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Resources & Insights

The Case for Cultural Fluency

Mikel Ellcessor introduces the concept of Cultural Fluency as a means for establishing genuine community connections.

The Under-Resourced Nonprofit Sector – Crisis or Chimera?

What we do truly mean when we say that we are under-resourced?

Reading List: Hacks

The brains behind IDEO offer three quick creativity challenges to help you in getting unstuck.

Are You a Board Member or a Bored Member?

We frequently hear from executives about managing board relationships. In this post, Alorie Clark shares a board member’s perspective how to stay engaged.

The Summit at Sundance: Cultural Sector Ideation

We prepared a report that documents the ideas generated and some of the materials used to help participants frame the issues and work on the solutions at our Summit at Sundance.

Resolve to Take Back Your Time

My life changed when I decided to stop thinking about my schedule as filled with commitments the universe has shackled me to, but rather as choices I’ve consciously made about how I spend my time.

To Be (a charity) or Not To Be, That is the $40 Billion Question

Editor’s Note: With “Comments We Can’t Ignore,” we addressed the need to more effectively demonstrate the…

Comments We Can’t Ignore

This week, a guest column by Robert Reich entitled “What ‘charity’ should really mean” appeared on the Christian…

Making the Argument for Leadership Development

Linda Wood, Senior Director of the Haas Leadership Initiative at the Evelyn and Walter Haas,…

Change Leadership Lessons in the Gettysburg Address

Nancy Koehn (Harvard Business School professor and faculty for the NAS Chief Executive Program) speaks about leadership lessons in the iconic speech.

Getting Unstuck: Developing Skills to Climb the Leadership Ladder

My advice to early-career arts managers is not to get stuck waiting around for someone to pass you an opportunity, but to go right out and ask for it

Evaluating to Increase Impact

The story that I share today is about how one organization followed their curiosity and learned not only from the evaluation data but from the process itself.

Media Logic

I’ve been doing some extra reading on social media, online marketing, and online experiences as…

Cleaning Out Our Closets

Recently I was cleaning my closet and came across several  items that no longer fit…

Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything (…or does it?)

  Steve Blank wrote an interesting article in the May Harvard Business Review on “Why…

The Possibilities of a Children’s Art Museum

Last weekend my daughter and I spent the morning at the National Zoo. She turns…

Saying What We Mean

Last January, at NAS’ Chief Executive Program convening The New Nature of Relevance, I listened…

Three Strategic Planning Challenges

I’ve found myself thinking about three challenges in strategic planning that we see in our work, and I wanted to release these thoughts into the wild and see what happens.

Becoming Indispensable

Editor’s note:  As part of our online discussion around The Summit at Sundance, we have invited…

A Framework for Meaningful Engagement

Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have…

Relinquishing Control

Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have…

Governance in the 21st Century

Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have…

Building Cultures of Innovation, Embracing Change and Becoming More Foxy

Editor’s note:  As part of our online discussion around The Summit at Sundance, we have invited…

Raising the Tide of Value

This post was originally part of a weeklong exploration of four major issues facing the…

Committing to Engagement

Are we asking our customers what they want simply to inform programming decisions that will put butts in seats, or so our organizations can become more representative of the communities we serve?

Creating the 21st Century Board

Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature posts around the final convening of…

Developing Transformative Employees and Systems

Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature posts around the final convening of…

A Community Organizing Approach to Placemaking

When a multi-year infrastructure project threatened to disrupt businesses and cut off neighborhoods along a six-mile stretch of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, the team at Springboard for the Arts saw a transformational opportunity. Their response was Irrigate, a creative placemaking initiative that mobilizes local artists to collaborate with businesses, organizations and community groups to “change the landscape of the corridor with color, art, surprise, creativity and fun.”

Placemaking: Leverage, Alignment and Moving Mountains

A video case study on Irrigate the Arts featuring Laura Zabel, the Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Collaboration is key in D.C.

This post appears as part of the ARTSblog Emerging Leaders Blog Salon, in which emerging leaders…

Defining Our Value

The recent flurry of articles around the “failure” of the creative class to save our…

Goldilocks and the Three Bowls of Data

Barring residence under a rock or an other-worldly state of bliss, it is unlikely that…

Leading Change Without Crisis

How to build organizational intuition through a process of discovery and debate around an organization’s purpose and by refocusing attention outside rather than inside the organization

Online Learning Curve

A look at the Loft Literary Center’s in-depth analysis of how online classes would fit into the organization’s vision

Emerging Leaders and Board Membership: Finding the Right Fit

Fielding Grasty, NAS Director of Programs, shares some tips and advice for emerging leaders interested in gaining governance experience.

Board Membership: Finding the Right Fit

As an emerging leader, it can be difficult finding a nonprofit board to join. I…

How do you re-engineer a cultural institution with a long history and numerous stakeholders?

Brian Ferriso, the Marilyn H. & Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. Director of the Portland Art Museum, talks about how incremental changes over time have built a sustainable and vibrant path for the Portland Art Museum.

How should organizations approach teamwork?

Surry Scheerer, executive coach and lecturer at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and Ford School of Public Policy, suggests that leaders and their organizations take a more mindful approach to building and supporting teams.

What is the key element of relationship-building?

Surry Scheerer, executive coach and lecturer at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, talks about the importance of listening.

Avoiding Brain Freeze: Wellness in the Workplace

CC image by kroszk@ Working in the arts can be extremely stressful. Coordinating exhibits, performances…

How does your approach to partnerships reflect your organization’s culture?

Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, suggests that framing partnerships as opportunities can be a powerful force in an organization.

What does your experience with building community relationships teach about healthy partnerships?

Carlton Turner, executive director of Alternate ROOTS, talks about his approach to partnerships.

Partnerships: From Good to Great

One of the most important responsibilities for any nonprofit is to understand how you can best leverage organizational assets to serve your mission and your constituents. But often, our assets alone aren’t plentiful enough to let us deliver on our mission with the level of impact we’d like.

A Single Customer Promise?

There is a question we get all the time in our Strategic Marketing seminar: should…

Training ourselves to see the invisible gorilla

A recent study found that we only find what we are trained to look for. What does this mean for arts and culture leaders?

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders

This report of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders summarizes the discussion and includes links to video interviews with fellows and a visual diary of the event by fellow and comics artist Paola Gaviria.

Stories from the Field: Measuring Impact

Over the past three or four years that I’ve worked in the US cultural sector,…

Handmaking America

National Arts Strategies is an apolitical organization, so this review about an unashamedly liberal and…

What’s your mandate?

What would the pundits say about your organization? What is your mandate?

Stories from the Field: The Loft Literary Center

The drivers for organizations extending their programming online vary: some pursue new audiences for whom…