posted by CAA — May 03, 2017
Director of Programs Tiffany Dugan and I just returned from a week in Los Angeles to make plans for CAA’s Annual Conference in 2018.
Scheduled for February 21-24 at the LA Convention Center, the 106th CAA Annual Conference promises to be one of the strongest ever. When the online session submissions portal closed last week, we had more than 800 submissions – one of the largest numbers in recent years. The Annual Conference Committee is reviewing the submissions this month and will be making final selections.
Based on past conference attendance, we anticipate more than 4,000 conference attendees in Los Angeles. We expect to schedule more than 250 sessions and over 200 events, including meetings, receptions, and tours. To house everyone, we secured three principal hotels, all within walking distance of the Convention Center, guaranteeing 6,000 guest nights.
We visited with the staffs and toured the Westin Bonaventure, Millennium Biltmore LA, and JW Marriott. Hotel rooms for the conference will range from $139 to $269 a night, depending on which hotel you select and the type of room you want. The John Portman designed Westin Bonaventure will be our host hotel and has the cool elegance reflecting the beginning of LA’s downtown revival in the mid-1970s. The Biltmore, which opened in 1923, reflects the opulence and beaux-arts style from LA’s golden age as the film industry was in its burgeoning stage. The new, swank JW Marriot is closest to the Convention Center and at the door of all the urban excitement of L.A. Live. All three hotels are within walking distance of the Convention Center. And the Westin even has a good cup of coffee below $2 in the lobby!
Near the hotels, we found lots of great restaurants – everything from a hearty breakfast at the Original Pantry Café (which is open 24 hours) to the Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar, Bunker Hill Bar & Grill, Bottega Louie, Eat.Drink.Americano, and Water Grill. Food trucks are on virtually every corner (you have to try the sushi burrito). And there are plenty of artisanal coffee shops as well. In the coming months we will be working on setting up discounts at local restaurants and businesses for our attendees. Our hosts at the LA Convention Center gave us a great tour and we were able to see where the registration area, book and trade fair, and sessions rooms will be. We were able to secure more creature comforts like additional seating between sessions for impromptu conversations, charging stations for phone and laptops, and a quiet room to decompress from the hustle and bustle of the conference.
The Getty Museum, LACMA, and MOCA all opened their doors to us and we had great meetings. Each institution is looking forward to CAA 2018 and is making plans to ensure that your visit is meaningful. We met with leaders at UCLA and USC. In upcoming trips, we will be meeting with leaders at the Norton Simon Museum, The Huntington Library, Hammer Museum, Fisher Museum, and The Broad, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College, and many others.
We also toured other cultural organizations including REDCAT, The Brewery Artist Lofts, Japanese American Museum, Chinese American Museum, 18th Street Arts Center, A+D Architecture and Design Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum and many others. They are looking forward to welcoming CAA members to visit during the conference. We are planning on a day of programing for local LA area artists at the Annual Conference similar to what we did in NYC this year.
Colleges and universities interested in holding reunions and receptions at the Annual Conference will also be able to find great spaces for their events. While there are some beautiful rooms available at the CAA hotels, we saw great spaces at the Hilton Checkers (check out the roof top terrace), the LA Public Library (check out the rotunda and courtyards), the gallery district in Chinatown (check out the Charlie James Gallery and A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books), and Hauser & Wirth. There are plenty of galleries in Hollywood and the Arts District, which will be available as well. We will keep adding to this list to create alternative reception options. Since the weather will be mild, there will be plenty of opportunities to sneak away from the Conference Center and check out what LA has to offer.
If you have not been to LA in a while, you will be happy to discover that getting around is easier than ever. While your CAA membership can get you a discount on an Avis rental car, ride sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft are popular and often cost less than $5 per trip between key cultural locations. LA has also been making great progress on its public transportation system as Metro stations are popping up everywhere.
Many thanks to Annual Conference Chair Judith Rodenbeck and CAA Regional Reps John Tain and Neha Choksi, who, along with Anu Vikram and Niku Kashef, made lots of great recommendations. If you have any more ideas of places you would like to see, just let Tiffany or me know.
Finally, we’ve pulled together all the details for the Getty sponsored Pacific Standard Time and will be offering that information in the months to come. You may want to arrive earlier to make sure that you take in as much as you can. President’s Day weekend is just before the Annual Conference. Be sure to watch CAA News for more updates about the conference as we solidify our planning.