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News + 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.
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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 »

We’ve Got A MOOC For You


Our Arts & Culture Strategy MOOC is back! This online course combines an overview of the arts and culture field and the unique challenges to working in mission-driven organizations. Learners build strategy skills and develop their personal leadership potential. The course curriculum is rigorous, relevant and the result of an exciting partnership with the University of Pennsylvania.

Enrollment is free, on-demand and presented online through Coursera. This provides the flexibility we know is necessary and allows you to work at your own pace – when and where it is best for you. Complete the entire course in one day or take as long as you need, returning to the videos and exercises that are most critical for your work.

This MOOC is ideal for team participation. Gather a group of colleagues or challenge your staff to move through the content simultaneously. Set times as a group to debrief and discuss burning questions. Apply curriculum in real time, to your organization.

Join thousands of learners from around the world to develop your leadership skills and cultivate your personal view of the role arts and culture play in society.

Enroll today »

Learn more about the Arts & Culture Strategy course »

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Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy: Applications Open

At NAS, we have worked with leaders in all stages of their careers. It is what we do. We are connectors, supporters, partners and advancers. We know that being a leader in the arts and culture field takes grit, confidence and the ability to find new possibilities around every corner.

With the University of Pennsylvania as our collaborator, we’ve developed the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy. This eight-month online and in-person cultural leadership program was designed for early to mid-career professionals in the arts and culture sector. Courses are flexible and tailored to the field, focusing on the expertise we know is necessary to get ahead in this field. The rigorous course content combines ivy-league curriculum and the industry knowledge of NAS. Participants will leave the program with the ability to think strategically, manage people and money, work well with a board of directors and create maximum value around mission. Participants will gain an understanding of organizational behavior and have confidence in their leadership style.

The cost commitment and amount of time in the classroom makes traditional degree programs out of reach for too many. The Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy is less than a year in length, allows for coursework to be completed when it works best for the individual and costs a total of only $4,950.

Applications for this program are now open through November 16, 2015. Apply today or share this opportunity with your colleagues, employees and those in your network.



Call for Submissions: A Conversation on Career Plans

SLIDE_Call_SubmissionsHow do you craft a career plan? Why is it important to have a career plan? How do you identify your gaps in learning? How do you begin to fill those gaps?

We’re exploring all these questions and more in a conversation on Field Notes this October and we want to hear from you! We aim to host a field-wide conversation on how to craft a career plan in order to highlight the range of experiences and bring to light the array of tools that can be helpful to staff, colleagues and ourselves.

We’ve all been or are currently in some part of the career plan journey. Either you are a long-time CEO of an established organization with a unique story of how you got there or you’re a new graduate with a few years of experience trying to figure out what’s the next step. We want to hear from you – all of you.

We’re accepting submissions from anyone interested in writing a 200-300 word piece about this topic in our field. Submissions will be accepted through September 30, 2015 COB and featured on our Arts Journal blog, Field Notes throughout October 2015.

Please share this call with those in your network and encourage your colleagues to get involved in this conversation.

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.



The Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy: Final Convening

It’s hard to believe it is already August. The weather is heating up and summer is slowly coming to an end. It’s an exciting time at NAS! We begin this last month of summer at the University of Pennsylvania for the final convening of the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. During August 12-15, the cohort comes together for a final time.

Participants have been learning together online and in-person over the past eight months. During this final convening, participants will present their final project portfolios and participate in interactive sessions on leadership styles, negotiation and managerial decision-making. Sessions will be led by University of Pennsylvania professors including, Assistant Instructor, Applied Positive Psychology, Reb Rebele; Associate Professor at the Wharton School, Joe Simmons; 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.

On Thursday, August 13, participants will head to Eastern State Penitentiary where they will participate in a live case study on the alignment and challenges in programming, planning and governance. Sean Kelley, Senior Vice President & Director of Interpretation and Public Programming and John McInerney, Board Member and Vice President of Marketing & Communications of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will lead participants in this discussion and take the group inside the world of this historic organization.

As part of the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy teaching team, NAS’ Pearl Bickersteth, Gail Crider, Fielding Grasty and Sunny Widmann will attend the convening.

This is the culmination of months of hard work and a look into what’s next for the participants in the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. We can’t wait for this final gathering! You can follow along during the program on Twitter at #ExecProgramArts.

We are proud of the thirty leaders completing this program and know that their hard work and dedication will benefit the field at large.


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

The Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy will be presented again in 2016. Applications for the next cohort open later this year. To learn more about this opportunity contact Pearl Bickersteth.

Creative Community House

On July 20, the twenty-two Fellows in the residential track of Creative Community Fellows come together for a seven-day incubator at a breathtaking estate in Norfolk, CT. This is a core component of the Creative Community Fellows program for those in the residential track. After weeks of online introductions and connections, this is their first time meeting in-person. Fellows will take an in-depth look at the stage of their projects, the goals and the challenges that lie ahead. The house experience serves as a workshop atmosphere, where Fellows have the chance to test their model, improve their ideas and strengthen their projects with the help of diverse community experts.

The week will focus on transformative leadership, design thinking and community development. Fellows will dive into these topics during sessions led by Peter Frumkin, Professor of Social Policy, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice; Sarah Lidgus, writer and strategist at IDEO; and Carlton Turner, Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS.

Fellows are paired with mentors throughout the duration of the program. Mentors will join us at the house over the weekend to give one-on-one and group feedback to Fellows. Mentors include leaders in the field such as Tim Cynova, Tracy Harris, David Koren, Donna Neuwirth, Ellen Ryan, George Scheer, Beck Tench, Javier Torres, Gary Vikan and Lisa Yancey.

Taylor Craig, Dallas Shelby and Sunny Widmann serve as the NAS experience tour guides. You can follow the journey on Twitter at #NASCCF and get the Fellow experience by checking out their reactions on the Creative Community Blog. We’re looking forward to ending the month on a high surrounded by these world changers!

Learn more about the Creative Community Fellows program »

Meet the Fellows »

Join the Creative Community. Sign up to receive updates »


The Creative Community House is presented by National Arts Strategies and University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and Center for Social Impact Strategy and is made possible through the generous support of The Kresge Foundation.

We’re Headed to The Americans for the Arts 2015 Annual Convention

On Friday, NAS’ Pearl Bickersteth and Fielding Grasty hit the road and head for Chicago to attend the annual Americans for the Arts Convention taking place this June 12-14.

This year, the convention explores power and empowerment of the individual and the greater community. What’s at the top of our list? Our most anticipated events include Theaster Gates’ Keynote speech, Empowering the Voices Inside Communities and Agree or Disagree: Gentrification Is an Inevitable By-Product of Placemaking, a panel featuring Roberto Bedoya, Executive Director, Tucson Pima Arts Council; Ann Markusen, Principal, Markusen Economic Research Organization; and Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts.

We are looking forward to learning and connecting with colleagues from around the globe. If you are attending the event, please say hello! We hope to see you there. You can follow Fielding and Pearl’s reactions and thoughts during the convention on Twitter @ArtStrategies and @FieldingGrasty. You can also connect with NAS by subscribing to our newsletter, following NAS on Twitter or liking NAS on Facebook!

NAS & AAMD Partner for Days of Learning

NASAAMDNational Arts Strategies partnered with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) to develop a custom program for their members. The first event, “AAMD Day of Learning” was held before their annual meeting last month in Detroit.

The event featured faculty from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the ILR School at Cornell University and live case discussions from AAMD members. Both focused on strategies and frameworks to help museum leaders lead change in their institutions and communities.

The event is part of a larger, three-year engagement meant to address the issues that AAMD members have identified as most critical — change management, organizational alignment and governance. Next year’s event will focus upon sustainability, in particular how does a leader insure that their programs, processes and people are all mission-aligned? Year three will address museums’ connection to their communities.

Welcome to the New Creative Community Fellows!

They hail from around the world. They build arts vocational skills for adults on the autism spectrum. They create card games that change pedestrian behavior and reduce vehicular accidents. They activate community spaces and host pertinent neighborhood discussions. They are the Creative Community Fellows!

This incredible community of 50 change makers will work with NAS and each other over the next nine months to build projects that will lead to stronger, healthier communities. We received nearly 200 applications from 34 states and 7 different countries. We were amazed by the drive and passion of the applicants and we know they are going to play a part in changing this world.

Each Fellow enters the program with a project that uses arts and culture to design solutions to community problems. NAS provides the tools, training and access to a community of support to help Fellows drive their projects forward. The program curriculum is led by experts and world-renowned thought leaders in social innovation, design thinking, strategy and community development.

Fellows also gain access to and help create a powerful network in which ideas and opportunities flow freely. This network is a powerful one and through it we hope to create ripples that will spur connection throughout the field and promote sustainability.

We want to build and support a community of cultural entrepreneurs and leaders throughout the field. 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 the content and tools from the program for you to use and share. We hope you will use the tools, share your insights and join this incredible community.

Emily Arden Eakland, Mt. Rainer, Maryland
Bridget Bartolini, South Richmond Hill, New York
Chad Bradford, Little Rock, Arkansas
Erin Bregman, San Francisco, California
Nicolas Cabrera, Boulder, Colorado
Katie Campbell, Little Rock, Arkansas
Crystal Campbell, Belleville, Michigan
Kimberly Coburn, Decatur, Georgia
April Counceller, Kodiak, Alaska
Debasmita Dasgupta, Singapore
Nicolas de la Fuente, Phoenix, Arizona
Julia Devine, Plattsburgh, New York
Jordan Dyniewski, Astoria, New York
Hallie Ertman, Rockville, Maryland
Kristin Fleischmann Brewer, St. Louis, Missouri
Meghan Frank, Denver, Colorado
Jill Freeman, Fairport, New York
Jeremie Gluckman, Guiyang, China
Sarah Gonzales, Tucson, Arizona
Carly Griffith, Charlottesville, Virginia
Megan Hobza, Whittier, California
Mary Hoffman, Alamosa, Colorado
Lauren Latessa, Ellicott City, Maryland
Perryne Lee Poy Lokhandwala, Brooklyn, New York
Daniel Leng, Seattle, Washington
Dessa Lohrey, Atlanta, Georgia
Erik Martinez Resly, Washington, DC
Nikiko Masumoto, Del Ray, California
Charlie Michaels, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Mario Mesquita, Los Angeles, California
Matice Moore, Tucson, Arizona
Mikelle Moore, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
Tico Moore, Wilmington, Delaware
Miriam Nash, London, United Kingdom
Elena Olascoaga, Nuevo León, Mexico
Aneliese Palmer, Anchorage, Alaska
Sara Potler LaHayne, New York, New York
Julie Potter, San Francisco, California
Laura Ritchie, Durham, North Carolina
Nathalie Sanchez, Los Angeles, California
Ginger Savage, Baker City, Oregon
Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, Baltimore, Maryland
Yvonne Shortt, Long Island City, New York
Jessica Solomon, Washington, DC
Sarah Sullivan, Phoenix, Arizona
Nell Taylor, Chicago, Illinois
Christopher Taylor, Flagstaff, Arizona
Joe Tolbert, Knoxville, Tennessee
David White, San Diego, California
Carol Zou, Dallas, Texas

Learn more about the Creative Community Fellows program »

Meet the Fellows »

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This program is the result of the incredible collaboration and support of The Kresge FoundationUniversity of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice and The Center for Social Impact StrategyArtPlace America and RocketHub.