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NAS has a long history of working to make the arts and culture sector stronger and more dynamic. We know that artists, cultural entrepreneurs and cultural organizations are integral to making vibrant communities. Strong leadership is a critical factor for success. We partner with funders, agencies, membership organizations and cultural institutions to create custom educational experiences that support and strengthen leaders in many forms. Our programs leverage proven curriculum, talented faculty and experiential learning support.
We develop market-leading education services for a variety of players in the arts and culture ecosystem: artists, grantmakers, cultural entrepreneurs, board members and executives. Though programs are tailored to help each type of participant achieve specific goals, our guiding programmatic pillars remain constant: bring together the right group of people, facilitate learning and create space for conversations that push at the boundaries of what is possible and challenge people to effect change.
Our first step in developing a program is to work with the community or organization to assess their needs and their networks. We then look at the skills required to address the goals specified.
We’ve developed the Leadership Path diagram (right) to frame our thinking on the needs of leaders over the progression of their careers. It shows the connection between career advancement and personal development. We know that it is difficult to find the right training to advance at the desired pace. We also know that as we move through our careers gaps in knowledge and skills can appear. Whether an artist, an entrepreneur or a professional working within an organization, our programs fill those gaps and help individuals and communities thrive.
The breadth and depth of our national and international networks gives ongoing context to our work. Our long history and deep knowledge of academic frameworks and our focus on application, create a unique, transformational experience for program participants and a rich return on investment for funders.
Our initial focus (1983-2002) on financial capacity building was realized through a national network of stabilization programs. The legacy of this work includes a now standard focus on balance sheet strategy and asset-building in arts and cultural organizations, the use of liquidity measurements as a metric for organizational health and the incorporation of capitalization initiatives as a priority in funder driven programs.
Our strategy expanded to help build overall leadership capacity beginning in 1996. Since then NAS has developed the premiere education programs for the arts and culture sector.