Knepper tapped for national convention

PIQUA — Well-known locally for promoting the arts in the Piqua community and schools, Jordan Knepper will be heading to the Twin Cities in June to address other arts and community leaders about creativity in rural areas.

Knepper, who has been executive director of Piqua Arts Council since 2013, has been chosen to be speaker at Americans for the Arts annual convention, taking place June 13-16 in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

”Americans for the Arts is the national advocacy group for the support of the arts. They advocate for funding for the arts, provide education and training for arts administrators and do research on the impact of the arts on education and the economy,” Knepper explained.

The event, most of which will take place this year in Minneapolis, highlights topics and trends in the arts with presentations, panels and workshops, and more, to better equip arts leaders to handle issues in the arts community, he added.

Knepper submitted three topics for consideration last November, and ultimately, the organization combined one of his submissions with several others that were similar, creating a single topic, “The Creative Economy in Rural Places.”

“I will be on a panel with Adam Perry, vice president for Strategy and Programs, Arts Midwest; Kate Marquez, executive director, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance; and Michele Anderson, rural program director, Springboard for the Arts,” Knepper said.

“Being chosen as a speaker is a huge honor. The other presenters work for organizations with operating budgets in the millions of dollars, and we haven’t reached a quarter of a million yet. So to be recognized by Americans for the Arts as an organization worthy of standing with these other amazing groups is quite an honor and not one many arts groups in the state of Ohio can say they’ve been able to do.”

The arts council director praised Americans for the Arts for the opportunities it affords arts administrators and artists.

“I was fortunate enough to attend their national conference in San Francisco in 2017, and at that point, started to get more involved with the organization,” he said. “In December of 2018, they hosted a training on Artists at the Community Development Table and offered a stipend to pay for attendance, which I was fortunate enough to attend as well. Both of these opportunities really help refocus the efforts of the Piqua Arts Council and myself specifically.”

According to Knepper, statistically speaking, the arts are the second largest contributor to the economy, behind education.

“They’re often overlooked and undervalued, but I think the Piqua community has done a great job of recognizing the importance of the arts in their quality of life,” he said. “We see so many businesses supporting events like The Piqua Arts and Ale Festival, Rock Piqua and our Annual Art Exhibition and we have great attendance that makes most other cities of our size jealous. I really believe the arts are alive in Piqua.”

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Arts council head to speak in Twin Cities

By Belinda M. Paschal

Associate Editor, Miami Valley Today

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341 or