Association of Performing Arts Presenters

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The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (also known as APAP), based in Washington, D.C.,[1] is the United States' national service, advocacy and membership organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it. More than 1,600 national and international members represent leading performing arts centers, municipal and university performance facilities, nonprofit performing arts centers, culturally specific organizations, foreign governments, as well as artist agencies, managers, touring companies, and national consulting practices that serve the field, and a growing roster of self-representing artists. APAP works to effect change through advocacy, professional development, resource-sharing and civic engagement.

Founded in 1957, APAP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization governed by a volunteer board of directors and led by President and CEO Mario Garcia Durham. In addition to presenting the annual APAP|NYC conference - the world’s leading convening for performing arts professionals - APAP continues to be the industry’s leading resource, knowledge and networking destination for the advancement of performing arts presenting.


APAP's story begins in the 1950s when college and university concert managers directed their interests toward the educational role of the arts and the unique issues related to professional performing arts on campus. Fan Taylor, presenter at the Wisconsin Union Theater, became the founder of APAP. The University of Wisconsin in Madison initially housed the staff. During the 1960s and 1970s, the presenting field and membership expanded to a variety of organizations, prompting the association to change its name to the Association of College, University and Community Arts Administrators (ACUCAA) in 1973. By the mid-1980s, colleges and universities no longer dominated the membership, and the association’s spectrum expanded. The organization’s name was changed to the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in 1988. Fan Taylor led the organization for 24 years. Bill Dawson succeeded Taylor in 1971 and served until 1986, when Susie Farr became the third executive director until her departure in 1999. During her tenure the national office relocated to Washington, D.C. Sandra Gibson served as president and CEO from 2000 until 2011. In October 2011, the board of directors appointed Mario Garcia Durham as president and CEO, the fifth leader of APAP. [2]


Membership in the association was 29 in 1957; by 1966 it had increased to 275. Today APAP has 1,600 organizational and individual members and serves more than 5,000 performing arts professionals every year. Today, the association represents the nonprofit and for-profit sectors of the presenting and touring industry of the performing arts in the U.S. and internationally, with member organizations from all 50 U.S. states and at least 50 countries.[1] Members include large performing arts centers in major cities, outdoor festivals, rural community-focused organizations, academic institutions, individual artists, and artist managers and booking agents, and representing disciplines including various forms of dance, music, theater, puppetry, circus, magic, attractions and performance art.


Through professional development programs and resources, APAP helps artists, agents, managers, presenters and producers to gain the knowledge, skills and strategies they need to make the arts a vibrant, valuable and sustainable part of everyday life. APAP enriches communities by supporting this work through grants, resources and advocacy aimed at making the arts accessible for all. APAP programs focus on broadening the impact of the performing arts to all audiences and to all citizens. As a founding member of the Performing Arts Alliance, APAP advocates for national policies that support, strengthen and improve the performing arts industry.


The association holds an annual members-only conference in New York City every January called APAP|NYC. The 2014 event featured more than 1,000 artist showcase performances, and more than 3,680 arts professionals from 50 states and 30 countries attended. An extensive array of performing arts events and festivals take place each January in New York City. APAP|NYC 2015, January 9-13, will greet more than 3,600 presenters, artists, managers, agents and emerging arts leaders for five days of professional development, business deals and exciting performances.

Professional Development[edit]

Through professional development programs and resources, APAP helps artists, agents, managers, presenters and producers to gain the knowledge, skills and strategies they need to make the arts a vibrant, valuable and sustainable part of everyday life.

Every January in New York City, APAP hosts APAP|NYC, the world's leading gathering of performing arts professionals. A core component of this five-day-long event is professional development, with more than 80 sessions, including artist pitch sessions, pre-conference seminars, individual consultations, and plenary events with featured guest speakers.

Leadership Programs[edit]

APAP supports and educates performing arts leaders of today and tomorrow with a variety of programs.

Emerging Leadership Institute (2002-present): Annual two-day intensive seminar for cohort of 20-30 emerging leaders at APAP|NYC.

Leadership Development Institute (2009-2013): Two cohorts of 10-15 mid-career professionals research "Mission/Vision" and "Connecting to Your Community" and produced the online interactive toolkit.

Monthly Webinar Series (2012-present): APAP hosts a monthly professional development webinar series designed specifically for arts professionals and free for all APAP members. These online seminars present dynamic discussions led by arts industry experts, innovators and creative leaders.

Young Performers Career Advancement (1996-Present): Taking place at APAP|NYC, the Young Performers Career Advancement Program (YPCA) is a series of intensive seminars designed to support classical musicians in the formative stages of their careers by offering opportunities to meet and work with established presenters, managers, agents and artists.

Grant Programs[edit]

APAP offers several grant programs exclusively for APAP members to provide financial support that recognizes outstanding and innovative practice.

All-In: Re-Imagining Community Participation Grants: The goal of this program is to support innovative strategies that target the full spectrum of community members from all generations and populations in community-based performing arts programs.

Building Bridges (2013-Present): Building Bridges is a program that supports campus based presenters interested in building interdisciplinary cross campus and community collaborations that expand knowledge and understanding of Muslim societies.

Creative Campus Innovations (2007-2013): The Creative Campus Innovations program was created to deepen innovative partnerships between arts presenters and their colleagues based on campuses across the country. The program encourages collaborations between the academy (administration, faculty and students) and local community partners.

Cultural Exchange Fund (2008-Present): The Cultural Exchange Fund is a travel subsidy program to assist U.S. based presenting professionals and artists in building partnerships and collaborations with international colleagues and to experience the work of artists from around the world in its cultural context.

Year-Round Member Resources[edit]

Dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts industry and the professionals who work within it, APAP connects artists, agents, managers, presenters and promoters through these year-round resources.

  • Membership directory and artist roster searchable database
  • Job Bank and Career Center
  • APAP|Community: A platform for peer-to-peer networking and resource sharing
  • Spotlights member e-newsletter contains important deadlines, member news and field opportunities
  • Inside Arts quarterly member magazine explores issues critical to the field through in-depth features, interviews and member news


  1. ^ a b "About" page,, official site of APAP. Accessed online 2013-01-14.
  2. ^ "APAP's History". 

External links[edit]

  • APAP, official site
  • APAP|NYC, annual conference, official site