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Announcing the Inaugural Midwest Arts Xpo (MAX)

The skyline of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana
Photo Credit: Ryan de Hammer
The skyline of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana

The inaugural Midwest Arts Xpo (MAX) will take place on September 18-21, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

An independent coalition of booking agents, artists, and regional performing arts presenters have come together to form a nonprofit organization called Heartland Performing Arts, which will host a new and reimagined booking and presenting conference focused on America’s heartland. The inaugural Midwest Arts Xpo (MAX) will take place on September 18-21, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The launch of Heartland Performing Arts and the Midwest Arts Xpo comes after Arts Midwest announced the pause of future programming on the Arts Midwest Conference in 2021. State consortia leaders gathered virtually after the announcement to discuss options, and the future of arts programming. In January 2022, a task force of presenters, agents, artists, and managers was formulated to brainstorm ideas, research city locations, and adapt a new idea for a conference. To support the work of Heartland Performing Arts, Arts Midwest is giving the organization a one-time grant of $125,000 as start-up funding for the Midwest Arts Xpo (MAX).

“Since Arts Midwest’s exit from serving as a lead producer in the booking and presenting space, exciting new entities and collaborations have emerged,” says Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We’re thrilled to support this coalition of dedicated folks reimagining the future of booking and presenting conferences in America’s heartland.”

“It’s hard to believe this phenomenal group of arts professionals merely began meeting this past January to discuss ways we could work together to fill the void left by the loss of the Arts Midwest Conference,” says Heartland Performing Arts Board President Tommy Hensel. “In five short months, we went from complaining about the problem, to creating both a nonprofit organization and conference! The best part of the process was realizing we were creating something for the industry that was developed and planned by the very people it is meant to serve. I feel blessed to work with so many passionate and talented people, and we hope everyone else will be as excited as we are about the new Midwest Arts Xpo.”

Sara Barasch from IMG Artists and Heartland Performing Arts Board Member states, “For many years, the annual Arts Midwest conference was an essential part of the booking process; it was a space for colleagues in the Midwest and beyond to build trust and relationships over time, see new and familiar faces year after year, and connect with a community of interesting, creative people to navigate industry challenges and innovative ideas together. It’s an honor to be part of the grassroots team that is reimagining this annual event as the Midwest Arts Xpo.”

Mark your calendars for MAX in Indianapolis September 18-21, 2023!

While the Arts Midwest grant is a significant contribution, additional support will be needed for the new conference. For more information about the conference, sponsorship opportunities, and registration, stay connected by following MAX on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, join the e-newsletter or visit the MAX website.

About Heartland Performing Arts

Heartland Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization which brings together arts professionals to encourage innovation, create educational opportunities, strengthen artist touring relationships, and support arts advocacy throughout the central United States. The organization was founded by agents, artists, and state consortia leaders from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Plains Presenters, Southwest Presenters, and Wisconsin. Visit their website for more information.

Heartland Performing Arts Board Members

  • Tommy Hensel, President (Elgin Community College)
  • Eric Olmscheid, Vice President (Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University)
  • Tianna Conway, Secretary (Carthage College)
  • Jeff Laramie, Treasurer (SRO Artists Inc)
  • Sara Barasch (IMG Artists)
  • Gail Boyd (Gail Boyd Artist Management)
  • Laurel Canan (Siegel Artist Management)

The Midwest Arts Xpo Committee

  • Lindsay Bauer (Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, Sondheim Center)
  • Loni Boyd (Wisconsin Lutheran College)
  • Mary Jennings (Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University)
  • Luisa Kormann (The Roots Agency)
  • Gary Minyard (Dayton Live)
  • Jennifer Morris (Siegel Artist Management)
  • Nicole Mulder (Theatre L’Homme Dieu)
  • Peter Palermo (Sheldon Arts Foundation)
  • Maureen Patton (The Grand 1894 Opera House)
  • Kevin Peters (G.L. Berg Entertainment)
  • Thomas Robbins (University of Dubuque, Heritage Center)
  • Lisa Rock (Lisa Rock Entertainment)
  • Leslie Rodriguez (Dominican University Performing Arts Center)
  • Crandall Rogers (Four Mortals Production)