2023 MAX Conference Schedule

Professional Development Sessions

12:30-1:15 pm

Presenting 101
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Discover the art and science of orchestrating captivating experiences! Learn the fundamentals of venue operations, event coordination, and audience engagement. From curating shows to logistical mastery, this workshop empowers you with skills to reach new success in bringing the joys of performing arts to your unique community.

            Tianna Conway ǀ Moraine Valley Community College

            Mark Jacobson ǀ University Musical Society

Agents & Managers 101
Room: Discovery

Navigate the dynamic world of artist touring, mastering logistics, promotion, and artist relations. From booking to sold-out shows, this workshop equips you with basic and essential skills to guide artists toward success in booking and touring.

            Jennifer Morris ǀ Siegel Artist Management

            Leah Keith ǀ Rhythm of the Arts

For Artist by Artists Touring 101
Room: Cosmopolitan A

This workshop is your backstage pass to touring triumph. Learn from Artist-to-Artist insights as seasoned touring artists share their secrets to self-managing tours. From booking and promotion to route planning, gain firsthand knowledge and strategic finesse to amplify your live performances and forge a sustainable, fulfilling tour journey.

            Derrick McBride ǀ Dance Theatre of Harlem

            Vitaly Beckman ǀ An Evening of Wonders

            Ananda Bena-Weber ǀ Fancifool!

            Joshua Kane ǀ Solo Theatre Artist

12:30-2:00 pm

Truth Evolution with Dasha Kelly Hamilton
Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

Through responsive and respectful intentionality, Truth Evolution is a conversation experience. With magic markers, imagination, and facilitation, participants are guided through creative discovery and dialogue around race, class, equity, and social wellness. Participants complete an activity, hold one-to-one and small-group conversations about their experiences and observations and create an accidental poem.

1:30-2:15 pm

Marketing 101
Room: Cosmopolitan A

Elevate your performing arts marketing prowess with this peer-to-peer session as experienced colleagues in the field unveil solid arts marketing strategies. Learn audience targeting, digital engagement, and brand amplification from industry leaders. Unlock the art of promoting shows, artists, and venues with finesse by crafting unforgettable campaigns that resonate.

            Josh Benson ǀ Marion Civic and Cultural Center

            Tracey Lawie ǀ Miller Auditorium


Fundraising 101
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Fundraising 101 illuminates the path to sustainable support through donor engagement, grant writing, special events, and creating imaginative fundraising campaigns tailored to the arts sector and your organization’s vital mission. Join us to transform passion into sustainable resources for artistic excellence.

            Laurel Canan ǀ Siegel Artist Management

            Sean Wright ǀ The Grand Theater

2:15-3:45 pm

An Interview with Veteran Colleagues
Room: Cosmopolitan C/D

In this moderated session, revered performing arts veterans engage in a candid conversation on evolving industry landscapes, artistic evolution, and enduring passion for the work. Unearth golden insights from stage to management as these performing arts leaders reflect on their journey and offer invaluable perspectives.

           Bryan Zellmer ǀ Kutztown University moderator

Jeff Laramie ǀ SRO Artists/Northstar Artists

           Anne Black ǀ Texas A&M University

           Tim Drake ǀ The Roots Agency

           Gail Boyd ǀ Gail Boyd Artist Management

           Janet Herman Barlow ǀ Stocker Arts Center (retired)

Budgeting for Touring and Presenting
Room: Cosmopolitan A

In this session, we balance art and fiscal responsibility as we delve into tour planning, venue expenses, and financial sustainability strategies. Learn to orchestrate successful tours or venue operations while staying in financial tune as veteran colleagues guide participants toward financial mastery in the performing arts.

            Tommy Hensel ǀ Elgin Community College

            Larry Kosson ǀ Kosson Talent

            Bill Blagg ǀ The Magic of Bill Blagg

            Michael Fox ǀ Epstein Fox Performances

Traditional Media, Social Media & AI
Room: Cosmopolitan B

In this moderated session, we explore traditional, social media & AI and dynamic communication avenues. Explore the merits of traditional media’s authenticity, social media’s global reach, and the developing presence of AI. Panelists will guide participants toward their own cohesive PR strategies utilizing constantly evolving platforms.


Danielle Van Hook ǀ Alden Theatre/McLean Community Center 

           Jacob Deaton ǀ Georgia Players Guild

           Kiersten Birondo ǀ Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

           Josh Benson ǀ Marion Civic and Cultural Center

4:00-5:15 pm

New Colleagues Orientation sponsored by NAPAMA
Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

In this NAPAMA-led session, new colleagues will be introduced to the Midwest Arts XPO, learn the basics of how to navigate a booking conference, attend showcases, maximize networking opportunities, and connect with mentors. An Exhibit Hall Tour will take place on Tuesday at 12:30 pm just prior to the Exhibit Hall opening.

            Kevin Peters ǀ GL Berg Entertainment

            Spring Karlo ǀ Holden & Arts Associates

4:15-5:30 pm

New Paradigms for the New Reality of the Performing Arts
Room: Indianapolis Artsgarden

In a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Mojo, will focus upon what we have to do, and what we already do differently today, to survive and prosper as Presenters, Artists, and Agents, in the new economic realities we face. Identifying and adapting to new paradigms is the point and delivering useful solutions to our audience is our goal!  Read More…

            Mr. Mojo & Expert Panelists

9:15-10:30 am

Contracts & Technical Riders
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Find the artistry in contracting while demystifying the contractual “dos and don’ts” in our industry by delving into the intricacies of contracts and technical riders and negotiation dynamics. Join us as we discuss the life cycle of an artist contract, empowering you to navigate your contracts with finesse and newfound skills. 

            Jack Forman ǀ BiCoastal Productions

            Jerry Ross ǀ Harmony Artists

            Amy Gosz ǀ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

            Tracey Lawie ǀ Miller Auditorium

The Myth of Block Booking
Room: Indianapolis Artsgarden

Is block booking dead? What is and is not working? This panel discussion gathers experts for a candid exploration. We will discuss strategies to unlock the synergy of shared bookings, cost efficiency, and expanded audiences. Navigate potential challenges and gain insights into effective coordination.

            Christine Barkley ǀ Creative Booking Agency

            Loni Boyd ǀ Wisconsin Lutheran College

            Bill Smith ǀ Riot Artists

            Kyle Rupert ǀ Jasper Community Arts

I’ve Spent My SVOG Money, Now What?
Room: Discovery

Now that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) is over and the funding landscape continues to change, organizations need to focus more on sustained stability, navigating budgeting, revenue diversification, and long-term fiscal health. Join us for a conversation on how to strengthen your financial oversight, ensuring your arts organization thrives beyond initial funding.

            Kevin Maynard ǀ Quad City Arts

            Alex Nerad ǀ Egyptian Theatre

Presenting in Rural Communities
Room: Cosmopolitan C/D

Join this insightful session to synchronize the performing arts with the distinct rhythms of rural communities. Panelists will explore tailored programming, community engagement, and resourceful partnerships that help to illuminate rural stages. 

            Josh Benson ǀ Marion Cultural and Civic Center

            Todd Holmberg ǀ McCain Performance Series

            Mary Jennings ǀ Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

            Betty Allan ǀ Chester Fritz Auditorium

            David Folin ǀ Allied Concert Services

10:45 am-12:00 pm

Opening Keynote—Ted Lange, Actor, Director & Playwright
Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

12:30-1:00 pm

New Colleagues Exhibit Hall Tour
Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

8:00-9:00 am Roundtables

Are Your Ready for an Agent?
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Have you been thinking about engaging an agent or manager to represent you? Are you ready for this step – and how can you tell? What will agents want and expect from you? How do they work and what fees do they typically charge?  What can you expect from them? And how do you identify and approach an agent? Can they guarantee results? Should you showcase – where, when, and how often? How much do showcases cost? This session will answer these, and other, questions in an interactive format.

            Manuel Prestamo, PhD ǀ PMI: Performance Management Int’l

            Owen Kirschner ǀ Kirschner Creative Artists

            Craig Hankenson ǀ Producers, Inc.

            Derek Evans ǀ Solo Theatre Artist


Ticketing Systems & Data Management
Room: Discovery

Ticketing Systems & Data Management demystifies the art of box office success. This session will address efficient ticketing solutions, data-driven insights, and attendee experiences. Learn to harness technology for seamless operations and strategic decision-making ensuring informed choices for memorable events.

           Kiersten Birondo ǀ Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

           Bethany Nothstein ǀ Spektrix

Cate Foltin | Macomb Center for the Performing Arts


Working with the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA)
Room: Cosmopolitan C/D

Brandon Gyrde, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works and Artist Communities Director, from the NEA will be on hand to help you identify funding opportunities for presenting performances and residencies in your community. A must attend session to gather information for future planning.

            Brandon Gryde ǀ National Endowment for the Arts


Making Your Events More Earth Friendly
Room: Cosmopolitan B

The world of touring and presenting, with its massive waste generation and its serious carbon footprint from travel and lodging alone, continues to contribute steadily to the climate and plastic crises.  In this conversation we will provide a brief summary of the current state of the planet, provide suggestions for reducing the impact of your events and the value of offsetting some of your carbon footprint, and invite an exchange of ideas.

            Mary Jennings ǀ Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

            Karen Stein ǀ Artes Latinas


Curatorial Aspects of Presenting International Artists
Room: Studio One

In this time when cultural exchange is more important than ever, join these two artsworkers as they speak about what they have learned representing and presenting international touring companies over the decades. What do they wish they’d known in advance? What are the joys and what are the pitfalls? 

            Laura Colby ǀ Elsie Management

            Pam Komar ǀ Pittsburgh Cultural Trust


9:00 am-12:00 pm

Theater for Young Audiences Symposium & Showcase
Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center

The Youth & Family Programming Symposium will feature a panel discussion on critical issues in the field, thematically specific small group conversations, networking with colleagues and a curated showcase. Topics will include artistic programming, commissioning new works, marketing to schools and families, and supporting artists in new and innovative ways. The 75-minute Curated Youth & Family Showcase will consist of five 12-minute showcases and four 3-minute artist pitches during the transition between showcases.

            Sarah McCarthy ǀ Dandelion Artists

            Tara Bailey ǀ Bailiwick Booking Agency

            Gary Minyard ǀ Dayton Live

            Todd Wetzel ǀ Purdue University

            Sarah Saltwick ǀ Holden & Arts Associates


9:15-10:30 am

Season Curation
Room: Cosmopolitan C/D

What affects the eye of the curator – thematic cohesion, diversity, audience engagement? Our panel will discuss how to shape a relevant slate of performances that captivate, challenge, and celebrate your unique community. Leave this session ready to craft unforgettable experiences that will echo long after the final applause.

            Leslie Rodriguez ǀ Dominican University

            Denise Christensen ǀ The Merryman Performing Arts Center

            Tim Dickmeyer ǀ Iowa Western Community College

            Shane Fernando ǀ Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College

                                              and Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts


Broadway and Commercial Programming
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Take a look behind the curtain to better understand the showbiz intricacies of Broadway and commercial programming. Explore production economics, licensing to audience dynamics. Learn to navigate the dazzling realm where art meets commerce, crafting the unforgettable experiences your audience craves.

            Christine Barkley ǀ Creative Booking Agency    

            Eric Olmscheid ǀ Wharton Center

            Andre Perry ǀ University of Iowa

            Dan Kemer ǀ The Center for the Performing Arts


Negotiation—No, Is the Second-Best Answer
Room: Indianapolis Artsgarden

Contract negotiation is a delicate dance. We all love to hear “yes” and moving to contract but what happens when the real answer is “no?” In this session we will explore the myriad of ways “no” comes into play in the booking process. Learn how to navigate “no” honestly and respectfully, while strengthening your professional relationships and building toward future fruitful collaborations.

            Tommy Hensel ǀ Elgin Community College

            Luisa Kormann ǀ The Roots Agency

            Bob Myers ǀ Ball State University

            Lisa Rock ǀ Lisa Rock Entertainment

9:15-10:30 am

International Touring and Visa Applications
Room: Discovery

This session is a must attend for those engaging in international touring or presenting international artists. From visa intricacies, cross-border logistics and cultural diplomacy you’ll learn to catalyze paperwork, timelines, and artistic aspirations, ensuring seamless international tours. 

            Frank Page ǀ CWA Management

            Bill Smith ǀ Riot Artists


NAPAMA Making Artistic Cents: Split Deals
Room: Cosmopolitan B

Split deals are becoming more and more commonplace in the touring industry, but many presenters and agents do not understand the various methods of creative deal making.  Learn from veteran agents the many ways to “cut a deal” that matches both your budget needs and touring outcomes.

            Jeff Laramie ǀ SRO Artists/Northstar Artists

            Tim Drake ǀ The Roots Agency


Programming for Diverse Audiences
Room: Cosmopolitan C/D

Art is a universal language. This session prepares you for curtains up on a stage where every voice finds harmony, enriching the performing arts for all. Learn to craft relevant experiences that celebrate diversity and foster connection through audience segmentation, culturally sensitive curation, and authentic representation.

            Diana Martinez ǀ College of DuPage

            Steve Hoffman ǀ Norton Center for the Arts

            Katie Miller ǀ Midland Center for the Arts

            Chisa Yamaguchi ǀ Sozo Artists, Inc.


Summer Programming
Room: Cosmopolitan A

Our panel of experts spotlight seasonal creativity through outdoor events, family-friendly shows, and immersive experiences. Learn to curate captivating spectacles that capture the essence of summer and resonate with audiences of all ages. 

            Lindsay Bauer ǀ Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts

            Rachelle Fratzke ǀ Pearson Lakes Arts Center

            Peter Palermo ǀ The Sheldon


10:45 am-12:00 pm

Closing Plenary: “The Changing Multigenerational Workplace”

                             Allison Barr, The Center for Creative Leadership

Room: Sagamore Ballroom, Indiana Convention Center 

Allison Barr is a Leadership Solutions Partner at the Center for Creative Leadership who specializes in organizational design and facilitation. With an MBA, as well as a Master’s Degree in psychology, Allison has worked with hundreds of leaders across the globe, she has consulted internationally in various sectors including: Higher Education, Energy and Tech, Fine Arts, Retail, Finance and Non-profits alike. Having lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East, her career and education to date reflects her balanced skillset in leadership, workplace culture and business agility. Allison has a rich history in the public speaking arena and has been featured in several publications, including HR.com, Sage and The Center for Creative Leadership.