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Contact: Meredith Beatrice

Upcoming Convening Culture Conference to Celebrate Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced the Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs will hold Convening Culture 2017: Exploring Innovation & Entrepreneurship through Arts & Culture February 22-23. The conference will offer informative sessions, discussions and networking opportunities for artists and individuals working and interested in arts and culture in Florida.

As Florida’s Chief Cultural Officer, I am excited that the Convening Culture Conference is being held for its fourth year,” said Secretary Detzner. “Convening Culture is a great opportunity for professional development and collaboration within Florida’s vibrant arts and cultural communities. This year’s conference promises to be the best yet and will explore innovation and entrepreneurship through the arts and culture. Florida is home to more than 29,000 creative industries establishments which generate approximately $49.7 billion in annual revenue. Last year, 37.9 million people benefitted from Department of State supported arts and cultural programs, sustaining nearly 12,000 jobs across Florida.”

The annual convening culture conference is presented by the Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc., a statewide non-profit organization that works to support the efforts of the Division of Cultural Affairs. This year, the annual event will be hosted in Gainesville by the University of Florida College of Arts Center for Arts in Medicine. Session topics will range from community collaborations to creative start-up businesses.

Several honors will be presented at the conference, including the induction of Billy Dean, Don Felder, Lee Bennett Hopkins and Jim Stafford into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, joining such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, and Robert Rauschenberg. This award is the highest honor bestowed upon artists by the State of Florida. Recipients of this award demonstrate the diversity of artistic accomplishment that comprise the rich cultural tapestry of this state. The Division of Cultural Affairs will also present its Diversity and Inclusion Awards at the conference. These awards recognize innovative and exceptional efforts that promote diversity in arts and cultural programming.


Convening Culture Conference Event Highlights


February 22-23, 2017

Exhibition on View: At the Threshold to the Unknown

  • Description: The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience will partner to present this stunning exhibition which explores the imagery that is created at the intersection of microscience and art. Graciously supported by Nancy and David Auth.
  • Location: Lobby of the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

February 22, 2017

Conference Welcome & Plenary Session with Dr. Elif Ekcali

  • Description: Ekcali serves as an Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida. She is in the inaugural class of UF Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows in the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Warrington College of Business Administration and was formerly a Creative Scholar-in-Residence in the School of Theater + Dance. Dr. Ekcali will discuss divergent thinking and its impact on creativity and systems.
  • Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:10 p.m.

Conference Session: New Models of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Culture Economy

  • Description: This session will provide attendees with a survey of current landscape and trends, focusing on case studies that illuminate the development of new models and the complexity and importance of funding, community and partnerships for artists.
  • Time: 1:45 p.m. -2:45 p.m.
  • Presenter: Colleen Keegan, Creative Capital Foundation

February 23, 2017

John Whitney Payson Keynote Presentation featuring Lily Yeh

  • Description: Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose work has taken her to communities throughout the world. As founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia from 1968 to 2004, she helped create a national model in creative place-making and community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh pursued her work internationally, founding Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the globe through participatory, multifaceted projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development and preserve indigenous art and culture. (
  • Time: 10:35 a.m. -11:45 a.m.

Presentation of the 2017 Diversity & Inclusion Awards

  • Description: The Diversity & Inclusion Awards Program recognizes the efforts of individuals working to make arts and cultural programming in Florida as diverse and inclusive as possible. 
  • Time: noon-1 p.m.
  • Award Recipients: Antonio Cuyler; Compassionate St. Augustine; Dario Moore, The Center for Contemporary Dance, Inc.; Darryl Reuben Hall, Stage Aurora; Dr. Joseph Wiltshire Foundation; Edward Sparan; Florida Studio Theatre; Fort Mose Historical Society; Hope at Hand, Inc.; Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens; Orlando Community Arts, Inc.; Orlando Repertory Theatre; PAXy, Inc; Pioneer Winter, Pioneer Winter Collective; Rose Grace; Tarell McCraney; We the People Theatre; and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.

Florida Artists Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

  • Description (Free Admission): The Florida Artists Hall of Fame Awards Induction Ceremony at the close of the conference will honor four artists with deep ties to Florida.
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
  • Inductees: GRAMMY AWARD winners Billy Dean and Don Felder; poet Lee Bennett Hopkins; and comedian, musician and singer-songwriter Jim Stafford.
  • Emcees: Secretary of State Ken Detzner; Division of Cultural Affairs Director Sandy Shaughnessy


For more information or to register for Convening Culture 2017, please visit



About the Division of Cultural Affairs

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs is Florida’s legislatively designated state arts agency. The Division promotes the arts and culture as essential to quality of life for all Floridians. To achieve its mission, the Division funds and supports cultural programs that provide artistic excellence, diversity, education, access and economic vitality for Florida’s communities. For more information, visit