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News + Updates: Programs Theme

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.


National Arts Strategies Announces Leaders Chosen to Participate in The Chief Executive Program

National Arts Strategies is pleased to announce the participation of 50 exceptional leaders in the second class of The Chief Executive Program. Building on the success of the program’s first cohort, National Arts Strategies continues the program to help bring together cultural leaders from around the world to explore new ways to tackle the most complex and critical challenges facing the field. By the end of the program, these 50 leaders will have the ideas, tools and connections to effect change in their own organizations and to work collectively strengthen the cultural field.



The New Chief Executive Program

Across the cultural field and around the globe, there are leaders thinking creatively about the biggest challenges facing organizations today – from increased competition among entertainment and cultural experiences to changes in consumer demands to shifting priorities of funders and stakeholders.

National Arts Strategies created The Chief Executive Program to help cultural leaders explore new ways to tackle these complex and critical challenges. Through this program, 50 leaders from around the world will take action and effect change in their organizations and in collaboration with an amazing network of peers. We are now accepting applications from those who wish to participate in The Chief Executive Program and join this community.


New Program for Young Cultural Leaders

NAS has partnered with the Salzburg Global Seminar, a non-profit organization known for its global convening power, to launch a new annual series which will provide a unique learning opportunity for “next generation” cultural leaders from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders will help young cultural practitioners improve their leadership skills to enable them and their organizations to thrive in a field characterized by rapid change, uncertainty and limited resources. The program is intended to enhance international understanding and cultural exchange and to strengthen the cultural sector worldwide through a vital global network of young cultural leaders.

The inaugural convening of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders will take place October 27–November 1 at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria. The program is intended for leaders approximately 25-35 years old with at least 3 years’ experience in the cultural sector and will include plenary sessions and panel discussions focusing on overarching issues confronting arts organizations worldwide and sessions focusing on practical training in critical leadership skills. Panelists include: Mulenga Kapwepwe (National Arts Council, Zambia), Basma El Husseiny (Al Mawred al Thaqafy, Egypt), J. Mikel Ellcessor (WDET Public Radio, USA), Tisa Ho (Hong Kong Arts Festival, China), Yudhishthir Isar (The American University of Paris, France/Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia), Deirdre Prins-Solani (Center for Heritage Development in Africa, Mombassa), Gary Vikan (The Walters Art Museum, USA) and Eduardo Vilaro (Ballet Hispanico).

Please visit the Salzburg Global Seminar event page for complete session, pricing and application information.


Why is Service Design Important?

What does service design mean to your organization? Does the responsibility of serving your customers rest solely in your marketing and audience services departments?

It’s not uncommon to read articles and blog posts highlighting the importance of delivering exceptional customer service, nor is it rare to read about an increasing interest in producing participatory work that allows the customer to act as “co-curator.” But to create a lasting impact we need to combine these ideas and consider how every aspect of our work may (or may not) affect our customers. Attention to the customer experience must be paid by all departments in order to ensure delivery of top quality experiences and services because this service delivery is critical to nurturing the customer relationship, building value and ensuring sustainability. In their paper, “The Politics and Theatre of Service Design,” Lara Penn and Cameron Tonkinwise state, “service designs must guide the recipient in how to make appropriate demands of the service; but they must also guide the provider in how to meet those varied demands in flexible ways.” We need to fully understand the type of experience our customers want—beginning with the initial encounter and continuing after the experience has ended—and identify ways in which we can cater to those desires as a means to fulfill mission.

Arts and Cultural Management: From Service Design to Success
was developed by National Arts Strategies with IESE Business School to help senior cultural executives address how their organizations design offerings with a goal of creating lasting impact, establishing value and operationalizing the idea that everything we do must in some way relate to how we serve our customers. Over the course of the program’s three days, 30 international arts and culture leaders will come together to discover how the integration of marketing, operations and people decisions can result in a five-star experience. They will develop the skills to analyze how their organizations utilize resources and learn to make strategic changes that will help provide more valuable experiences.

We invite chief operating officers, senior executives and others responsible for implementing organizational change to learn more about this new program and apply today »


New Pricing for Business of Arts and Culture Seminars

Starting in 2012, we will ask organizations to name their own tuition for all Business of Arts and Culture seminars. We’ve heard from leaders that our seminars help create real solutions to the challenges they face. We’ve also heard that many still need extra help to make educational expenditures possible. This new pricing approach allows organizations to take part in our seminars at a price they can afford to pay. We will continue to offer travel support for out-of-town participants.



New Program on Service Design

How does your approach to the experience you create for your audience fuel or foil your mission, your artistic objectives, and your financial opportunities? How do you integrate service and experience design into the core strategic vision of your organization?

National Arts Strategies has partnered with Spain’s IESE Business School to develop Arts and Cultural Management: From Service Design to Success, a new program for senior-level leaders to explore experience design and customer service as strategic questions. This three-day program, to be held at IESE’s New York City facility, will equip cultural leaders with the tools to address experience design as a means of achieving sustainability.

Learn more about this exciting new program and the application process »


The Chief Executive Program Participants Announced

After an exhaustive search and interview process, National Arts Strategies is pleased to announce the executives who will be working together as participants in The Chief Executive Program. Beginning this fall, these cultural leaders will come together to expand their knowledge and begin to re-imagine how cultural institutions can contribute to civil society.