Artist Annual Showcase & Conference

Save the Date!

January 27-29, 2022
Fort Benton, Montana

What is the Annual Artist Showcase & Conference?

MPAC's annual conference is the result of a cooperative effort between presenters and performing artists. Each year representatives of approximately 17-18 presenting organizations in Montana and Idaho, plus a like number of artists and management companies gather as a cost-effective means for marketing, booking, and continuing education.

Conference highlights:

  • WESTAF Tour West grant workshop and individual consultations with WESTAF staff.
  • Live sample performances of 17 Canadian, national, regional, and Montana artists in the juried showcase.
  • Additional artists with video or audio samples of their work in the Resource Room.
  • Turn-the-Tables event in the Resource Room on Friday afternoon. Presenters have at least one person representing their organization in a booth to meet artists and answer questions.
  • Artist Jam Session on Saturday evening.
  • Block-booking meetings for presenters.
  • Travel stipends for rural Montana presenters (one per organization).

 Who attends the conference?

  • Rural and urban presenters 

  • Performing artists, managers, promotional staff

  • Community concert representatives

  • Representatives of state and regional arts councils

  • School administrators

  • Summer fair and festival representatives

The conference and showcase are designed to be a low-pressure, friendly and practical means of networking and block booking. Events are organized to provide ample time and opportunity to meet individual with artists, presenters, artist companies, and booking agents.

During the showcases, participants sample a selection of unique artists who span a variety of genres. Past years have featured acts ranging from classical music and folk singers to ethnic dance groups and fire juggling.

A perennial conference highlight is Saturday night's Artist Jam Session, which offers a chance to visit with other attendees and enjoy artist performances in an informal setting. The Friday afternoon Turn-the-Tables and evening mixer are other valuable opportunites to learn what is happening with performing arts in other communities and to form new associations. 

 

How are showcase artists selected?

Artists are juried by a selection panel comprised of presenters and artists (or an artist manager). Each applicants submits work samples in the form of video or audio files along with their promotional materials. The panel chooses a varied selection of up to 17 acts to showcase from the pool based on quality of performance, quality of promotional materials, and marketability in Montana (including fee range and residency activity).

There are no restrictions regarding artists applying to the showcase every year, however, the performance material should be new. Some artists stagger the years they apply to showcase and purchase only booth registration during non-showcasing years.

Most often there are far more qualified applicants than the 17 showcase slots available. Artists are then asked to be alternates in the event they have the opportunity to step in to showcase on short notice.

The Montana Performing Arts Consortium annual artist showcase and conference relies on grant support from Montana’s Cultural Trust, the Montana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.