ArtsMarket History and Philosophy

Since 2000, NCPC has partnered with the North Carolina Arts Council to co-produce the biennial ArtsMarket performing arts showcase conference. First hosted in Wilmington, ArtsMarket relocated to High Point and, in 2011, moved to our current home in downtown Durham.

Our organizations’ unique partnership has produced seven memorable, highly successful ArtsMarkets full of inspiring artistic performances, extraordinary opportunities for professional growth and just a few natural disasters along the way that have bound us together forever (ask about blizzards, ice storms, floods and talking pit bulls in the dining room). Over the years, ArtsMarket has earned a reputation for being welcoming, informative, scrappy, accessible, worthwhile, inspirational, a great value—and fun.

While ArtsMarket was initially designed as a primary resource for mid-sized to small presenters in and near NC, especially those who do not have resources to attend national and regional conferences, the event has grown to merit active participation by presenting organizations of all sizes from a continually growing region. Our capacity 150 exhibitors include artists and artist representatives from around the country and beyond, and we feature 150+ performing artists on site in up to 40 jury-selected showcase performances in front of hundreds of registered presenter delegates.  Yet the conference, through the help of the NC Arts Council, has remained remarkably affordable and accessible to all.

NCPC and the NC Arts Council partner in a belief that presenting is an act of collaboration—between artists, managers, presenters, sponsors, and audiences. We intentionally design ArtsMarket to foster a spirit of collaboration and collegiality, rather than competition.

We want all aspects of the conference to inspire conversation among delegates. To discourage a “buyer vs. seller” attitude, we print our nametags in one color. We do not schedule concurrent activities, and we travel all together from one conference function to the next. We believe that presenting as a field benefits greatly from diversity—among artists and among presenters. We can learn an incredible amount from each other even if our venues are different sizes and our artistic mission is served by a different genre. We want ArtsMarket to promote interaction between a wide scope of organizations and individuals.

Most of our showcases have a sampling of genres in each block rather than clustering the art forms. We position artistic quality as our prime determinant of content of the conference. We value our supportive sponsors greatly, and couldn’t produce the conference without them. We don’t “trade” showcases as part of sponsorships.

Registration fees are subsidized to allow individual artists, small venues and schools to participate alongside agencies and venues with larger budgets. We believe that we should never miss an opportunity to be inspired by the great art work and the great people that surround us in this business.