, and on artists, arts organizations, cultural industries, and cultural activity as regional economic and quality-of-life stimulants.

Lunch and Networking

Noon – 12:45

Dessert and Award for Arts Achievement and Excellence

12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Louis Black is credited with ‘creating the Austin legend through two iconic brands’ as a co-founder of The Austin Chronicle, an alternative weekly newspaper, and South by Southwest, celebrating the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. He has been a pivotal founder, mover and motivator behind two institutions that helped to transform Austin in profound and unpredictable ways. As is so articulately stated in the founding Austin article linked above, “Music, film, journalism: Black’s fingerprints are all over decades of Austin’s cultural life. His influence is undeniable.”

Inviting Focal Points for Civic Life 

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. | Download Presentation
How can we enhance public spaces in cities so that they engage individuals and community? What can encourage us to slow down and take a moment of pause in our busy lives? Janet Echelman shares her journey exploring these questions in cities from London, Amsterdam, and Boston to San Francisco, Singapore, and Sydney. Echelman found her voice as an artist when her paints went missing, which forced her to look towards her surroundings and at a new art material – fishing nets. Now she makes billowing sculpture the scale of buildings that become inviting focal points for civic life. She combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create monumental, ultra-lightweight art that moves gently with the wind. She has collaborated with technologists and computer scientists to create custom software tools for soft-body modeling, in addition to developing platforms that enable members of the public to interact with her artwork, using cellphones to project gestures directly on to the sculpture surface. The result is a communal urban experience that is simultaneously virtual and physical. Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages with more than one million views, and her work was ranked number one on Oprah Magazine’s "List of 50 Things that Make You Say Wow!" Recently, she was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces” and received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.” Janet Echelman is an artist who defies categorization. She creates experiential sculpture at the scale of buildings that transform with wind and light. The art shifts from being an object you look at, to a living environment you can get lost in. Using unlikely materials from fishnet to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create artworks that have become focal points for urban life on five continents. Janet’s next installation will be at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Presentation: ICFAD’s International Symposium in Barcelona, June 2020

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.


2:45 – 3:00 p.m.

Roundtable Presentations: Timely Topics in the Arts

3:00 – 4:45 p.m.
You will have the opportunity to attend three, 30-minute sessions (with five-minute breaks for transition, between) on one of the topics listed here.

Celebrate the Arts Cocktail Reception

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum explores Texas history through personal stories, artifacts, documents and films that illustrate the people, places and events that shaped Texas as the state moved through revolution, annexation, immigration, the economics and human cost of slavery, and more. Ride the Texas plains with the Comanche. Experience the fall of the Alamo. Hear Texas cattle stories. Learn about the work on oil fields. Connect with Texas’s past, present, and future.

Friday, October 4

Join us for an optional dawn visit to the James Turrell skyspace called The Color Inside.  This open-air, sky observatory is a study in light and community that unfolds through an hour-long light sequence synchronized to the sunrise.  The light sequence runs from 6:27 – 7:23 a.m. Space is limited to the first 25 who register. Sunrise will be at 7:26 a.m. Staff from Landmarks, the public art program of the University of Texas, will meet you in the Main Lobby near the hotel registration desk at 6:15 a.m. and walk you over the 10 minutes to the Student Activity Center.  The Color Inside is in the roof-top garden of the Student Activity Center.  Dress comfortably and appropriate to the morning weather.

Breakfast at Blanton Museum of Art

7:15 – 8:00 a.m.

(Un)Documenting Migrations: On The Making of Art as Documentation

in the Rapoport Auditorium across the walkway from the museum
8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
As people are pushed to leave their home countries due to economic, political, cultural, religious, and environmental factors, necessity grates against policy as they arrive in the United States. Our country’s cultural and legal attitudes toward immigration continue to be tinged with xenophobia, racism, and neo-colonial violence, even as migrants actively contribute to the tapestry of this nation. For many migrants, this friction and its subsequent wounds become the places from which they create. In this informance, poet and playwright, Jesús I. Valles shares excerpts from (Un)Documents, their autobiographical solo show, and extends towards a conversation about the ways in which art makes living through policy possible. 

Enjoy the Blanton Museum of Art and the newly opened Ellsworth Kelly Austin

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.
As the primary art collection for the city of Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art is a major resource for the community. With nearly 18,000 works in the collection, the Blanton showcases art from across the ages, from ancient Greek pottery to abstract expressionism.

In January 2015, the renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly gifted to the Blanton the design concept for his most monumental work, a 2,715-square-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black and white marble panels. Titled Austin, honoring the artist’s tradition of naming particular works for the places for which they are destined, the structure is the only building the artist designed, and will be his most lasting legacy. Envisioned by Kelly as a site for joy and contemplation, Austin is a cornerstone of the Blanton’s permanent collection and will enrich the lives of visitors from around the world.

The Blanton Museum of Art and Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin are open, and a breakfast buffet is available. Use this time for both, and for networking with colleagues, at your own pace and on your own schedule.

The Global Connections and Diversity & Inclusion Committees proudly and collaboratively present this morning’s sessions of international interest:

A Discussion with Mariam Ghani, international artist, writer, and filmmaker in an exclusive interview by NPR Correspondent John Burnett

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Download Presentation
Session Host: David R. Humphrey, Director of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University and Chair of the ICFAD Global Connections Committee
Mariam Ghani is widely known for projects that engage with places, ideas, issues and institutions over long periods of time, often as part of long-term collaborations. These include: critical, curatorial, conservation and creative work with the national film archive Afghan Films, since 2012, with support from the media archiving collective and a number of international art institutions; the video and performance series Performed Places, ongoing since 2006, in collaboration with choreographer Erin Ellen Kelly and composer Qasim Naqvi; and the experimental archive and discussion platform Index of the Disappeared, initiated with artist Chitra Ganesh in 2004, which has also become a vehicle for collaborations with other cultural and human rights activists.

As daughter to current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Ms. Ghani’s first feature-length film, the documentary What We Left Unfinished, premiered at the 2019 Berlinale and is currently on its festival run. It centers around five unfinished Afghan feature films shot, but never edited, between 1978 and 1992: years that encompass the Afghan Communist coup d’état, attempted reforms that met bitter rural resistance, a series of internal purges and assassinations, the Soviet invasion and withdrawal, a five-year attempt at national reconciliation, the handover of power to a mujahidin coalition, and finally dissolution into civil war.

Contemporary Diplomacy and the Arts: Forging and Sustaining Impactful Institutional Partnerships between the United States and Cuba

Nestor Siré, contemporary artist, in conversation with Dr. Royce W. Smith, Dean, College of Arts and Architecture, Montana State University
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Download Presentation
Following on from ICFAD’s 2017 visit to Cuba, many questions remain about how to establish institutional partnerships with Cuban organizations, schools and museums. Such questions seem all the more pressing in light of further travel and spending restrictions that have been imposed on Cuba by the Trump administration: Can universities continue faculty and student visitations of Cuba? How are memoranda of understanding established and sustained between US and Cuban institutions? What types of projects in Cuba can be undertaken legally by US-based Colleges of Fine Arts? 

Through a conversation with Nestor Siré—an independent artist and critic who has collaborated with several US-based arts professionals over the past 10 years—we will explore the options that fine arts programs have to deepen programmatic and curricular ties to Cuba. Siré will explore what steps are legally required for Cuban-US partnerships; what types of exchanges, visits and programs have been the most successful in the past; and what resources will be required to sustain those efforts. Attendees will gain valuable knowledge about and access to protocols and procedures that, when well understood, have the potential to inform and enrich educational ties with one of our closest Caribbean neighbors. 

Lunch and Annual Meeting for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans

12:45 – 2:00 p.m.
Including the association’s election of officers and directors

Three Concurrent Sessions:

Leadership Through Influence

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. | Download Presentation
A session for Associate Deans, Assistant Deans and Department Chairpersons addressing strategies for leading faculty and staff when required to generate their own “Field of Influence.” Learn to identify opportunities to champion causes that both improve the institution and provide necessary leadership experience. Examine and select developmental opportunities that will provide the skills for immediately returning and making significant contributions. Aime Sposato, Provost, Ferrum College, will lead this dynamic session.

The Opportunities and Challenges of Online Education in Creative Disciplines  

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. | Download Presentation
As online courses in traditional academic disciplines evolve at lightning speed, there are requests for online courses to provide strategies to reframe challenges, extrapolate and transform information, address ambiguity, and to promote ingenuity in a fluid landscape. Representatives from three successful online programs offer their insights. Jay Dorfman, whose program at Kent State has the largest MMME enrollment in the US, will lead with a discussion of how online and adaptive learning is improving student education. Ruqqayya Maudoodi and Richard Metzger follow with a discussion of the management of technical operations, design, finances and marketing at Rutgers Arts Online, a program which serves nearly 10,000 students each year. Finally, Chuck O’Connor will discuss the ways that online technologies are augmenting on-campus learning through remote instruction and the planned use of MOOCS as part of a strategy for the Carson Center’s leadership in emerging media technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Conversation with our International Guests

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
ICFAD’s Global Connections Committee looks forward to introducing you to arts executives in higher education from around the globe. Attendees of our 55th Annual Conference in Seattle benefitted from opportunities to meet and exchange with more than a dozen international guests from five continents around the globe, and similar participation is anticipated this year. Join us as we hear from the conference’s international guests and learn more about the issuesfacing non-Canadian and U.S. schools, including market pressures, labor issues, and immigration concerns.


3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Arts Immersion Tours on the Campus of UT Austin

3:45 – 6:00 p.m.
Please choose one of these tours and meet your guides

The Harry Ransom Center is an archive, library and museum specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art.

Landmarks: the public art program at The University of Texas at Austin, presents more than 40 works of modern and contemporary art on view throughout the 433-acre campus. The collection not only enhances the beauty of the landscape, but also supports scholarship and learning by demonstrating significant art historical trends from the past seven decades.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is the presidential library of the 36th President of the United States (1963 – 1969). The top floor of the Library houses a 7/8th scale replica of the Oval Office decorated as it was during Johnson’s presidency. Another exhibit features an animatronic LBJ. The LBJ Library houses 46 million pages of historical documents, including the papers of President Johnson.

Closing Reception

In the courtyard at the AT&T Conference Center
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Board of Directors Meeting with Committee Chairpersons

8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.