The National Council of Arts Administrators will host their 50th annual conference at WashU in September 2023. The theme of the conference is This Complicated Heritage, with sessions dedicated to exploring how history is reshaped by the complexities of our time, as well as general issues in arts administration. “Educators today exist in a moment when much of received history is being re-formatted, re-contextualized, re-understood,” said Amy Hauft, director of the College & Graduate School of Art at WashU’s Sam Fox School. “How do we best grapple with these shifting sands in the classroom and in academia at large, and turn this reality into a strength?”
St. Louis, “Gateway to the West,” is the perfect location for the conference due to its significance in the country’s geography and history. Two sites in particular will serve as subjects of discussion: the Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen, a world-class modernist monument that demonstrates a portal from east to west, from past to future; and Cahokia Mounds, a pre-Columbian settlement just east of the Mississippi River that had a population to rival contemporaneous London. Attendees — who have the opportunity to visit both sites as part of the conference* — will engage with the ever-transforming histories of these sites and explore ways of harnessing changing meanings.
*That’s a big hint! The Saturday field trip is “can’t miss.”