BA Conversations

Conversations with arts professionals that are of interest to small and mighty arts organizations

What are BA Conversations?

At Benvenuti Arts, we mainly work with small and very small organizations just like you! This means we’re hyper-focused on the needs of those groups who are doing amazing things with limited resources; groups with strong community connections and uncompromisable values. Our consulting services and memberships are built around a deep understanding of your work and unique challenges, and our BA Conversations are an effort to address those challenges.

Each month, we’ll be having live conversations with arts professionals about topics that are of interest to small and mighty arts organizations, and we invite you to join! At about 90 minutes each, Founder Sarah Benvenuti will lead the conversation, but we’ll be sure to save plenty of time to answer your questions, too. So watch and learn or bring your own challenges to get advice from the people who know best. 

All conversations are Free for BA members and clients, and just $5 for non-members, these conversations will be intimate, practical, and undoubtedly, a bit of fun. We hope you’ll join us!

See upcoming BA Conversations or sign up to attend here:


Sep 13th, 2021 at 12:30-2:00 pm EST

Talking Accessibility, with Laurel Lawson of Kinetic Light

Access: CART, ASL, and audio descriptions of visual elements

With the technology and resources available to us today, there are no excuses for even the smallest arts organizations to not ensure their offerings are accessible.  As we are all navigating both virtual and in-person worlds these days, it can be challenging for independent artists and organizations of any size to figure out where to start. We’re thrilled to have Laurel Lawson, of one of the field’s leading disability arts ensembles and long-time BA client, Kinetic Light, join us to chat accessibility. While this is not a workshop, we will discuss Kinetic Light’s philosophy around disability aesthetics, some basic starting points around accessibility, and tools and resources.

Laurel Lawson is a choreographic collaborator, dancer, designer, and engineer with Kinetic Light. She is the primary costume and makeup designer, contributes other technical and production design, and designed the wheelchairs that she and Alice use in performance in collaboration with Paul Schulte, lead engineer for Top End. She is also the product designer and lead for access and software initiatives such as Audimance, the company’s app which revolutionizes audio description for non-visual audiences, and Access ALLways, the paradigm and collected practices for holistic disabled-led accessibility.

Realizing that dance combined her lifelong loves of art and athleticism, Lawson began her professional dance career with Atlanta’s Full Radius Dance in 2004. She continues to work with Full Radius Dance as well as Kinetic Light and her independent practice, which includes traditional choreography as well as transdisciplinary work which explores novel ways of creating and extending art through technology and design.

Laurel’s choreography is marked by intensive partnering and grounded technique. Bringing the nuance of disabled artistry, she creates work for all ensembles including nondisabled, disabled, and physically integrated companies. She often weaves together abstract and concrete themes with overarching mythological inspiration, with focus on engaging and immersive audience experience. Her work has been recognized with a 2019-20 Dance/USA Artist Fellowship. Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists are made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Beyond the studio, Laurel is the CTO and co-founder of CyCore Systems, a boutique engineering consultancy which specializes in solving novel, multi-realm problems of all sizes for a global clientele. A noted public speaker and teacher, she speaks on a range of technical topics as well as on leadership and executive practice, culture and equity, and how to cultivate creativity and drive innovation. Lawson is also a member of the USA Women’s Sled Hockey Team.

October 27, 2021 12:30-2:00 pm EST

Reaching Your Audience on Facebook, with Dorene Wharton of Travel Life Media

With all of the tools of social media at our fingertips, it should be easy for a small company to reach a huge audience online. But so many of us struggle to stay up-to-date with the changing algorithms of Facebook. While we can’t teach you the ins and outs of social media advertising in just 90 minutes, Dorene Wharton will join us to discuss how to use your language to make the best impact with whatever resources and time you have to dedicate to this end of the marketing world.

Dorene Wharton is Head Marketing, Strategist, Coach, and Conversion Copywriter for Travel Life Media. 

November 11, 2021; 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, EST

Mastering Meeting Facilitation, with Jackie Miller of Bespoken Partners

You know the feeling: you spend hours or days preparing for a Board meeting, ready to lead the conversation towards your goals, only to have Board members completely derail the meeting and your strategy. Sometimes, it’s not just about the content, but about knowing how to deliver the content in order to ensure you can effectively lead. Jackie Miller will join us to talk owning your voice at work, public speaking, connecting to an audience, and how to maintain control when presenting to ensure your organization stays on track.

In 2015 Jackie Miller launched Bespoken inspired by the belief that everyone has an innate ability to communicate powerfully and purposefully. 

Bespoken’s progressive approach to professional development empowers individuals and teams with effective communication and presentation skills through engaging, interactive, industry specific training programs designed to transform communication skills for the long-term.  The driving force behind Bespoken’s methodology is imbuing professionals with tools tailored for their voice so they can make powerful verbal and physical choices on their own to connect with any audience.

Jackie’s diverse experience working with clients such as Showtime, Columbia Business School, Johnson +Johnson, and Sundance Institute show Jackie that regardless of one’s age or professional affiliation, the desire to communicate powerfully and with purpose is a universal one – and one she’s proud to help many different people achieve.  She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and M.A. in Arts and Public Policy, both from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Past Conversation Topics Have Included:

Researching the Right Grants for You, with Kaitlin Kitzrow of Unbound Philanthropy where we gained insight on how to navigate through the noise so that you aren’t wasting your time on grants that aren’t right for you.

Standing Out with Artist-Centric Funders with Candace Feldman discussing what it’s like to usher artists through a more hands-on process, selecting the work samples that best highlight your work, and other tidbits around building stronger relationships with funders.

Standing Out as an Indie Artist with Ana Fiore, Director, Grants & Services, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council – who joined us to talk about how indie artists can represent themselves more fully, from demonstrating their capacity through past experience to better planning and budgeting, and more.

Licensing Your Mission with Kathy Damkohler and Rainah Berlowitz of Education Through Music, where we talked about their journey into licensing, how they manage their relationship with affiliates, and things to consider if you are interested in heading down this path.

The Strange World of Grants Panels, with Rosalind Grush  – who joined us for a chat about the reality of grants panels, both from the perspective of someone who has sat on plenty of them, and as someone who has written many grants judged by panels. 

What Funders Want, with Conrhonda Baker – who shed some light on funding from the other side of the application process. We discussed basic, nonprofit-y things that funders look for and how you can prepare yourself for funder conversations.

A Year of Radical Change, with Randi Berry and the Indie Theater Fund – a year later, almost to the day, after COVID-19 changed our industry indelibly, Founder and Executive Director Randi Berry joins us to talk about this change, what she has learned, and her hopes for the future.

Making Finance Your Friend with Jeanine Hall – who talked about what arts organizations should be doing to make their financial presence easier – no matter how small the budget – while preparing for a more sustainable future in plain language and the minimum amount of pain.

Meet Your Host – Sarah Benvenuti!

Sarah Benvenuti | Benvenuti Arts

Sarah Benvenuti is Founder and Lead Consultant of Benvenuti Arts. Sarah brings her operational excellence and fundraising skills to the table with experience that includes Managing Director and Director of Development of The Civilians, Managing Director of Curious Theater Company, and, currently, Benvenuti Arts. Since 2014, Benvenuti Arts has served over 60 small and midsize arts nonprofits in areas of fundraising and management. She has a B.M. in Music from Mercyhurst University and an MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and has taught workshops and led panels on fundraising, real estate, and management in the arts.


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