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National Arts Strategies

Sustaining top-level organizational performance requires ongoing questioning, learning, and improvement. Different challenges – and different types of people and organizations – require different tools to support this continuous improvement. NAS develops and shares stand-alone and add-on leadership tools as complements to our in-person and community programs. Through publications, teaching case studies, videos and other management tools, we look to fill in critical gaps in the support available for cultural institutions. Each of these tools and services create more ways for NAS to support and interact with arts and culture professionals across the country and around the world.


The Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy Journey Continues

Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy Participants on the University of Pennsylvania campus during the March 2015 convening

Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy Participants on the University of Pennsylvania campus during the March 2015 convening

The next phase of the journey for participants in our Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy has started! Participants have finished the core courses in the program: Arts & Culture Strategy and Arts & Culture Finance. Last week, they ventured on their custom paths, taking part in three electives over the next few months.

Electives in the program include Strategic Marketing, Fundraising, Social Media Strategies, Impact Management, Nonprofit Governance in Practice and Community & Collaboration. The elective courses are taught by leading professors and practitioners in the field, such as urban planning and comprehensive community revitalization expert Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson and Dr. Sherrie A. Madia, Executive Director of Communications, External Affairs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, among others. They feature case studies from cultural institutions such as NOCCA and the 11th Street Bridge Park and grapple with the relevant issues of organizations such as The Denver Zoo.

Following the electives, participants will convene for a final time at the University of Pennsylvania in August. While in Philadelphia, participants will put the skills they’ve gained over the year to the test, hone their leadership skills and share their final program portfolios with their colleagues.

Participants in the program are leaders in arts and culture organizations all over the world. Learn more about members of the cohort »

EP Journey

Interested in the Executive Program in Art & Culture Strategy? Learn more » 

Follow their journey on Twitter at #ExecProgramArts »

The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture at the University of Michigan

May began with a bang! We spent the first week of the month surrounded by the incredible leaders in The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Participants worked with faculty in both the Ross School of Business and the Taubman College of Architecture of Urban Planning, diving into collaboration, building negotiation skills, internal and external leadership and creating an environment for innovation.

The 48 leaders in this cohort began their journey with us last fall when we gathered at Vanderbilt University to study the continuous improvement cycle of an organization. At the University of Michigan, we turned our focus to leading change in organizations and communities.

Professor Philip D’Aneri led a community mapping exercise and brought participants to Detroit where we visited the Riverwalk Conservancy and Eastern Market to learn from these live-case studies of community revitalization partnerships.

Participants also took a lunch break at a longtime NAS favorite, Zingerman’s Deli where co-founder Ari Weinzwig led a discussion on their unique business mindset, culture and his approach to leadership.

Participants Anne Katz, Tanner Methvin, Gretchen Dietrich and Michael Bobbit with NAS Director Sunny Widmann at Zingerman's

Participants Anne Katz, Tanner Methvin,
Gretchen Dietrich and Michael Bobbit
with NAS Director Sunny Widmann at Zingerman’s

Faculty director and NAS partner Paula Caproni was integral in creating such a fantastic curriculum for our participants and leading her team at the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business. Caproni teaches leadership and high performing teams at the University of Michigan MBA Executive Programs. She is also the Director of the Day MBA Program and is the Professional Development Coach for the Executive MBA Program. She led our cohort through an exercise to understand their social styles and how this impacts the way they lead their organizations and teams as well as how others may see them as a leader. Later in the week, Caproni addressed leading personal change and creating high performing teams. Participants also worked with University of Michigan – Ross School of Business Faculty Horst Abraham and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks.

The cohort will gather for the final time this November in Sundance, Utah where they will build on the ideas they have explored throughout the program and generate ideas for moving forward against the biggest challenges they are facing. We can’t wait to have this fantastic group of innovative leaders together again!


Learn more about Paula Caproni and high performing teams » 

Learn more about Horst Abraham and leading change »

Learn More about Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks and design thinking »

Follow the cohort’s journey on Twitter at #NAScep »

Learn more about The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture »


NAS has a new look

National Arts Strategies has updated our logo and website design. We think these cosmetic changes better reflect the organization NAS has become over the last few years. 

PrintLogo design is a lot like wine tasting. Experts will tell you that one design has a hint of this and a soupçon of that. We think the new logo design is a more creative, forward-leaning look. It reflects our approach, which is about bringing together ideas from all over to help and support your work.

The logo is just the beginning of this effort. Over the next few months we will be building out new features and content for the site that will allow you to better connect with the content and colleagues that you need to find new solutions and to push your own ideas forward.

We welcome your feedback on the design or your thoughts on what you would like to see on the new site.

Creative Community Success on RocketHub

The Creative Community Fellows have raised over $30,000 for their projects on RocketHub. Pride is an understatement of how we feel making this announcement.

In the final hours of his campaign, Creative Community Fellow, Philip Graulty shared with the cohort of Fellows, “Throughout this entire crowdfunding process, when I felt guilty for asking for help and money, I would think back to what Scott Shigeoka said during our interview for Arts Entrepreneurs:

“…the universe wants to support people that have dreams, that are fulfilling their missions and are alive… especially when they are doing things that serve community.”

It’s been the voice that’s kept me sane, the little angel on my shoulder that’s kept me going. So if you forget everything else, remember to let people in on your dreams! And know that we’re all here to help!”

As Kate Jopson reflects on her campaign, she notes, “It was the surprising generosity of so many people that really made this happen! I’ve never raised money like this before. My heart feels very full right now.”

Several of the campaigns are still live on RocketHub. View all the Creative Community Fellows campaigns »



Want to be involved in the Creative Community Fellows program? Have an idea to use arts and culture to better a community? Applications are now being accepted through Sunday, April 26. Apply Now »

Samuel Hoi Joins National Arts Strategies’ Board of Directors

Samuel HoiIt is with pleasure that we announce the appointment of Samuel Hoi, President of the Maryland Institute College of Art, to our Board of Directors.

“Samuel’s commitment to social impact and collaboration make him a perfect match for our work. He is deeply committed to fostering the careers of young artists and their place in building vibrant communities. We are honored that Samuel is joining the Board,” stated National Arts Strategies President and CEO, Gail Crider.

Mr. Hoi is an advocate for art and design education and creative professionals in social, economic, and cultural advancement. Formerly, he was president of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he launched the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region and California. As dean of the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C., Mr. Hoi created a visual arts program serving inner-city youth that received a National Multicultural Institute Award and a Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.

Mr. Hoi has served on many boards, including those of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Arena Stage. He serves on and chaired the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and United States Artists (USA). He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).

Born and raised in Hong Kong, he received his BA from Columbia College in New York City and earned his JD degree from Columbia Law School. He subsequently obtained an AAS degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design. Mr. Hoi holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Otis College of Art and Design and was decorated in 2006 by the French government as an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Ken Fischer, National Arts Strategies’ board chair shared his thoughts on the appointment, “Samuel’s years of leadership experience in arts education amplify why he makes a great addition to the Board. We are delighted to welcome his leadership and expertise and look forward to working alongside him.”

“The work National Arts Strategies is doing and the direction they are headed is inspiring. I am thrilled to be a part of this journey,” stated Mr. Hoi.

Creative Community Fellows Applications Now Open!

The CCF Journey

Have a great idea to use arts and culture to better a community? Know someone who does? Well, you are in luck because applications are now open for the Creative Community Fellows program! We are looking for artists, activists, community organizers, administrators and entrepreneurs from around the world who are using arts and culture to drive physical and social transformation in their communities.

With the support of The Kresge Foundation and now in its second year, this program grew out of our exploration of the role of art in civil society and the importance of community in the sustainability of the cultural sector. Presented in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice and The Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Creative Community Fellows program is a nine-month intensive incubator that gives Fellows the tools, training and access to a community of support as they design and drive their projects forward. We have seen that this program establishes a network, far surpassing the reach of the 50 Fellows and encourages connections and collaboration with communities near and far.

The program incorporates a residential track where 22 Fellows jump-start the program through one week of living and learning together and an online track that gives Fellows the flexibility to connect and work when and where it works for them. However, we are creating a single, unique community of 50 cultural entrepreneurs and leaders. Fellows will take monthly online courses together, share updates on their projects with each other and the field and have the rare chance to engage face-to-face with funders and people already engaging in this work. Tuition for the program, including lodging and meals is completely underwritten! Fellows are only responsible for their transportation to in-person events.

We will also share tools and conversations online for open access. We are opening this up to help as many people in as many locations as possible to create, strengthen and advance projects that improve communities. We have seen how the collective wisdom of Fellows, mentors, faculty and communities fuels each project and expands the network. It will only continue to grow.

Please visit our website to learn more about the program and get involved. Apply to become a Fellow or share this information with others!


Learn more about Creative Community Fellows »

Apply by April 26 »



Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy Participants are in Philadelphia

Hailing from around the world, the participants in the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy, gather in-person for the first time on the University of Pennsylvania campus, today! The twenty-nine participants of the inaugural class will spend the next four days working together to explore their authentic leadership style, tackle their biggest questions about leadership and management and use human-centered design to frame problems creatively and effectively.

The Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy is a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Participants have been working together online since January and just finished their first online course in the program. The level of engagement and discourse was incredible. We are excited to now gather everyone in the same room to help them connect around a curriculum that will allow for the interrogation of building programs and designing experiences.

Get ready for an exciting and engaging conversation this week and follow along on Twitter using #ExecProgramArts.



The Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy is a partnership between NAS and University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2).

To learn more about the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy, contact Pearl Bickersteth »

Creative Community Fellows Launch Campaigns on RocketHub

RocketHub Creative Community Fellow CampaignsThe Creative Community Fellows have made it to the final stage of the program. They’ve refined their ideas and presented their perfect pitch. They’ve received feedback from peers in the program, the NAS team and grantmakers and leaders in the area of creative placemaking. Today, we launch their crowd-funding campaigns on RocketHub.

You’ve followed their journey through the Creative Community Blog and you know that Fellows represent a diverse range of projects from using puppetry to engage residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, taking old t-shirts and transforming them into hand woven works of art in order to increase literacy and community to an art and food production co-op in the heart of rural Missouri that crosses generational and cultural boundaries.

We are so proud of how far the Fellows have come throughout this journey and encourage you to check out how they are working to effect change in their communities, learn more about what’s next on their journey and consider helping them get there.


View all the Creative Community Fellows campaigns on RocketHub »


Want to be a part of the Creative Community Fellows program? Applications for 2015 open on March 16.
Sign up to receive program updates »


Kaywin Feldman Joins National Arts Strategies’ Board of Directors


We are pleased to announce Kaywin Feldman as the newest member of National Arts Strategies’ Board of Directors. Kaywin Feldman has been the Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) since 2008. Kaywin oversees the museum’s staff of 250, its fine-art collection of some 87,000 objects, its 473,000-square-foot facility, and an annual operating budget of $30 million. Prior to the MIA, Kaywin served as director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for 9 years. She is the current board chair of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).

Kaywin received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Memphis College of Art in 2008, and received an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, an MA from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London and a BA (summa cum laude) in classical archaeology from the University of Michigan. Kaywin’s specialties are Dutch and Flemish art and Greek and Roman archaeology. Kaywin was also a member of National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program.

“Kaywin is a thoughtful and effective leader in so many ways. She is committed to her organization, her community and the field. We are so pleased that she is joining the National Arts Strategies Board and welcome her broad vision and deep expertise,” shares National Arts Strategies President and CEO Gail Crider.

Ken Fischer, National Arts Strategies Board Chair notes, “Kaywin is an exceptional addition to the National Arts Strategies Board. Her knowledge, experience and leadership capabilities contributed greatly to the inaugural class of our Chief Executive Program and we are delighted to have the benefit of her many talents as we take on new and exciting challenges.”

Creative Community Fellows Share Their Projects with Leaders in the Field

Fellow, Andrew Shea, pitches his project to Jamie Bennett, Maria Rosario Jackson and colleagues in the Creative Community Fellows program.

Fellow, Andrew Shea, pitches his project to Jamie Bennett, Maria Rosario Jackson and colleagues in the Creative Community Fellows program.

We introduced the participants in the Creative Community Fellows program in June. Over the past seven months Fellows have designed, tested and in some cases entirely reshaped their projects. They’ve worked with National Arts Strategies, their mentors and their communities to draft and refine their project pitches. As they near the final months of the program, now is the time to hear what grantmakers and leaders in the field have to say. Throughout the month of January, Fellows have been participating in review sessions, sharing their project ideas with leading national funders and creative placemaking practitioners. Last week, several of our Fellows gathered in Palo Alto, CA to share their ideas with participating panelists at the Creative Community Launchpad. Other Fellows are participating virtually, connecting one-on-one for feedback through video conference.

Fellow Josh Rice reflects on his pitch experience, “Pitching my project at the Creative Community Launchpad in Palo Alto was such an invaluable exercise in embracing fear, adaptation and improvisation. I got lucky. After a discussion about our Social Styles, I volunteered (amiably) to “mini-pitch” my program in 2-3 minutes to my social styles group, the Amiables, and was then thrust into immediately pitching it again to the Driver style group. The exercise not only allowed me to practice a more focused, concise pitch on-the-fly, but I was also able to incorporate feedback directly from this “practice pitch” into my real pitch in front of the panel later in the day. I’m so glad I dared greatly, put myself out there, and volunteered to do this exercise with such a generous and thoughtful community of Fellows, as it left me at the end of the day feeling welcomed, accomplished, and more successful in my pitch.”

Participating reviewers include Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America, Ron Ragin, Program Officer at The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Tony Tolentino, Program Director at The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Karen Gahl-Mills, Executive Director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and James Kass, Founder & Executive Director of Youth Speaks, among many others. With a focus on feedback and discussion, these sessions are a rare opportunity for Fellows to engage in one-on-one conversations with funders, cultivate relationships and build support.

This is an exciting time for Creative Community Fellows and we want you to be involved! Check out the Creative Community Blog for Fellow updates and reactions to their review sessions or follow the Fellows’ journey on Twitter using #NASCCF or #Launchpad.