A woman with brown bobbed hair wears a black and green jacket with yellow flowers
Senior Program Director, New England Presenting & Touring, Center Stage

"The Idea Swap continues to serve a vital role in the New England culture-scape"
- David Henry, Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA)

On November 7, NEFA staff gathered with 150 New England colleagues at our annual Idea Swap, an event for nonprofit organizations to network and share project ideas that may qualify for funding from NEFA’s Expeditions program.

While the Expeditions program is what brings us together, the Idea Swap has become one of the primary opportunities for presenters and artists in the region to network with each other.  It’s so rewarding to see old friends, new faces, and learn about the many amazing artists and organizations that work in New England. View photos from the event on NEFA's Facebook page.

This year’s event is noteworthy for several reasons.

We had one of the largest groups of participants in the event’s 12 year history, and had a significant amount of new attendees – including a bus full of new friends from Rhode Island - bringing new perspectives to the conversation. Based on feedback from previous events we also added two new features: a morning “New to NEFA” session for first-time participants to mingle and meet NEFA staff, and a grouping by budget size of the projects shared during the mini swaps.

Feedback is an important part of the event’s design, and we ask that participants take our survey as we continue to refine the Idea Swap every year. Other event materials – including the survey link, participant list, and mini swap projects list, are available by visiting the Idea Swap event page.

With the opportunity to hear about 17 formal project
presentations, 47 mini-swap presentations, and 11 open-mic presentations (plus all of those ideas shared during the networking breaks or social media conversations), the Idea Swap is an important part of the region’s performing arts ecology.

I hope to see you all next year!



Top photo: the "RISCA bus," photo by Ann Wicks
Bottom photo: Theater mini-swap, photo by Abi Maulion