image1   image2   image3

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 Diploma for Arts & Culture Strategy

NAS has worked with gifted leaders from a variety of arts and culture organizations for many years. We often hear that new and up-and-coming leaders need better training options. There are many good programs at good universities that train arts and culture professionals. The problem, however, is access. The cost of these and other higher-education programs simply is too high. It’s a system that quite frankly isn’t working. National Arts Strategies is launching a program that will revolutionize arts and culture training and position our field for the future – The Executive Diploma for Arts and Culture Strategy.

Collaborating with the University of Pennsylvania, NAS has developed a nine-month online and in-person program for cultural leadership that costs $4,950 – a fraction of the cost for comparable offerings. The Executive Diploma for Arts and Culture Strategy promises what no other program can – comprehensive training from a world-class university grounded in real-world experience at an affordable price.

We will remove the traditional barriers that have kept many talented individuals from seeking training. No longer will young leaders need to take on staggering amounts of debt, nor will mid-career professionals have to take a two-year hiatus and possibly relocate to get a “legitimizing” degree. No longer will high-quality education be out of reach to the majority of our field.

The program consists of two in-person and six online courses that will give up-and-coming leaders the foundational knowledge and business frameworks to take the next step in their careers. They will walk away better equipped to think more strategically, to position an organization, to create maximum value around mission, to manage people and money and to work well with a board of directors. It will feature faculty from the University of Pennsylvania, the NAS team and leaders working in the field. We will begin accepting applications to the program this September.

The first course, Arts & Culture Strategy will be available on Coursera and open to anyone at no charge. The first convening will be at the University of Pennsylvania in March 2015.

Learn more about The Executive Diploma for Arts and Culture Strategy » 


NAS Names Gail Crider CEO Designate


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing on behalf of the entire National Arts Strategies board to share exciting news with you. At the start of 2015, NAS will have a new leader! The board has chosen Gail Crider to become our next President and CEO. She has been a Vice President with us for over a decade and has been leading NAS with Russell Willis Taylor for the past five years. Gail will become President and CEO on January 1, 2015, and has been named CEO Designate. Russell will stay on as President until the end of 2014.

Gail’s leadership, knowledge of the field and of organizational strategy make her a natural successor. In her tenure at NAS she was instrumental in the transition from the National Arts Stabilization Fund to National Arts Strategies and in the development of the range of services we offer today. She has the full confidence and support of the board. The transition has been carefully planned, and we are very excited about the future of NAS under her leadership.

Russell is not retiring. She is taking what she describes as a "gap year," spending 2015 thinking and researching on the issue of governance in our field. The board couldn’t be more pleased with her 14 years as our President and CEO. She has not only been a transformative leader for NAS but has also had an enormous impact on the cultural sector internationally. One of Russell’s greatest legacies has been her role in developing a remarkably talented team of staff colleagues—most especially Gail.

In a recent note, Russell stated: "Leading NAS has been the most rewarding work I have ever done. Meeting the thousands of extraordinary leaders who take part in our programs and working with an unequalled board and staff have made the past 14 years fly by, and the privilege of learning from such gifted faculty has been more gratifying than I can say. I will be leaving knowing that the next chapter of NAS will be its best yet."

Gail is eagerly anticipating the challenge. She noted: "All my past experience with shaping our programs and seeing their impact on leaders has taught me that NAS’ value to the field is unparalleled, and I am deeply honored to lead this organization. We will expand and deepen the programs that help our field move forward, introducing new programs as needs change."

It is an exciting new chapter at NAS. In fact, look for an announcement soon about a new program that we believe is a true game changer. My board colleagues and I look forward to working with Gail and the entire NAS team in the days ahead. 


Kenneth C. Fischer
Chair, Board of Directors
National Arts Strategies
2000 Duke Street, Suite 115
Alexandria, VA 22314


Application Deadline for The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture is Approaching

Applications for The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture are due July 17! For our third class of executives in The Chief Executive Program, we seek curious and collaborative CEOs who are change agents working at the heart of their communities. Join this incredible community of chief executives from around the world to gain ideas, tools and connections to collectively strengthen the cultural sector, apply today.

This one year program will serve an international group of 50 outstanding CEOs whose organizations work closely with communities on creative placemaking initiatives. Participants will come together at Vanderbilt University, University of Michigan Ross School of Business and Sundance Resort to work with leading professors, NAS and each other to get a deeper understanding of the strategic challenges they face, a firm grasp of change leadership and the ability to translate their visions for the future into reality.

Have questions about the program or application process? Ask National Arts Strategies’ Director, Sunny Widmann this Friday from 3-4 pm ET via

All participants in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture receive a fellowship covering the full cost of tuition. Participants are responsible for their own travel costs to in-person events.

Learn more about The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture >>

Join the community and apply by July 17 >>

Applications for The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture are now being accepted!

We are excited to announce that we are continuing The Chief Executive Program with a new class focused on leaders of organizations where community is at the heart of the mission. We are now accepting applications for The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture. If you are a curious and collaborative executive using culture to address issues in your community, apply today.

The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture has evolved from our experience with the first two classes and from our discussion of the role of arts and culture with leaders from around the world. We’ve seen that connecting and serving the community is crucial to cultural organizations. We want to connect and support leaders whose organizations are working with communities to use culture to respond to local needs. Through this program, 50 exceptional chief executives will engage individually and among a network of peers to broaden their thinking and tackle the critical challenges facing the field. Participants will leave the program with the ideas and tools to take action and effect change in not only their organizations, but across the field.


The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture is built around two learning cycles that will help leaders explore, reflect, apply and share concepts that address the two biggest challenges for cultural institutions – making strategic choices that are on-mission and leading change. During the program, participants will come together for three in-person events followed by exercises and tools designed to help leaders move forward on their own unique objectives and goals. The first convening will be this fall. Learn more about the Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture experience »


We seek exceptional chief executives who exhibit curiosity, openness, eagerness to invest in a learning community and willingness to devote the necessary time to program activities and relationships. We look for leaders interested in exploring and implementing innovative solutions rather than maintaining the status quo. Through a competitive selection process, we will identify 50 chief executives from a wide range of art and cultural forms, locations and perspectives to participate in this 1-year program.

All participants of The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture will receive a fellowship covering the full cost of tuition. Participants will be responsible only for their travel costs to in-person events. Learn more about our selection process


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

Apply to participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture by July 17 »

Welcome to the Creative Community Fellows!

We are excited to announce the 50 Creative Community Fellows! This incredible community of cultural entrepreneurs will work with NAS and each other over the next nine months to build projects that will lead to stronger, healthier communities. We received over 200 applications from 38 states and 14 different countries. We were overwhelmed by the vision and passion of the applicants. We found them all to be curious, open and hungry for a community of collaborators.

Each Fellow is coming to the program with an idea for responding to a problem in their community – from a mobile museum of American artifacts that will collect, record and preserve stories to creative writing as a means of igniting neighborhood change and empowering residents. We will provide Fellows with tools, training and mentors to help them push their projects forward. The Fellows will work together to refine their projects and perfect their pitches. They will also have the rare opportunity to receive feedback from leading funders.

We often hear leaders talk about the challenge of making the case for arts and culture. We feel that if we connect with our communities in the ways that these Fellows are, then few people would question our value. We’ve seen that the leaders who thrive are the ones who understand and connect with their communities. By giving these leaders training, support and a voice, we hope to create ripples that will spur connection throughout the field and help ensure sustainability.

This is not solely a program for the 50 Fellows. We want to build and support a community of cultural entrepreneurs. We encourage you to visit the Creative Community Fellows site and share it with your colleagues. In addition to project updates from the Fellows, we will post all of the content and tools from the program. We hope you will join this incredible group of Fellows.


Kate Balug Nicolle Bennett Corina Bucea Scott Burkholder
Casey Caldwell Justina Crawford-Williams Sadiqua Iman Crutcher Thupten Dakpa
Tanya Daud Dawn DiPrince Ali Fadlallah Hannah Fox
Mina Girgis Angela Goerner Philip Graulty Sara Greer
Alma Guzman Abdul Karim Hakib Rachel Hamilton Lisa Harper Chang
Danny Harris Kate Jopson Laurelin Kruse Al Letson
Valerie Liais Alex Macharia Hayk Makhmuryan Sifiso Maposa
Erik Moe Monica Montgomery Katy Moonan Jessica Moore
Kristina Newman-Scott Christina Oi Ying Nip Elise Pepple Damaris Pereda
Steve Prince Julie Rada Rachel Reynolds Luster Josh Rice
Madeline Sayet Andrew Shea Scott Shigeoka Amanda Thompson
Chris Webb Emilia White Tamara Williams Heidi Wright
Hunter Wright Heather Zinger

Learn more about the Creative Community Fellows program »

Meet the Fellows »

Join the Creative Community. Sign up to receive updates »


This program is the result of the incredible collaboration and support of The Kresge Foundation, University of Pennsylvania, ArtPlace America and RocketHub.

Extending Your Reach Application Deadline is Approaching

There are only a few weeks left to apply for the Extending Your Reach seminar in Chicago. Join colleagues from around the country to share ideas, explore new ways to further your mission and hone your ability to recognize when and how alliances can help you do more – get your team together today!

Extending Your Reach focuses on alliances and partnerships, and how engaging in these relationships can help drive your organizational strategy and build a stronger community. After careful evaluation of your current relationships and goals for the future, you will leave this seminar prepared to build on your portfolio of partners and engage in alliances that will help you achieve your vision.

Extending Your Reach takes place July 24-25 in Chicago. This seminar is offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, meaning you can attend at the price that’s right for you.

Learn more about the Seminar here.
Applications are due Friday, June 6!

Welcome First Creative Community Fellows, Two Days Left to Apply

We are excited to announce our first two Creative Community Fellows, admitted early to give you all a sense of the diversity and project range in this cohort. With only 48 hours left to apply to be a Creative Community Fellow, we wanted to share the exciting work of Rachel Reynolds Luster and Madeline Sayet to encourage all of you working at the intersection of culture and community to apply by May 7.

Rachel Reynolds Luster

Rachel Reynolds Luster is a folklorist, librarian, artist, and organizer working to promote community renewal and sufficiency in the Missouri Ozarks. As the founder of the Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op, Rachel has created a space for members of her community to share their resources, handmade goods and learn from each other. In addition to functioning like a traditional food Co-Op, the Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op also hosts guest speakers, classes and skill sharing workshops as well as cultural events. Furthermore, the Co-Op serves as a community bulletin and convening center, truly making it a place that nurtures the community and brings people from a variety of backgrounds together to contribute to the self-sustainability of Oregon County, Missouri.  Learn more about Rachel and her project here. As a Creative Community Fellow, Rachel wants to learn from her counterparts working at the intersection of culture and community development and specifically receive suggestions for sustainable funding strategies to grow and scale the Co-Op.


Madeline Sayet

Resident Artistic Director at Amerinda Inc., Madeline Sayet, is creating the first Native Shakespeare Ensemble, which will give Native artists a chance to find their voice by rediscovering classic text. Madeline seeks to challenge the representation of Native peoples in American theatre, empower Native theatre artists and expose audiences to Native theatre. Learn more about Madeline and her project here. Through participation in the Creative Community Fellows program, Madeline seeks to be submersed with like-minded individuals interested in changing the landscape of art within communities across the world. She wants to be challenged, provoked and empowered in her ideas as well as reciprocate this and invoke collaboration among other participating Fellows.

Both Rachel and Madeline are using culture to respond to local needs and contribute to the development of their communities. We could not be happier to have them on board! If you are working at the intersection of arts and culture, social change and entrepreneurship, we encourage you to go to our website, learn more and get involved.  Creative Community Fellow applications are due by May 7.

Extend Your Reach

Applications are now available for the July 24-25 presentation of Extending Your Reach in Chicago.

This two-day seminar offers a deep dive into partnerships and alliances, exploring the different types of relationships that can help you do more and achieve greater impact. After careful evaluation of your current relationships, your goals for the future and critical tactics for establishing alliances, you will leave this seminar prepared to lead a portfolio of strategic partners and engage in alliances that will help you achieve your vision.

Your team will come together in advance of the seminar to discuss your current partnership activities and lay the groundwork for your time at the seminar.  At Extending Your Reach, you’ll experience a mix of faculty presentations, class discussions and team activities – including analyzing your network map and evaluating in detail one of your organization’s critical alliances – to enhance your understanding of the vital role alliances can play in your organizational strategy and how fostering strong relationships can help you accomplish more.  Learn more and apply by June 6 »

Click to hear from past participants about the NAS seminar experience and pay-what-you-can pricing!

Making Innovation Happen

Jeff DeGraff, professor of management at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, outlines what it takes to make innovation happen.

Where Innovation Happens

Jeff DeGraff, professor of management at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, suggests that innovation happens when risk and reward are inverted.