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.
Below is a representation of the themes explored. Click on a word or phrase to see relevant content.
This eight-month program, developed and presented in partnership with The University of Pennsylvania, will prepare and equip you to lead arts and culture organizations of all types. At a cost of only $4,950 you will gain the foundational knowledge and business frameworks to advance your career. The program provides the flexibility of online courses and the ability to tailor what you learn to your needs through your choice of electives. The programpromises what no other program can – comprehensive training from a world-class university grounded in real-world experience at an affordable price.
The application process is free, short, simple and designed to craft a diverse cohort of arts and culture professionals across the field. The Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy is targeted at early to mid-career managers in the nonprofit arts and culture sector – and those seeking to enter the sector.
The deadline for applications to The Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy is October 31, 2014, but accepted on a rolling basis. If accepted, you will not have to submit payment until December. Online courses begin in January 2015 with the first in-person convening held at The University of Pennsylvania in March 2015. Apply today »
For those not able to take part in the entire eight-month program but still want to experience a bit of the curriculum, you can sign up to take one of the cornerstone courses – Arts & Culture Strategy – on Coursera. The class is free and open to anyone. It starts November 10, 2014. Those enrolled in the program will take the class on a private platform in January 2015.
We are pleased to announce the latest class of exceptional leaders in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture. These 50 executives will work with National Arts Strategies and each other over the next year to address their biggest challenges and lead change throughout the arts and culture sector. We received applications from leaders in 32 states and 13 different countries and were astounded by the level and diversity of community work these leaders are undertaking. This is the third class of The Chief Executive Program. It has evolved from the experience of the past two classes and discussions with arts and culture leaders around the world. National Arts Strategies is continuing the program with a focus on leaders of organizations where community is at the heart of the mission.
“Healthy organizations share deep connections with their communities. We’ve seen that leaders who build and maintain a strong sense of local relevance are creating organizations for both the present and the future. We at NAS progress field-wide change by providing the training and support to these leaders. Having experienced this program and bonded as a community, 50 leaders will have the ideas, tools and connections to effect change in their own organizations and to accelerate their work collectively to strengthen communities and the cultural sector,” said NAS CEO Designate Gail Crider.
The Chief Executive Program is built around two learning cycles that 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. Beginning in September 2014 and continuing through 2015, the program includes three in-person educational events at Vanderbilt University, at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and at Sundance Resort, as well as a variety of “at-work” activities designed to help leaders move forward on their own unique objectives and goals. These events and activities are designed to give participants 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.
Participants in The Chief Executive Program were selected following a highly competitive recruitment process to identify the top executive cultural leaders from around the world whose organizations work closely with communities on creative placemaking initiatives. The leaders chosen to participate in The Chief Executive Program were selected from a wide range of cultural forms, locations, perspectives and experience levels. These executives have proven themselves to be effective, innovative, collaborative and open-minded.
Neil Barclay, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA) Jim Beirne, Live Theatre (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom) Michael Bobbitt, Adventure Theatre (Glen Echo, MD) Jennifer Boomgaarden, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (Sioux Falls, SD) Tony Butler, Derby Museums Trust (Derby, United Kingdom) Polly Carl, HowlRound: A Center for Theater Commons (Boston, MA) Tim Carroll, Bankstown Youth Development Service (Bankstown, Australia) Serina Chen, Taipei Arts International Association (Taipei, Taiwan) Uli Sailer Das, Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park, KS)
Robert Davidson, Seattle Aquarium (Seattle, WA) Gretchen Dietrich, Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City, UT) Lucinda Einhouse, Beck Center for the Arts (Lakewood, OH) Ahmed El Attar, Studio Emad Eddin Foundation (Cairo, Egypt) Patricia Finneran, Story Matters (New York, NY) Gary Ginstling, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Indianapolis, IN) Daniel Gorman, Shubbak Festival (London, United Kingdom) Brent Hasty, MINDPOP (Austin, TX) Jeffreen Hayes, Rebuild Foundation (Chicago, IL) Cristy Johnston Limon, Destiny Arts Center (Oakland, CA) Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin (Madison, WI) Geoffrey Kershner, Endstation Theatre Company (Lynchburg, VA) Karen Kienzle, Palo Alto Art Center (Palo Alto, CA) Scott Kratz, 11th Street Bridge Park (Washington, DC) Lex Leifheit, SOMArts (San Francisco, CA) Sheila Lewandowski, Chocolate Factory Theater (Long Island City, NY) Frank Little, City of Edinburgh Council (Edinburgh, Scotland)
María Claudia López, Ministry of Culture (Bogotá, Colombia) Karen Mack, LA Commons, A Project of Community Partners (Los Angeles, CA) Jeff McCarter, Free Spirit Media (Chicago, IL) Lynne McCormack, City of Providence, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (Providence, RI) Hope McMath, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Jacksonville, FL) Tanner Methvin, Africa Centre (Cape Town, South Africa) Andreas Mitisek, Long Beach Opera (Long Beach, CA) and Chicago Opera Theater (Chicago, IL) Donna Neuwirth, Wormfarm Institute (Reedsburg, WI) Adam Philipson, Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank, NJ) Kelly Pollock, Center of Creative Arts (St. Louis, MO) Michael Rohd, Sojourn Theatre and Center for Performance and Civic Practice (Evanston, IL) Abe Rybeck, The Theater Offensive: OUT in Your Neighborhood (Boston, MA) Sue Schardt, Association of Independents in Radio (Boston, MA)
Roger Schmidt, Sitka Fine Arts Camp (Sitka, AK)
Michael Seiwerath, Capitol Hill Housing Foundation (Seattle, WA) Michael Shanklin, Kidspace Children’s Museum (Pasadena, CA)
Scott Showalter, Oregon Symphony (Portland, OR) Connie Spreen, Experimental Station (Chicago, IL) Tracy Straus, Celebrate the Beat (Denver, CO)
Alicia Sutton, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona (Phoenix, AZ) Clyde Valentín, SMU Meadow Arts + Urbanism Initiative (Dallas, TX) Carol Varney, Bay Area Video Coalition (San Francisco, CA)
Gerd Wuestemann, Acadiana Center for the Arts (Lafayette, LA)
Curious about how to participate in Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture as a team? We’ve received several unique responses to our suggestion that this course is ideal for individuals or team participation.
A team from an arts service organization shared their plans to enroll in the course, watch the course lectures together in their conference room and talk through discussion points in real time, creating a team building and learning environment throughout the organization.
We know that for some it may be difficult to gather a team of colleagues you work with on a weekly basis. While teams can be from your organization, they can also include people from across organizations. Sam Oliver at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans and Morgan Sasser at the Arts Council of New Orleans shared their plans to create a cross-organizational group to complete the course together. Sam and Morgan plan to gather a team of young professionals working in arts and cultural organizations across the city to work through the course together. This unique team structure will allow for members to watch lectures on their own time and come together to apply the learning. By working together on the course, this young professionals group will build relationships between organizations in the New Orleans community.
Teams can also be made up of members across locations. The online platform provides the perfect space for sharing and collaboration throughout the sector, regardless of time zone.
Still don’t have a team in mind? Don’t worry! Once the course begins, you can search for a team or for others to join your team using the class discussion board dedicated to this topic or you can choose to participate in the course individually without completing a team innovation project.
Innovation. It’s the buzzword that everyone loves to talk about and often only in grand terms. What is the next big thing? How do we make radical change? We like to think of innovation as more integrated into what you do like finding new ways to realize your mission, to raise funds, to deliver programs and to use your resources effectively. Innovation is not mysterious or other, but it is tough to do really well. Whether you are taking on radical changes or making continuous improvements, Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture, will give you the tools you need.
This free online course was developed by David Owens at Vanderbilt University and customized for the cultural sector by National Arts Strategies.Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture is designed to help you answer the following types of questions:
What are the conditions for successful innovation?
What causes innovation to fail?
What allows creative people to be creative?
How should I manage an innovative team?
What is an innovation portfolio and how can I manage one?
Through video lectures with embedded quizzes, team exercises, readings, diagnostic surveys and weekly reflection papers, this course will help your team develop an “innovation strategy” on your own time. This highly interactive 8-week course is designed for those involved in arts and culture around the globe in all types of cultural organizations. Participation is ideal for teams and creates a great opportunity to form a team at your office to learn together and push a project forward.
We know that not everyone has the same learning objectives or available time, so this course is offered at two levels of engagement. The Standard Level allows students to engage in the course materials and discussions without completing an innovation project, while the Studio Mastery Level gives students the opportunity to apply the class material by completing an innovation project in a small team.
Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture begins on September 16, 2014 on Coursera. Join colleagues around the world to build environments where ideas are created, shared, evaluated and the best ones are successfully put to work.
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.
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
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 artstrategies.org/hangout
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The complex issues involved in leading a cultural nonprofit today can challenge even the most skilled management team. Using our first-hand experience in the arts and working with faculty from leading business and graduate schools, we deliver executive-level programs that help you find new opportunities, manage your resources and lead your organization toward its mission.