Mechanics Hall | 321 Main St., Worcester, MA


The Idea Swap is an annual event for New England-based nonprofit cultural organizations and touring artists to network and share ideas for touring projects, including those that may qualify for funding from NEFA’s Expeditions grant program.

Event resources:

Learn more about last year's event

$40 if registered by October 9 | $60 after 
Online registration closes on October 26 at midnight | Walk-up registration is available at the event

Get Involved: Discover, Share, & Present Project Ideas

In addition to networking, Idea Swap participants are encouraged to share ideas in all stages of development with their colleagues from around the region. 15-20 project ideas are selected in advance to make five-minute presentations at the Idea Swap. Please see below for more details about how to present.

Discover Project Ideas

Visit the Idea Swap Project Ideas page to find out what other New England presenting organizations and performing artists are working on.

Share Your Project Idea Online

Submit your project idea on the Project Ideas page. Project ideas will be listed on this page before and after the Idea Swap, and will be distributed in hard copy to all event participants.

Present Your Project Idea at the Idea Swap

In advance of the Idea Swap, NEFA selects 15-20 projects from the Project Ideas page to make 5-minute presentations at the Idea Swap.




Monday, October 29

Presenters and artists are invited to join New England Presenters (NEP) and Arts Presenters of Northern New England (APNNE) consortia for a joint gathering that will include opportunities for networking as well as what to expect for those attending Idea Swap the next day for the first time. From 5:30-7:30 at Bocado Tapas Wine Bar, 82 Winter Street, Worcester. Details & Register. 

Tuesday, October 30


New to NEFA or Idea Swap?

Meet and mingle with NEFA staff and colleagues.
09:30-10:00 Registration, Light Breakfast & Networking

NEFA Welcome & Overview of the Expeditions

An overview of the Expeditions program and application process.
10:45-12:00 Project Presentations - Part 1

1. Otto Frank*
Shannon Mayers | Redfern Arts Center at Keene State   
2. Conference of the Birds*
Wendy Jehlen | ANIKAYA Dance Theater
3. The Forgotten Kingdom — Sand Stories
Matt Cahoon and Guy Mendilow | Pinkerton Academy and Guy Mendilow Ensemble
4. Untitled*
Lori Jones | Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University
5. What will we be like when we get there
Alison Manning and David White | The Yard
6. Fefa y su Bodega: a Newcomer’s Story
Marta V. Martinez, Marcel Mascaró, and Magnolia Perez 
Rhode Island Latino Arts
7. Canvas 5x5 & Other Works*
Tom Ayres and Sara Coffin | Chandler Center for the Arts and Mocean Dance 
8. Industrious Angels
Sabrina Hamilton | Ko Festival of Performance
9. Moving Histories*
Cynthia Woo | Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
10. Explanation: Black Squirrels, At the Party, & Other Tales
Morgan James Peters | Song Keepers, LTD
11. Glorious Visions in Animation
Aimée Petrin | Portland Ovations

*Expeditions Tour Planning grantees

12:00-01:00 Lunch

Mini Swaps 

Participants break out into small groups to informally share project ideas.

Project Presentations - Part 2

12. CRQ - Jazz Tango for the New Century
Dan Greenspan and Claudio Ragazzi | CR Music
13. Cast, Stage, Author*
Shoshona Currier | Bates Dance Festival
14. Requiem for an Electric Chair
Chad Herzog and Toto Kisaku | International Festival of Arts & Ideas
15. Memoirs of a... Unicorn
Michelle Daly | Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
16. Activarte: Engaging the Community Through 
the Arts

Elsa Mosquera | Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
17. Last Ward*
Zoe Rabinowitz & Lida Winfield | Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre and Middlebury College 
18. Gravitational Fool*
Brian King | What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? 
19. Burnt-Out Wife*
Kelsey Halliday Johnson and Sara Juli | SPACE
20. Detroit Red
David Dower | ArtsEmerson
21. Huang Yi & Kuka
Kathleen Pletcher | FirstWorks
22. Resilience
Samite Mulondo and Steven Raider Ginsburg | Autorino Center for the Arts, University of Saint Joseph

*Expeditions Tour Planning grantees

03:00-04:00 Dessert & Networking

View the Idea Swap program book

Parking & Carpool

There is limited on-street parking available. The nearest parking lots are on Waldo Street, Exchange Street, East Central Street, Main Street, and the Elm Street Garage.

View parking lots in the surrounding area

Need a ride/have a ride? Sign up to carpool

Taking the train from Boston? Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris from Monkeyhouse invite Boston-area Idea Swap participants to meet them at South Station on 10/30 to take the 7:20 train to Worcester. They’re bringing donuts! More details from Monkeyhouse, below:

Can choreographic thinking save the world? Monkeyhouse thinks so. We encourage all the participants at the 2018 Idea Swap to consider #choreographyofthecommute . What is the choreography of your commute and how does it impact climate change? Have you read the news relating to the recent ICPP report on climate change? As Laurie WInkless explains in Forbes, “Transport has seen faster emissions growth in the past 50 years than any other sector, and in 2014, it accounted for almost a quarter of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions.” How you move matters now more than ever.

Now what if we told you that donuts will be served while you fight climate change? That’s right, if you hop on the 7:20 commuter rail from South Station to Worcerster with Karen and Nicole from Monkeyhouse, you can savor some sweetness as you save the planet and ease into the 2018 Idea Swap. So RSVP to monkeyhouselovesnicole@gmail.com, grab your train ticket, a cup of coffee and meet us under the big sign starting at 7am!  (You won’t be able to miss us, promise! We'll be the ladies with the donuts.) Not getting on at South Station?  We will sit as far back in the train as seating allows so you can find us when you board. We'll be heading to Armsby Abbey when the dessert and networking reception ends at 4pm to grab a snack and a drink before getting on the 5:20 pm train back to the city.

Accessibility Information

Mechanics Hall Accessibility

NEFA staff will be available at registration in the Washburn Lobby on the 2nd level and in the Great Hall on the 3rd level for any assistance. 

  • Elevators are located at the back entrance of Mechanics Hall on Waldo Street.
  • We recommend parking on Waldo Street for individuals who use wheelchairs. On-street parking spots are available, and the sidewalks have curb-cuts. There is a parking lot directly across from Mechanics Hall.
  • Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located on the 3rd level at the back entrance to the Great Hall.
  • Please note there are steps to the restrooms and Board Room on the 2nd level.


Book with Holiday Inn Express Worcester Downtown for a discounted rate of $140/night excluding taxes. Call 855-914-9635 and ask for "NEFA's 17th Annual Idea Swap 2018." 

Holiday Inn Express Worcester Downtown
110 Summer Street, Worcester

In order of proximity to downtown Worcester: