Majestic Collaborations has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to host three The Art of Mass Gatherings Professional Development Symposiums

(February 20, 2022) Majestic Collaborations  and Performing Arts Readiness will partner with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to host three Art of Mass Gatherings events within North Carolina this year. The events will be single-day Art of Mass Gatherings workforce development symposiums onsite at  arts and cultural festivals and events in Asheville, Raleigh, and the Outer Banks. These symposiums seek to align state art organizations, government agencies, artists and event producers around the four pillars of a successful event: safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement.


There has already been  a successful Art of Mass Gatherings at the North Carolina Folk Festival in Greensboro, NC in 2021. (Pictures attached below)The Art of Mass Gatherings symposiums aim to provide a space for community members to learn and grow. Attendees take turns as students and teachers so that everyone learns  about both the arts and emergency management industries. The organizers are happy to be supported by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, a vital government department that oversees the state’s art, cultural and heritage concerns as well as Amanda Loflin, a vital local partner. “So far, this national event has only had one event per state. We are excited that through this program, North Carolina will have opportunities for deepening connections across several of our  unique regions to make events more inclusive, accessible, sustainable, and safe” says Loflin about the partnership.


“Building capacity, increasing readiness and expanding use of our cultural organizations and networks is important to North Carolina’s future,” adds Catherine Swain, NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “These training resources will help expand community engagement across the state and we are excited to work with all the various partners helping to move us forward in this direction.”  The Secretary of her department, Sec. D. Reid Wilson, agrees,“Training like this helps the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources work more effectively with partners across the state around issues of climate change, public health, accessibility, conservation, and community benefit. This ‘whole community’ approach will help build North Carolina’s capacity in mitigating and preparing for the effects of climate change.”


The event will use festivals as classrooms. Co-Founder Matthew Kowal believes that “in addition to learning from the presenters, everyone will learn from each other and the festival environment will serve as the third teacher for us all. ” The festival environment makes learning more accessible and experiential for the participants. At the same time, it helps the events stay up to date with safety protocols and best practices in sustainable and universal design. Through this symposium, event producers and emergency responders alike will become more  fluent in each other’s craft.


Among those presenting will be artists, event professionals, sustainability and accessibility experts, and emergency management professionals from the local communities. Via this initiative, they will be able to give back to their region and encourage significant change. These experts include:

  • Amanda Loflin, Program Specialist
  • Atiba Berkley, president of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society
  • Jasmine Beard, Chief Strategy Consultant of Ajoy Consulting
  • Lyndon Rego, Local Event Expert
  • Charly Lowry, Musician and Cultural Worker


Working with locally-based hosting committees, Majestic Collaborations will customize each symposium to meet the specific needs of the areas in which they are held.  Presenters Learning outcomes and presentations are developed together to One of the primary objectives of this is that attendees who participate will achieve professional development, flexibility, and preparedness for the future no matter which of the state’s events they attend. Additionally, attendees will receive a certificate of completion that will go towards Majestic Collaboration’s larger Community Resilience curriculum


About the Program

The Art of Mass Gatherings is an initiative of Majestic Collaborations that uses festivals as classrooms to activate an arts-focused approach to resilience and emergency preparedness. “People who set up festivals are skilled at creating temporary cities with all of the necessary infrastructure such as water, waste, power, and structures,” explains Matthew Kowal, co-founder of Majestic Collaborations along with Molly North. “By sharing their knowledge and building skills in these areas, artists and event workers create more inclusive events, expand the safety and resilience of their entire communities, and become qualified for a wide range of job opportunities both in and outside of the arts.”


Local event producers are invited to attend a series of talks and workshops where local luminaries and special guest experts will present on how all gatherings can be elevated by adopting the four lenses of safety, accessibility, sustainability, and community engagement in their planning. Site tours and training will highlight some of the successful measures in place at North Carolina Festivals to increase broad community engagement and reduce the festival’s ecological footprint. 


Amanda Loflin 
Local coordinator


Matthew Kowal
Co-founder, Majestic Collaborations