MP Conference 2019! Click Here for Full Schedule

Our Roles in Communities



2019 MP Conference Sessions

Impact and Communities: The Intersection Across Cultural and Business Sectors

Keynote speaker Holly Johnson, President of the Frey Foundation in Grand Rapids, MI, will lead a panel discussing the role of the arts in Muskegon as a consistent pillar of the community through economic struggles of the last two decades, and the continued evolution and role of the arts in the Muskegon community today. Panelists Tom Harryman, Cindy Larsen, and Todd M. Jacobs offer perspectives from the artistic, business, and philanthropic communities of West Michigan.



Tom Harryman, Chair, Arts and Humanities Dept., Muskegon Community College

Cindy Larsen, President, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

Heidi Systema, Vice President of Development, Muskegon Community Foundation

The Magic of Marketing:  The role of presenters AND artists

How often do you, as a presenter, find your organization being solely responsible for promoting the shows you booked?  Are you always left having to find the "magic formula" to sell each particular show?  Do you resort to Google searches or other venue websites for artist materials?  Do the artists you book consistently provide updated quality marketing materials including engaging show copy and images that sell tickets?  During this session by touring artist Bill Blagg, we will learn expectations presenters should set on artists.  Specifically, how to create a two-way street with both the artist and the venue being equally invested in box office performance.  Bill has been in the touring business for over 18 years and during that time has developed a highly effective marketing system.  In addition, he has also consulted for Fortune 500 companies.  Bill will teach some best practices to assist presenters in creating engaging, compelling and effective marketing campaigns.  At the end of the session, you will have a variety of tools you can implement immediately to ignite your marketing efforts.

Audience F.I.R.S.T. 

A one-hour workshop on how to engage your community via an audience-first mindset and approach. 


Matthew Thomas and Bryan Smith, directors of New House Productions (, will explore this dynamic through the performer’s - and performance - perspective: from the inside out, across the border from stage to seats.  What are the fundamental components of any compelling presentation?  How must we prepare as individuals?  What is our situational awareness?  When do we lead or support?  How do we engage our audience?  Who is our audience? 


Join Matt and Bryan for this innovative, active program - become a better communicator and colleague for your community! 

Presenters and Community: Taking Inspiration from Other Arts Sectors on How to Collaborate and Engage Audiences Beyond Ticket Sales

You have great programming… now what? How do you take the next step to engage audiences for the good of both your organization and community? Hear from panelists from across the arts world as they talk about how collaboration and creative engagement has made a difference in their communities and to the long-term sustainability of their organizations and walk away with new perspective and fresh inspiration.


Andy Buelow, Executive Director, West Michigan Symphony

Jason Bertoia, Managing Director, Muskegon Civic Theater

Kristen Chesak, Executive Director, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo

Kirk Hallman, Executive Director, Muskegon Museum of Art



Are you a working parent trying to stay inspired, get your kids to activities on time, and still work 50 hours a week in the arts sector? Are you single, hardworking, up-and-comer on the verge of burnout because you always get tapped for late nights and long weekends? The performing arts industry is a magnet for sensitive, creative souls who are frequently asked to work long hours for low pay. And at what cost? Is there someone out there who has figured out how to do it “right?” Join our member panel representing a wide array of career and family paths for what is sure to be a robust conversation around achieving not just a work/life balance, but that elusive thing that is unique to us: the Art/Work/Self Balance.



Dexter Brigham, Midland Center for the Arts

Ted Malt, West Shore Community College

Grace Kelmer, Mendel Center for Performing Arts


Construction workers’ have their hammers, doctors’ have their stethoscope - every industry needs a toolbox full of items useful to manage everyday tasks on the job.  Michigan Presenters has prioritized creating a Presenters Toolbox available to every registered member through  What would you like to see available in your toolbox? Directory, Sample Offer Form, Sample Rental Agreements?  This is your opportunity to give us a checklist of necessary tools that we can gather to help our industry professionals succeed!

MP Conference 2019 HAPPY HOUR!

The most important part of the conference! Don't miss out on a fun night with your colleagues at Unruly Brewing Co. with appetizers from Rebel Pies Pizza provided by Michigan Presenters.

This years conference features keynote speaker, Holly Johnson, President of the Grand Rapids-based Frey Foundation 


The Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts

Muskegon, MI

June 18-19, 2019
Tuesday: 1:30 - 5 pm 
Wednesday: 8:30 am - 5 pm