Recap: ArtsForce 10th anniversary networking event

April 11 2023

By Mors Smith 

What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ArtsForce than by partying at our annual networking event –– complete with special programming, decorations, and a big surprise!

Before I get into the details, let's answer the question, what is networking?

Networking is simply making connections. Being curious about other people’s lives, Asking questions, and listening for what you have in common with those you meet. The ArtsForce team and I shared these thoughts with attendees as they entered the annual networking event.

The day kicked off with a panel of established fine arts professionals: Julie Gale, Matt Castillo, Nancy Green, and Robert Neubecker. They gave us advice on how to establish and maintain our networks.

Here are some of our team’s favorite takeaways:

  • Be sure to attend events in your local community to show support. You can make friends and expand your network.

  • Have a good website for your portfolio, and email your connections updates on your latest projects.

  • What you do in school now (including projects, collaborations, and connections) can impact your network later on.

  • Be sure to follow up. If you don’t hear from someone, take a risk and reach out to them again.

Following the panel, we had a workshop led by ArtsForce founder and associate dean Liz Leckie, and with previous ArtsForce interns guiding us on how to start networking.

We received encouragement on how to break the ice, and ways to craft an elevator pitch relevant for each situation. Lastly, we were reminded to introduce ourselves, and thank people for their time –– a thank you can go a long way! With this brief session, we were ready to put these skills into practice over lunch.

Once settled, we had a moment to snack and chat. Part way through lunch, we had a special surprise. Previous ArtsForce Interns Rae Luebbert, Cynthia Chen, Annealea Flynn, and Ashley Chin-Mark Thomsen spoke about what ArtsForce meant for them, and especially how Liz Leckie had helped shape their college experience and future careers. They then presented Leckie with a certificate of appreciation to commemorate 10 years of ArtsForce. Leckie expressed her thoughts on how much this meant to her. 

Fittingly, it was Leckie that continued the afternoon with guided networking -- a series of rotations with different questions in order to get everyone more comfortable. All attendees walked around the room until we were told to stop. Once partnered up, we introduced ourselves, answered the proposed questions, and thanked each other for the time. Each of three rotations got slightly longer, and with more detailed questions. At the end of the third rotation, guided networking was opened up to network freely.

Also at the event were numerous local businesses spanning all areas of the fine arts, and even arts administration and advocacy. Each of their tables had a crowd of students eager to get connected. This energy continued through the conclusion of the event with many students still engaged in conversation.

With the networking event wrapped up, our team wanted to share a big thank you to all who helped make this year a big success!

To find out what next year will bring, make sure to join our canvas page to get the latest updates.

Author Mors Smith is a Studio Art Major with an emphasis in Ceramics and an Emerging Leaders Intern at ArtsForce.