Community Partnerships

We’re keen to hear about what’s working in communities and the particular challenges they face. We’d like to work with you to connect you and your arts and cultural leaders to a global network of change makers and place your city firmly in the future. 

The arts and cultural sector and the macro environment in which it operates has never been so complex and rapidly changing. NAS recently completed an extensive process of field conversations and testing with grantmakers, partners and alumni. This uncovered the more pressing current field pain points and trends and informed our national and international response to inspire and support leaders in the field as they navigate and lead in an uncertain and volatile future.

We’ve heard grantmakers questioning how they can maximize the likelihood of success of their investments in the people and organizations they fund, specifically:

  • How might we diversify the existing leadership pipeline in our city?
  • In what ways can we support first-time leaders who are challenging the status quo?
  • What creative placemaking tools are needed to be part of broader community change efforts?
  • What is our theory of change and the fulcrum points for change – if we define and invest wisely, how will the community benefit? How will we know if we are successful?
  • How is knowledge being shared and grown in the sector – inside of our city/region and beyond?
  • How might we build or strengthen a cohort of strategic-minded individuals who drive leadership investment in our region?
  • How might we increase perspectives inside our communities – broaden the exchange of knowledge and information across the differences; within and across sectors, neighborhoods (local and global) and cultures?

Leaders face staggering complexity

Across the U.S. and internationally, it has been well documented that amidst this complexity, arts and cultural leaders are consumed by keeping the organizations they lead strong and connected as they deal with the exponential change around them. We’re all hearing that leaders are concurrently grappling with a range of issues. 

Inside Organizations

Issues such as relevance, increasing competition, cross cultural communication, succession, diversity and thin capitalization.

Those working in arts and culture now find themselves in the broader experience economy, and that economy has drastically changed in the past decade; these cultural disruptions present new business and relevance challenges.

Increase in high quality, convenient, and affordable on-demand content and entertainment via HBO, Netflix, hulu and Amazon Prime); consumers demand more flexibility, value, quality and now interactivity.  

Increase in self-curated arts and experiences; decline in demand for traditional PhD curators; audiences no longer see themselves as merely consumers, but rather, creators.

Outside in Community

Disruption from technology, changing climate, youth living in an increasingly digital world, baby boomers who are retiring later, thereby creating issues for diversification of the leadership pipeline.

Bigger pond, bigger fish

A recent insights report by Deloitte Consulting observed that developing future leaders isn’t just about putting them through programs, but through exposure that provides leaders with an external perspective. “Exposure is what enables them to gather intelligence in the relevant business context: They learn with and from other industry leaders what works and what does not. Organizations that make the effort to offer opportunities for exposure as part of their leadership development double their ability to innovate and anticipate change over those that offer formal programs only.”

Change is growing exponentially.
It needs a change of thinking.

NAS has a plan to achieve this diverse, vibrant and connected future:


NAS works with a select group of city and regional based grantmakers and supporters in your area to identify a diverse group of leaders from small, midsized and large organizations, centers of color, and grassroots groups to provide nationally recognized executive professional development and training.  


NAS will help you identify candidates based on potential, not status or previous opportunity. We level the playing field, by ensuring from small, midsized, and large organizations and centers of color get the same strategic edge.


Together, we helicopter leaders and change makers out from their discipline and geographic silos, to connect to new thinking, powerful networks and innovative models. We connect them to the world’s best business schools at top-tier universities including Harvard, Michigan and Pennsylvania for curated, strategic training.


This group then brings new collaborative mindsets back to their own organizations and community, working together as a node for change. Together, we support them with game-changing and ongoing career support – powerful coaching, tools, knowledge and networks, and ongoing exchange with dynamic, experienced faculty. NAS then connects the various nodes together for systems change.

What we're hearing

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Grantmakers and stakeholders know what their community needs, which is why NAS listens first, then threads the connections, identify any gaps and propose a solution. We will bring our extensive skills and fresh perspective of systems change to ensure all parties are working together effectively. 

Please Note: NAS maintains a Zero Indirect Costs (Overhead) Policy as of December 6, 2012 and will only pay for direct costs associated with a project or program. For further information, contact NAS.

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