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Case Catalog

To improve executive education in the arts and culture sector, and to increase awareness of cultural organizations among management professionals, we generate teaching cases and multimedia materials that can be used in executive education programs. We use these materials in our seminars, and these materials are available for academic use. There is a modest fee to cover production costs.

Materials available from NAS

American Repertory Theatre (Mission & Strategy)

Interview with Robert Brustein | DVD, 7 minutes

This video was developed in association with Stanford Graduate School of Business as a companion for the Stanford/NAS case study American Repertory Theatre in 1993. It is an excellent multimedia supplement for discussions about the sustainability of this prominent nonprofit theater's cutting-edge positioning, at a time when its environment is more crowded and some prominent funding sources are at risk. In the interview, the founding artistic director takes the long view of ART's history; adds valuable insights about ART's mission, strategy, and competitive environment, including its close relationship with Harvard; and begins to speculate about succession. The video also serves as an excellent companion for the earlier case study American Repertory Theatre-1988 (Harvard Business Online).

Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Governance, Mission & Strategy, Managing Change)

Interview with David Moltke-Hansen | DVD, 9 minutes

This video was developed as a companion and update to the Harvard case Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Harvard Business Online). Set in 1994, the written case describes difficulties within the board of directors, and between the board and director Susan Stitt, in coming to a decision about HSP's strategic focus, given that changes would require de-accession of artifacts. This 2003 interview with Stitt's successor provides a retrospective evaluation of the decision, the effort to implement it, the lessons learned for governance of the institution, and helps explain why the initiative was not successful. The video complements discussions about the importance to governance decision-making of a clear and compelling mission and, trusting relationships.

Minnesota Public Radio (Entrepreneurship)

Interview with William Kling (CEO and President, MPR) | DVD, 10 minutes

This video was developed as a companion for the Stanford case study on Minnesota Public Radio, The Price of Commercial Success.  It is an excellent multimedia supplement to any discussion about the issues surrounding the formation and implication of earned income ventures by nonprofit organizations. The interview was conducted in 2004 by NAS staff.

In its struggling early days MPR leveraged the popularity of Prairie Home Companion to build a merchandising business, in the sort of entrepreneurial venture that many expert observers said would be the salvation of nonprofit organizations. The venture was very successful in providing substantial support for MPR operations. Indeed, it was a larger business than MPR, creating a variety of overlapping legal, governance, management, compensation, and public disclosure concerns. When the merchandising business was sold, the transaction resulted in a very large endowment for MPR as well as bonuses for the executives that managed both operations. Was this a success story in nonprofit entrepreneurship? Or did the MPR board and executives deserve the criticism they received in the press and legislature?

Oklahoma City Federated Campaign (Collective Action, Fundraising)

Oklahoma City Federated Campaign (A) | case study, 18 pages

For two years, the leaders of Oklahoma City’s six major arts organizations had been discussing the possibility of a joint fundraising campaign to meet their financial capitalization needs. The process had reached a critical stage.  Shortly before the end of 2002, the group agreed on the amounts of working capital and endowment funds each agency would receive from the proposed Federated Campaign for the Arts, and on an overall goal of $49 million.   Now they had an even bigger decision: whether to engage a consultant to study the feasibility of the Federated Campaign. The Federated Campaign would be the largest fundraising effort for the arts in the City’s history, and the first to focus on financial assets rather than building projects or operating funds.  The ambitious goal would be intended to energize the community on behalf of the arts, but there was a potential for the community to see it as unrealistic. Should Oklahoma City conduct a feasibility study for the campaign? Should the arts organizations act together to conduct a campaign of unprecedented size?

Oklahoma City Federated Campaign | DVD interview, 31 minutes

This video serves as a companion piece to the Oklahoma City Federated Campaign (A) case study. It consists of interviews conducted with all the principals detailed in the written case.

Taos Art Association (Governance, Mission & Strategy, Managing Change)

Taos Art Association (A) | case study, 11 pages

The President and Board of Directors were taking considerable heat from TAA members, some of whom were calling for their removal. The Board had closed the Taos Community Auditorium because it was unsafe, closed the Stables Gallery to save money, rented most of its headquarters space to commercial concerns to raise revenue, and had laid off all of the paid staff but one. In short, the Board had discontinued operation of the organization and it was unclear how to get it going again. Substantial sums of money were needed, but TAA didn't have relationships with the small number of Taos donors capable of making the large gifts that would be required. Should TAA close, or should effort be mounted to save it?

Taos Art Association (B) | case study, 4 pages

This supplement to the Taos Art Association (A) case explains the actual outcome, and the role of volunteer leadership in making it so. The case discusses mission, strategy, and organizational culture, as well as some of the mechanics of change.

Interview with Ted Dimond | DVD, 8 minutes

This video supplement to the Taos Art Association (A) case contains an interview with the volunteer president of the Taos Art Association.

Whitney Museum (Strategy)

Interview with Maxwell Anderson | DVD, 9 minutes

This video was developed in association with Stanford Graduate School of Business as a companion to the GSB case Whitney Museum (A). The video is an excellent complement for discussions about the strategy and the management of proposed facility expansions. Set in 1986, the written case describes director Thomas Armstrong's effort to gain approval for a controversial expansion designed by Michael Graves, against the vocal opposition of some of the Museum's friends. This video interview with Armstrong's successor (twice-removed) provides updated insights into important elements of the case, including the potential influence of corporate sponsorship, criticism of Armstrong and the Biennial, and the continued need for expansion.

Pricing and How to Order


Price per copy

Written Case Studies ("A" Cases)


Written Supplements ("B" Cases, Teaching Notes)


Video Companions (DVD format)


If you would like to use NAS teaching materials in your teaching, please contact us via email at or by phone at 571-482-5789.

NAS materials available elsewhere

NAS has also assisted the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford's Graduate School of Business in generating case studies and related materials. These case studies and materials are listed below, and may be ordered from Stanford or from Harvard Business School Publishing.

Circus Oz (Mission & Strategy, Organizational Culture, Funder Influence)

Circus Australia, colloquially known as Circus Oz, is an internationally known performance troupe governed by its members. It makes financial ends meet primarily through box office receipts and touring fees, augmented by government support through the Australia Council. Now it must decide whether to comply with the wishes of the Council, which has made a policy decision that its grantees must develop other sources of contributed income. In a country where a tradition of philanthropy is only beginning, this will mean hiring an experienced fundraiser to court corporate sponsorships and develop individual gifts. The problem is that a professional fundraiser's salary is likely to be much higher than any of the troupe's performers or other staff. Moreover, the group is concerned that this hire might threaten the very strong organizational culture that they believe is responsible in substantial part for Circus Oz's success.

Minnesota Public Radio: The Price of Commercial Success (Entrepreneurship)

Business was booming at Minnesota Public Radio, but success came at a price. In its early years, MPR leveraged the popularity of Prairie Home Companion to build a merchandising business. The venture provided substantial financial support for MPR, including a very large endowment and bonuses for executives. However, the venture generated public criticism, and created a variety of overlapping legal, governance, management, compensation, and public disclosure concerns. What are the challenges of for-profit ventures within a nonprofit organization? And how can a nonprofit best use earned income to advance its social mission?

Seattle Theater Industry (Strategy, Industry Structure)

Through the 1970's and 1980's, Seattle had a national reputation for the healthy way in which its many theaters complemented each other by defining unique niches for themselves. The local theater industry was highly differentiated, and it thrived. By the mid 1990's, however, many of the founding directors had departed, many of the leading theaters had broadened their artistic programming to the extent that they overlapped considerably, and many theaters were struggling for audiences and financial support. Were the challenges in the Seattle theater related to their loss of differentiation?


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