Arlene is an exciting speaker who connects deeply with the hearts and minds of her audiences. For more than three decades, she’s been an activist of profound insight and large vision, with a talent for inspiring, thought-provoking speech. With deep experience in group dynamics, strategic planning, and cultural development, Arlene has inspired people to open their eyes to new ways of seeing and thinking about the world around us.
Arlene is known for giving 200 percent, working closely with sponsors to be sure that her presentations speak to their specific needs and audiences, and making herself available for ancillary activities that help to advance the sponsoring organization’s mission. At universities, when she’s not at the lectern, she’s helping groups of students and faculty to go more deeply into the issues, focusing on what’s most relevant and important for the people involved. She’s always glad to provide any host group with concrete advice about how to make the most of her presentation following her visit.
Click here to watch Arlene’s provocative keynote, “Why America Needs Artists (It’s Not What You Think).”
Click here to read talks and speeches.
Click here to view sample workshop and talk topics.
Good keynotes are often stirring, informative, passionate, smart. Arlene Goldbard’s keynote at our APASO conference was all that and more. She spoke not just to our hearts and minds. She also spoke, to borrow a phrase from Yeats, to our “deep heart’s core.” She came to speak to all of us—who serve the arts community, who advocate for arts and culture daily—just as funding for the arts was being slashed on city, state, and national levels. Everywhere our work was being marginalized. And in that moment, she spoke to the place inside our deeper selves, that place where we make commitment, where our love for our work is kindled. She not only spoke to that place, she fed that place and made us feel grateful, once more, that we do what we do. Like cool, fresh water when you’re dying of thirst. Many wept in gratitude.—Latifah Taormina, Executive Director, Austin Creative Alliance
Arlene Goldbard is a true leader. Arlene provided the provocative keynote for At the Crossroads: Community Arts & Development Convening in St. Louis. “Key” is the significant word. She clearly, passionately and succinctly framed the context for the discussions over the remaining sessions of the conference and beyond. Her presentation, “Why Culture is The Secret to Survival (and Why We Keep Missing The Point),” provided an authentic key for the Convening’s participants to unlock how art, culture and creativity are intrinsic to community. In addition, Arlene presented a dynamic workshop and fully participated in the entire three days of the conference. I cannot imagine At the Crossroads without Arlene’s generous presence and intelligent voice.—Roseann Weiss, Director of Community Art Programs & Public Art Initiatives,
St. Louis Regional Arts Commission
Arlene Goldbard feels, thinks, speaks and listens with wonderful depth, breadth, originality, courage and generosity. Her recent presentation to a diverse gathering of over 250 people, hosted by our recently-established International Centre of Art for Social Change in Vancouver, Canada, was rich and provocative, knitting together ideas, stories and challenges for everyone in the room. This audience leaned into her words; the positive impact of her speech still resonates.
Arlene was tireless over the three days she spent with us. She was always present, her knowledge, creativity and humour in service to and in dialogue with artists, academics, students, community activists and others from many backgrounds.
I am delighted to thank her, once again, for the gifts she has brought to this community.— Judith Marcuse, Founder,
International Centre for Art for Social Change,
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Your talk cracked open so many doors for so many people. Everybody at the event walked out with this awesome little seed, this little secret power we have in our pockets inspired by the way you weave all these stories together. I am so grateful our students, myself, and others are able to be awakened to your insight. Thank you so hugely!— Erika Shuch, Co-Director,
Experimental Performance Institute,
New College of California
Arlene was one of the most incisive, passionate, and provocative guests in our Distinguished Speaker series. Certainly, she was the most generous and tireless – she spoke with our students informally all day along, addressing their questions with deep consideration. She left us all inspired and poised to act.— Ann Daly, Associate Professor
Performance as Public Practice, Theatre & Dance Program
University of Texas, Austin