Past Events


The next One State Together in the Arts conference will be held in Galesburg, Illinois from October 21–23, 2018. Click here for a partial list of confirmed presenters; further details regarding conference programming, registration, scholarships, and more will be announced at later dates. One State Together in the Arts is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Click here to learn more.

Sponsorship opportunities available! Contact Alliance Development Director Sangini Brahmbhatt via email at


More than 300 “arts warriors” from across Illinois came together in Evanston in September for One State, a conference filled with insightful and inspiring talks by an extraordinary group of artists, activists, philanthropists, and teachers. Each told a different story, but they all believe in the power of the arts to help people and places flourish.

Whether it was Bob and Joan Erickson teaching us that conservation and culture are deeply intertwined, Angelique Power working to overcome systemic cultural inequities, Emanuel Pratt transforming blight to life, or Michael Patrick Thornton’s urging us to make the arts dinnertime conversation — the arts give us the tools to help change our world.

Watch and share talks from One State Together in the Arts 2015.


More than 250 people from across Illinois came together in the Quad Cities for One State 2013 — a conference with some of the most innovative thinkers, doers, and culture shapers in the state and beyond.

Throughout the conference, we witnessed the creative power of the arts to solve shared problems and change communities.

Whether it’s Theaster Gates transforming neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago, filmmaker Pablo Korona re-telling the story of Rockford, Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas reminding us that culture is at the root of agriculture, or Imran Khan inspiring students in what is considered one of the “most dangerous” schools in the nation — the arts allow us to re-imagine and reinvigorate our communities.

2013’s One State presenters reflected the imagination, diversity, and resolve of our broader arts community. Each told a different story, but they all shared a deep belief in what it means to show up as citizens. To build the bonds of trust and connection in our communities through artistry and activism.

How can we turn their inspirational talks into more meaningful action? No matter what our angle of entry is, we each have a role to play. Whether it’s at our institutions, in our neighborhoods, or across the state, let’s do our part to build a more just, equitable, and vibrant Illinois.

Watch and share talks from One State Together in the Arts 2013.


The 2011 One State featured ten talks full of big ideas and big inspiration on the topics Breakthrough Ideas, Breakthrough People, and Breakthrough Connections.

One State Together in the Arts - May 23 & 24, 2011 - Bloomington-Normal

Presenters included:

  • Visionary designer and innovator Bruce Mau of the Massive Change Network
  • Acclaimed trumpeter and composer Orbert Davis
  • Kevin Coval, poet and co-founder of the world’s largest youth poetry festival
  • The MCA’s James Goggin, “one of the most distinctive designers of his generation”
  • “The voice of the future of American theatre,” playwright and actor Tanya Saracho
  • Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, the state’s second in command
  • Albany Park Theater Project, a teen artist ensemble that’s created 50+ original plays
  • The man behind @MayorEmanuel: Columbia College Chicago professor Daniel Sinker
  • Artist and disability rights activist Dr. Carrie Sandahl
  • Way-outside-the-box thinker Frank Maugeri of Redmoon Theater

To watch a talk, click on the thumbnail below.

Watch a slideshow of photos from One State: