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News + Updates

National Arts Strategies awarded $35,000 from the Knight Foundation Fund of Akron Community Foundation

We are thrilled to share that the National Arts Strategies’ (NAS) Creative Community Fellows program has received $35,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund of Akron Community Foundation, to advance community change and cultural entrepreneurship.

Funding will directly support the participation of cultural entrepreneurs from the Akron community in the Creative Community Fellows program.

A national organization, Knight Foundation was founded in Akron, Ohio, and continues to invest in the community through their support of local organizations. We are excited to deepen the support of cultural entrepreneurs from Akron as they define, design, pilot and scale their work.

Creative Community Fellows is designed to support creative individuals working as change-makers in their communities. These Fellows use arts and culture as vehicles to drive physical and social transformations. Over eight-months, Fellows gain access to tools, training and a community of support that helps to fuel their visions for community change and action.


About Akron Community Foundation

Celebrating 60 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. As of Dec. 31, 2015, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $184 million with a growing family of more than 520 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded more than $131 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Introducing the Senior Management Institute

The Senior Management Institute is an eight-month program designed for senior level managers of arts and culture organizations. The Institute provides a cross-disciplinary, supportive yet challenging learning environment to improve management and communication skills and to lead high-performing teams. We believe that an organization’s health is closely linked to the quality of the management team. The Senior Management Institute provides senior managers with the tools and confidence to create a culture of happiness and inspire strong, effective teamwork. 

Have questions about the Institute? Want to learn if this is the right fit for you? Contact Pearl Bickersteth to schedule an informational call.


Apply through April 12 » 

Learn more about the Senior Management Institute »


Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy: Headed to The University of Pennsylvania

Spring has arrived early this year at NAS, with many exciting events and announcements coming this March. To kick of this exciting month, the 2016 Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy cohort will come together for the first time in-person at the University of Pennsylvania this March 2-5.

Participants have been learning together online since the program began this January and will now have the opportunity to meet the teaching team and each other in-person at this event. During their time together, participants will join in interactive sessions on leadership styles, program design & innovation, negotiation and decision-making. Sessions will be led by Clinical Professor of Design and Innovation, Southern Methodist University, Gray Garmon and University of Pennsylvania faculty including, Senior Fellow, Center for Leadership and Change Management, The Wharton School, Meredith Myers Ph.D. and Professor of Social Policy, Faculty Director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and Founder and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy, Peter Frumkin Ph.D.

Friday, March 4 we will be joined by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s President, Maud Lyon and Vice President of Marketing & Communications, John McInerney, to engage in a conversation about Future: Forward, a new initiative, to use strategic foresight in thinking about how their members and the sector can prepare for the future in the next ten years and beyond. On Saturday, March 5 the participants will head to Eastern State Penitentiary where they will take a tour inside the historic organization’s world and later apply their learning to their work in the program.

We can’t wait for this first gathering! You can follow the conversation on Twitter at #ExecProgramArts.


Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture Now Open for Enrollment

Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture is back and open for enrollment on Coursera! This course is designed to help those in the arts and culture sector build environments where new management and program ideas are created, shared, evaluated and the best ones are successfully put to work.

We worked with David Owens at Vanderbilt University to customize this course for those working in the cultural sector. Over eight weeks, you will take a deep dive into these 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?

Enrollment is free and presented online through Coursera. You will join a global cohort of colleagues and leave ready to better manage creativity, innovation and change.

Learn more about Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture  »

Join the course »

Call for Submissions: A Conversation on Failure


We are undertaking an exploration of a topic that tends to get glossed over in our field… failure. We’re gathering a range of opinions and experiences from inside and outside the field on failure to share widely this March on Field Notes  in order to create an archive of experiences and a dialogue on the many forms of failure.

We’re accepting submissions from anyone interested in participating in this conversation. We simply ask that you give some thought to the questions below, chose one and write a 300- to 500-word response:

  • How do you define failure?
  • What role do expectations play in having failed?
  • Do you feel supported to fail in your job? Why or why not?
  • Tell us about the ways you motivate yourself after you’ve failed. What gets you centered and back up again?
  • How have your thoughts about failure changed throughout your career?

Submissions will be accepted through February 24, 2015 and finalists will be featured on our ArtsJournal blog, Field Notes throughout March.

Please send submissions to Taylor Craig, Selected submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Feel free to contact Taylor with any questions you have regarding this call.

NAS Awarded $1.5 Million from the Kresge Foundation

The board and staff of NAS are excited to announce that The Kresge Foundation has awarded NAS a multi-year, general operating grant of $1.5 million. Kresge has long been a partner with us, particularly in the broadening of our work in strengthening communities through arts and culture.

A key driver of community building has been our Chief Executive Program. Over the last five years, we have brought together three cohorts of arts and culture CEOs from around the world. These 200 exceptional leaders make up a network of colleagues focused on making real change in their organizations, in their communities and in the field. We are proud to support this network and look forward to expanding it one more time.

In April, applications will open for the fourth and final cohort. Fifty leaders from the US and abroad will move through the one-year program to explore, apply and reflect with their peers, faculty at Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and School of Urban Design.

Other work supported by the Kresge partnership includes our Creative Community Fellows and Online Civic Innovators. These programs strengthen and support entrepreneurs, artists and civic innovators who are using arts and culture to build positive community change.

Finally, Kresge’s support will enable us to return to research at a critical time. We will look at changing our communities through intercessions from artists, entrepreneurs and arts organizations working side-by-side, adding meaningful data on what works and why. FSG and researchers from Stanford University will be joining us for this project.

We look forward to the months ahead and are grateful to The Kresge Foundation for their continued support.

Announcing a New Creative Community Fellows Funding Partner

CCFWe would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their $30,000 grant, which will support a cohort of San Jose, California-based Creative Community Fellows.

Creative Community Fellows is developed to support creative individuals working as change-makers in their communities. These Fellows use arts and culture as vehicles to drive physical and social transformations. Over eight-months, Fellows gain access to tools, training and a community of support that helps to fuel their visions for community change and action.


About the Knight Foundation’s Work in San Jose, California

As San Jose faces tremendous population growth, Knight is working to support the urbanization of a traditionally sprawling city with a specific focus on Central San Jose. Their investments tap into the region’s creative energy and disruptive history to accelerate the city’s significance as a well-connected, transport-accessible hub for culture and innovation in the South Bay.

Working with partners in the public and private sectors, they support a range of projects from prototypes and pop-ups to in-depth research and sustained organizational support.

Learn more about Creative Community Fellows »

Meet the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy Class of 2016

EP01Leadership in the arts and culture sector requires grit, confidence and the ability to find new possibilities around every corner. The right tools and frameworks help make this navigation possible. We are proud to partner with the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice to provide a cultural leadership program that gives participants the ability to stand firm in the business side of the industry through an ivy-league curriculum, grounded in real-world experience.

Over the next eight months, participants from around the world will come together online and in-person to strengthen their leadership capacity and grow their knowledge of management in the arts and culture field. We are honored to announce these talented individuals who make up the second class of the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. Please join us in congratulating the newest members of the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy!

Sarah Andrew Wilson, Levine Music (Silver Spring, MD)
James Bondelid, St. Paul’s Chestnut Hill (Oreland, PA)
Luz Helena Cano Diaz, (Bogota, Columbia)
Michelle Chartrand, Omaha Children’s Museum (Omaha, NE)
Samuel Chesser, (Miami Springs, FL)
Elliot Davis, Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Dedham, MA)
Kerry DiGiacomo, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA)
Barika Edwards, American Documentary | POV (Brooklyn, NY)
Sue Elliott, The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, ON)
Adam Erickson, The Aspen Institute (Forest Hills, NY)
Malcolm Evans, Fractured Atlas (Queens, NY)
Becky Flynn, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (Little Rock, AR)
Hanaah Frechette, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (Brooklyn, NY)
Deron Hall, Memphis Music Initiative (Memphis, TN)
Emily Hirsch, Krannert Center for Performing Arts (Bethesda, MD)
Jason Holland, (Sergerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa, CA)
Theresa Hubbard, Fractured Atlas (Brooklyn, NY)
Courtney Kalbacker, URBANARIAS (Baltimore, MD)
Emily Kuret, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (Ann Arbor, MI)
Romola Lucas, The Caribbean Film Academy (Brooklyn, NY)
Christina McClelland, Center for Visual Art, Metropolitan State University (Denver, CO)
Shaheena Ormerod-Sachedina, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (Caterham, UK)
Nafsika Papadopoulou, John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation (Athens, Greece)
Orsolya Pati, K2 Theatre (Budapest, Hungary)
Eric Rivera, (Philadelphia, PA)
Diana Sanchez, International Film Festival Panama & Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, ON)
Abhijit Sengupta, Da Camera of Houston (Houston, TX)
Lindsay So, Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy (Philadelphia, PA)
Allison Titman, American Alliance of Museums (Greenbelt, MD)
Dennis Whipple, Great River Educational Arts Theatre (Waite Park, MN)


Learn more about the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy » 

Follow their journey on Twitter at #ExecProgramArts »

Sign up for program updates »

Early Admission Deadline: Applications for the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy are Due Today

Today marks the early admission application deadline for the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. The quality of applicants thus far has been remarkable and we are looking forward to continuing the review process. We know that your time is valuable and making the decision to invest in your ongoing professional development is not easy.

That’s why we’ve built the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy to provide you with game-changing education, when you want it and where you want it, without sacrificing the depth of personal relationships that come from meeting your peers and faculty face-to-face. The best and brightest practitioners and University of Pennsylvania faculty will explore frameworks and topics that will help you lead with confidence. At a cost of $4,950, we are proud to say it is among the most affordable executive leadership programs available today.

With twenty-four hours left for early admission, take the time to apply and invest in yourself. The application is short, simple and built for personal reflection.
Learn more »

Contact us with your questions »

Apply today »

November in the Mountains of Utah

We’ve just returned from several days in Utah, all spent surrounded by some of the most leading minds in our field.

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The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture – The Summit at Sundance

This journey began with the final convening of the Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture. Forty-six CEOs who have been learning together for the past fifteen months, gathered for the final time to address some of their most challenging questions at The Summit at Sundance. We built this convening as an ideation summit, an interactive, community-driven process that identifies, clarifies and activates solutions.

NAS’ President and CEO, Gail Crider says, “conversations about critical issues happen all the time. Conferences, blogs and community meetings offer any number of opportunities to raise and share experiences with these issues. And yet, we experience seemingly endless discussion with little discernible progress towards shared solutions.” This is the inspiration behind our design of the ideation summit and process.

In preparation for this convening, the participants worked together to choose and craft the challenges they planned to tackle, generating buy-in and personal investment. These leaders focused on issues related to equity, relevancy, the economy and our communities. Working in small groups, they collectively designed ways to address these issues and left with clear next steps to work both individually and as a group to move many of their solutions forward over the next few months. We plan to keep you up to date and share the results.

National Arts Marketing Project Conference

Following this convening, NAS’ Taylor Craig spent the weekend at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in the great, Salt Lake City. It was wonderful to connect with colleagues around the country and learn useful tips and tricks we will be implementing soon. When we think about marketing, we often think about selling, selling, selling. How do we get them to buy the next ticket? This is part of it, but the larger part is relationship building and community engagement. It was uplifting for us to participate in this conference that completely understood this aspect of marketing and directed the dialogue around our communities. One of the most inspiring moments of the conference was Donna Walker-Kuhne’s keynote on the changing demographics in the US. You can catch the live recording here »

Photo Nov 09, 11 55 50 AMThe Chief Executive Program Alumni Retreat

During this time, alumni of our Chief Executive Program came together for the first annual alumni retreat. Thirty-seven leaders from around the world and across Chief Executive Program cohorts joined us to reconnect, recharge and refocus. Richard Cox from Stanford’s led participants through workshops on failure, leadership and risk. Participants were also able to come together in focused, facilitated working groups to share insights with colleagues and workshop ideas – looking at success stories, perennial problems and how to weigh trade-offs. Hosted at the Sundance Resort, this provided the perfect setting for leaders to step away from the day-to-day, disconnect (the cell service isn’t too great!) and take time for themselves. We heard from participants that taking this time is so important and often overlooked. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Now back at our headquarters in Alexandria, VA we are missing the mountains, but knee deep in planning for the next cohort of the Chief Executive Program. Learn more about the program and our alumni »