image1   image2   image3

Publications: nonprofit arts organizations Theme

Holding Up the Arts: Can we sustain what we’ve created? Should we?

On October 27, 2012, Diane Ragsdale addressed fellows of the 2012 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders with a keynote address entitled, “Holding Up the Arts: Can we sustain what we’ve created? Should we?” Ms. Ragsdale’s speech examined the meaning and implications of sustainability for the arts and culture field and the life cycle of organizations, including the idea that death is a necessary part of the arts ecosystem. She discussed the role of the arts organization and the importance of mattering to one’s community, warning against current tendencies towards market-driven tactics, exclusivity and becoming “nonprofit arts zombies.”

Read the full text of “Holding Up the Arts” »


Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.

Doug Borwick of the popular ArtsJournal blog Engaging Matters has released a new book, Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S. In Building Communities, Borwick posits that the future success of arts organizations is dependent upon establishing real, deep connections with their communities. The book features the essay “Changing Our Future” by NAS President CEO Russell Willis Taylor, as well as contributions from arts thinkers including NAS Chief Executive Program participants Sebastian Ruth and Dorothy Gunther Pugh with forewords by National Endowment of the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch.

Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S. »



Local Faces: D.C.’s Local and National Art Scene

On June 12th, NAS Program Manager Sunny Widmann moderated a panel at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The panel, entitled “Local Faces: D.C.’s Local and National Art Scene,” was co-presented by the Corcoran and Emerging Arts Leaders DC. Panelists Lisa Gold (Washington Project for the Arts), Ryan Hill (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, YOUmedia Network), Mariah Johnson (Porch Projects) and Jayme McLellan (Civilian Art Projects, Corcoran College of Art Design) explored the unique challenges and opportunities that local arts organizations and artists face when sharing a city with national museums.

Watch a video recording of the panel »


The New Nature of Money

Changes in the environment – economic, demographic and social – may challenge the health of an organization. How can a leader improve his or her organization’s financial strength so that it can nimbly adapt and adjust to these changes?   In “The New Nature of Money,” Peter Frumkin explores a framework for thinking about financial sustainability as linked to the business model and financial flexibility.  As the author discusses, there are a variety of ways in which sustainability can be threatened or enhanced through the management of revenues and expenses.  Sustainability and flexibility combined are the lynchpin of creating greater value for patrons and communities.

Read “The New Nature of Money” by Peter Frumkin »



The Smart Marketplace: Bridging the Gaps in Arts Leadership Training

Many discussions about the field’s leadership gap focus on two general impressions: there are not enough prospective leaders or there aren’t enough professional development opportunities – but is it that simple? In this GIA Reader article, Russell Willis Taylor, NAS President and CEO, and Andrew Taylor, Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business, argue that there are numerous prospective leaders and professional development opportunities, but that there are informational discontinuities which prevent them from adequately filling the field’s leadership needs. This article identifies opportunities for the field – including funders, professional development providers and current leaders – to tackle the systemic challenges currently preventing our prospective leaders from finding and taking advantage of opportunities to develop the skills they need to take on leadership roles.

Read the article, “The Smart Marketplace