Every March, tens of thousands of people obsessed with technology, music, and film gather in Austin, Texas for 10 days of learning, hand-shaking, business-making, art-creating, and of course, debauchery. Some call it Nerd Spring Break. Others, South-by. But one thing is clear: The Interactive Conference at South by Southwest (SXSWi) has been overrun by artists and arts-enablers this year. More than 50 (admittedly, of 3,200+) panels submitted for possible inclusion in the 2012 SXSWi explicitly reference the arts. From hacking DDR for ballet dancers to augmented reality installations, meetups for techs who want to be artists and artists who want to be techs, to philosophical treatises on How to Steal Like an Artist, and Brands who want to be Artists, from museums to libraries to theatres, SXSW has officially gone artsy. And of course, there’s our very own panel of 2amt folks, and panel about 2amt-like communities. Did I mention I also have a panel proposal?

There was no “Arts” listing among the 17 categories of panels, but if there had been, we would have beaten out Convergence & Green Tech by volume, so here’s hoping next year’s conference planning committee takes the hint. Instead, these panels were woven throughout nearly every other category, mirroring what’s happening with the art world offline. In 2010, I bemoaned the lack of arts orgs attending SXSW. In 2011, we had a great 2amt meetup featuring Travis Bedard, Alli Houseworth, Marcus Romer, a bunch of people I’m forgetting, and #fishtacos. Hopefully even more of the 2amt community turns out for 2012.

Public voting accounts for 30% of the decision making process for which 500 panels will actually make up SXSWi 2012, and voting ends this Friday. Commenting on panels is also highly encouraged. Consider supporting your fellow artists by checking out a few of the following panel ideas:

Tech Influencing Arts

Art Influencing Tech


Making Art with Tech

Arts Convos that happen to be taking place during a Tech conference

Artists Meet Techs

And now for something a little different…The following panels didn’t actually mention art. But when reading the descriptions, their possible applicability to artists, makers, and managers was unmistakable:

  • September 1, 2011