Mass Cultural Council’s Michael Bobbitt to Speak at Arts Foundation’s Creative Exchange Conference

August 22, 2023 (Cape Cod, MA) – Three years after the pandemic nearly upended the arts sector, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) is bringing back its Creative Exchange Conference to support artists and individuals working for arts and cultural nonprofits to help them build resiliency, establish new connections, and strengthen their skills.

The one-day conference will take place on Wednesday, October 4, 9 am to 6 pm, at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. Tickets for the event, which are $50 for Creative Exchange members and $80 for non-members, are available by clicking this link. 

“We are excited to finally bring back the Creative Exchange Conference. Our planning committee, which is made up of arts leaders and artists, curated this year’s conference with the goal of attendees leaving with actionable steps they can use to grow artistically, personally, and professionally,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “With the passion and expertise our speakers have, we’re hopeful everyone will be inspired to tap into their creativity to not only advance their individual goals but enhance the cultural vibrancy of our community.”

Wake stressed that the conference is not only for artists and individuals working in the creative sector, but professionals in other industries – healthcare, education, government, real estate, hospitality, retail, science, engineering, and more – who want to explore ways they can partner with the arts and artists to enrich their work.

“The Cotuit Center for the Arts is thrilled to host this year’s conference,” said David Kuehn, executive director for the nonprofit. He’ll also be speaking on a panel focused on strategic planning which, he said, is “an ongoing process, especially in this post-Covid environment. I look forward to learning as much as I share.”

Artist Ben Cunningham will deliver the afternoon keynote speech on storytelling.

The day will kick off with a Fireside Chat with Wake speaking with Mass Cultural Council (MCC) Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt. In February 2021, Bobbitt was tapped to helm the state agency which advances the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector by celebrating traditions and talents, championing its collective needs, and equitably investing public resources into the arts.

The talk will be followed by a performance by the Wampanoag Nation Singers & Dancers before attendees can enjoy a series of panel discussions tied to the core themes of engaging equity, inspiring activation, embracing reinvention, celebrating optimism, and building skills. Topics to be covered include public art; strategic planning; how artists help create equitable and empathetic communities; and how artists can use rejection to inform and improve their craft.

Confirmed panelists are Cambridge Arts Director of Public Art Lillian Hsu; author, public speaker and psychotherapist Rick Miller; Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) CEO Christine McCarthy; Cape Cod Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kate Pazakis; Strategy Matters Director Brittney Nichols; Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) Executive Director Sharon Polli; AFCC Artist of the Year and the Center for Coastal Studies Scientist/Artist-In-Residence Mark Adams; Beyond Walls Founder and CEO Al Wilson; Abilities Dance Boston Executive Director Ellice Patterson; and found-object fiber sculptor and ocean activist Rebecca McGee Tuck, who creates out of her studio at Mill Contemporary Art Studios in Framingham.

Artist Ben Cunningham, a two-time winner of The Big Mouth Off with Massmouth, will deliver the afternoon keynote, which will be focused on storytelling. Cunningham has performed at the Philly Book and Science Fair, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, and The Art of Storytelling at Tufts University.

Pazakis, who not only leads the Cape Cod Theatre Company, but is an actor, writer, and singer, will sit on a panel that will dive into a topic she is all too familiar with as a creative – rejection. “Being an artist is learning to deal with rejection, and how to go from point A to point B if you didn’t get a job,” she said. “How do you deal with rejection and empower yourself versus letting it run you down? I’m excited to have this conversation and to see what other people have to say about it.”

The Creative Exchange Conference is made possible through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding through the state of Massachusetts as well as support from the Cape Cod Foundation, William Raveis Real Estate, Cape Cod 5, South Shore Playhouse Associates, the Kelley Foundation, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, BankFive, and the Woods Hole Foundation.

Businesses interested in sponsoring this year’s conference should contact AFCC Director of Development Amy Tuttle at or 508-362-0066, ext. 112.

 About the AFCC

Founded in 1987, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s (AFCC) mission is to support and strengthen a vibrant arts and cultural sector for everyone in the region. It fulfills its mission by funding grants; by increasing access to arts and culture in the region for all on Cape Cod; by advocating for more awareness on the impact the Cape’s creative economy has on our region and beyond; and by building a strong arts community network through membership as well as professional development opportunities that fall under its Creative Exchange program.