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:


June 22, 2021; 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, EST

Standing Out as an Indie Artist with Ana Fiore, Director, Grants & Services, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Independent Artists can feel like the deck is stacked against them when seeking support. How can you stand out when up against different organizations of all sizes, or artists from many different disciplines? What is a funder really expecting of you?

We’re thrilled to have Ana Fiore of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council joining 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. As both a funder and an organization applying for funding themselves, the LMCC holds a unique space for understanding the philanthropic space and how artists can find the support they need. 

As Director of Grants & Services at LMCC, Ana Fiore oversees a roster of re-grant programs, awarding over $1 million in support of community-based arts programming throughout Manhattan each year; the SU-CASA program, connecting senior centers with artists to engage older adults in artistic creation and exploration; and other artist service and community initiatives within the organization. At the core of these programs are methods for increasing the range of support and resources available to artists. Prior to joining LMCC, Ana aided fiscally sponsored artists at the New York Foundation for the Arts in broad and distinct fundraising efforts from large foundation grants to small crowdfunding campaigns with a focus on amplifying public benefit and impact, and demystifying the fundraising process. She is passionate about contemporary dance and has had the pleasure of previously serving the Center for Performance Research, The Joyce and Danspace Project.

July 19th, 2021 at 12:30-2:00 pm EST

Standing Out with Artist-Centric Funders with Candace Feldman

Applying for grants can often feel like you’re shouting into the void. The exceptions, we’ve found, are often the more artist-centric grants, which can usually provide more depth of support throughout the process. But even with these grants, it can be hard to know that you’re showing your work in ways that put you in the best light.

Building off our January discussion about grants panels, and last month’s about standing out as an individual artist, July’s BA Conversation will feature Candace L. Feldman, Co-Founder, Creative Producing Director, Unlock Creative. Candace and Sarah will discuss 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.

Candace L. Feldman is the daughter of a Zimbabwean Father and Hawaiian mother. She has fifteen plus years of experience as a creative producer and theater director with a history of presenting award-winning performances in the arts, entertainment industry, and live television.

In Brooklyn, NY, Candace honed her creative producing skills during her seven-year tenure at 651 ARTS and had the opportunity to explore her love of performing arts throughout the African Diaspora. Previously, she was the Managing Director at Kinetic Light, the project-based disability arts ensemble. Candace served as the first Black director of Programming at UA Presents in Tucson, Arizona. Before that, she held leadership roles at both CBS Corporation in Los Angeles, CA, and The Juilliard School in New York, NY.

As an advocate for equity and social justice, Feldman’s work includes, Co-Founding Next Generation National Arts Network, a nationwide movement to create stability, legacy and cultural equity in arts administration, former Co-Chair for Women of Color in the Arts’ (WOCA) Professional Development Committee and has served on panels for equity diversity and inclusive leadership. Candace participated in the 2014 American Express Leadership Academy, selected as one of the Changemakers to attend the 2019 American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit, recipient of the Joey-Lee Garman Award for Social Justice, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Fellowship, a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award for Excellence in Theatre.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies from Kansas State University and her MBA from the University of Arizona. Candace has served on numerous boards, committees, and funding panels including Theater Communications Group, South Arts Performing Arts Exchange, Arizona Arts Commission, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Past Conversation Topics Have Included:

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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