More than 300 artists, arts managers, and arts supporters will come together in Evanston, Illinois this fall for the biennial One State Together in the Arts conference. Co-convened by Arts Alliance Illinois and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, One State is the only statewide, multidisciplinary conference for arts leaders and practitioners in Illinois. Since 1999, One State has served as a forum for creative professionals and arts passionate people from across the state to come together to network with peers, discover resources, and gain new insights.

Conference features

  • Keynote presentation and nine “TED-style” talks from dynamic thought-leaders
  • Interactive breakout sessions
  • Performances and art-making experiences
  • Local arts tours
  • Networking opportunities

2015 Conference Theme: FLOURISH

Creative expression is an innate and powerful condition of human nature that vigorously nurtures the human spirit. Springing from both the commonplace and the extraordinary, the arts celebrate and reveal our essential humanity, break down imposing barriers, and improve the livability of our neighborhoods, our towns, our state, and our world. We all flourish when we flex our creative muscle and encourage growth in individuals and communities.

At One State 2015, we’ll explore how artists, community builders, and social entrepreneurs are engaging in creative activity to promote positive change on personal, community, and global levels. Our presenters will speak to the following ideas:

  • How is creative expression essential for individuals to flourish and understand each other?
  • How does nourishing creativity help communities, large and small, to strengthen identity and to flourish?
  • How do the arts in full flourish connect Illinois to our global community?

One State offers a platform for dialogue and cross-sector partnership. Together, we will explore how we can collaborate to ensure that the arts are leading the way toward a more equitable, unified, and livable society. How do we collectively communicate the real impact and value of the arts?

2015 Conference Co-Chairs

Esther Grimm, Executive Director, 3Arts
Doug Johnson, Executive Director, McLean County Arts Center
Joyce Owens, Artist and Educator

2015 Host Committee Members

Jennifer Lasik, City of Evanston (Co-Chair)
Gina Speckman, North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau (Co-Chair)
Suzy Bielek, Northwestern University
Alderman Peter Braithwaite
Jason Brown, City of Evanston
Diane Claussen, Northwestern University
Annie Coakley, Downtown Evanston
Paula Danoff, Evanston Art Center
Lisa Degliantoni, Evanston Arts Council
Christina Ernst, Evanston Dance Ensemble
Dan Foley, Northwestern University
Alex Fthenakis, Muse of Fire
Indira Johnson, Artist
Fran Joy, Evanston Arts Council
Elaine Kemna-Irish, Evanston Chamber of Commerce
Judy Kemp, EvanstARTs
Amanda Kulczewski, Piccolo Theatre
Lisa Metzger-Mugg, Northwestern University
Cynthia Noble, Northwestern University
Virginia Nugent, Actors Gymnasium
Erin Phipps, Northwestern University
Karen Rigotti, North Shore Choral Society
Penny Rotheiser, On Stage Evanston
Penelope Sachs, Evanston Symphony Orchestra
Sara Schastok, Evanston Community Foundation
Paul Zalmezak, City of Evanston


One State attracts 300+ Illinois leaders and practitioners in the non-profit and commercial arts sector, as well as representatives of other related sectors including rural and urban planning, community development, parks and recreation, tourism, higher education, municipal government, and more.