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Essays

These are articles, essays and blog posts written by members of the NAS team and alumni of our programs.

When You Might Want to Worry

It’s day four of our journey in the land of failure. To date, the news has…

It’s a Shark.

Have you ever wanted to take a chance on a new idea or project but found yourself hesitating? Why? It could be because you realize there is a chance it might fail, so you find yourself afraid to follow through.

Setting Intention

Each morning during the Creative Community House, a cornerstone component to the Creative Community Fellows program, we…

Complex Problem? Fail Your Way to a Solution.

1. “You have to cast a wide net” 2. “’Practice failing” in a safe space’”…

The Story Behind Toy Story

Why are Pixar’s movies such a huge success? Creative successes might be more related to…

10 Reasons We Fail

There are a myriad of reasons that we fail, from plain bad luck to miscommunication…

Fail Better

Whenever possible, take on specific projects. Make detailed promises about what success looks like and…

What is failure?

What is failure? How do you define it? Is it really the worst thing that…

Failure… without Platitudes

We talk about the positive consequences of failure as though they are naturally occurring, like your idea blows up in your face and you are suddenly imbued with insight and a blueprint for future success. It just doesn’t happen that way.

Art Spaces as Places for Community Engagement

Over the course of our time together in the National Arts Strategies, Chief Executive Program:…

For Members

Place, process and making your own reservation

How might we ensure the arts are a convener and participant in identifying and addressing important community issues and in community planning? 

Beyond Financials

How might we, as leaders in the cultural sector, be critical, formative drivers of building the vision for a new economy?

You Gotta Know Why

In a discussion with several CEOs of cultural organizations about access, accessibility and community, the conversation kept circling back to the question of “Why?”

The Ideation Summit: Transforming Stakeholders into Collaborators

Conversations about critical issues happen all the time. Conferences, blogs and community meetings offer any…

Financial Sustainability of Recycling and Upcycling

The question of how an organization financially sustains a plastic baling twine recycling program in a rural community has been nagging me. Facilitating up-cycle exhibits featuring this material helps to raise awareness, but it doesn’t begin to address the problem.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

While it’s important to learn and get advice from those who’ve come before us, it’s also important to realize our paths are our own. There is no one-way path to success and fulfillment in your career.

The Career Path of a Nonprofit Generalist

Our sector needs those that are passionate about making a difference, no matter what it is. These are the generalists.

Sit Back & Enjoy the Ride: The Roller Coaster Career Plan

When I was younger, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: Theatre Director. But after a few years in that world, I didn’t feel like it was a good fit anymore.

Why is it important to have a career plan?

Our paradigms dramatically affect our judgment and our decision making by influencing our perceptions. Paradigms…

Clarity & Observation

CC ilike via Flickr Developing a career plan was natural for me, as I was…

Kill Your Darlings!

Working in the arts for over a decade has been a continual exercise in projects…

It’s About Defining Your Values

I think that defining your values is far more important than defining your career path.…

Get A Mentor

Find a mentor. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, join a formalized program or research how others find mentors. Get a small group of dedicated mentors. You will quickly realize the results of your (and their) efforts.

It’s Not A Career. It’s A Lifestyle.

I am a classically trained violinist who started my studies at the age 4 and…

Your Career Plan: It’s not always a straight line!

Even though I am not an arts administrator, I have had to wear small versions…

Feeling Alive

My time, a huge portion of which I spend working, is limited. Seth’s death and…

The Career Knapsack

By focusing on values of all sorts in each of the places I’d been, I began to see the big picture for what it is — a matching game.

How to Get Lucky (It’s Not What You Think)

We’ve talked about lots of different elements that factor into a career path. We’ve shared words of wisdom, scholarly articles, tools and frameworks. But I think we’ve yet to talk about what is arguably the biggest factor in one’s career… luck

Fastest Route from Point A to Point B, Not Always a Straight Line

Ok. Let’s say you’ve done some soul searching, consulted your family and your most trusted advisors. You can now safely say that you know: 1) where you are and 2) where you want to be. Now what?

Business Model You

This post was originally part of a weeklong exploration of career paths on our ArtsJournal…

Moon Shot: Charting Your Path

Charting your path simply comes down to four questions: Where am I now? Where do I want to go? What are the obstacles in between? How do I overcome those obstacles?

Seeking wellness in the workplace? Have an impromptu Taylor Swift jam session.

Within only a few weeks of working at NAS, I’d taken notice to some pretty…

We’re Better Together

HowlRound is a commons by and for theatremakers. No one owns a commons, it exists…

The Willingness to Unlearn

You’ve heard from Jeff McCarter, Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, now Andrea Hart,…

Jess Solomon: Values

I created a graphic about how my values, work and every-day decision making coalesce. As…

The Definition Game

As leaders of organizations, it is essential that we not only uphold the values of…

A peek into Zappos

Wait. There’s more on Zappos. We told you it was a favorite. In January, Tim Cynova,…

Zappos: Testing for Core Values

We can’t have a conversation about values without mentioning Zappos. They’re one of our favorite examples.…

Core Values & Cupcakes

An Ideation Summit is a process that transforms stakeholders with divergent interests into collaborators. It…

Marginal Thinking & Our Personal Boundaries

Clayton Christensen eloquently takes the conventional business idea of marginal thinking and applies it to personal…

Values: A Part of the Everyday

Our personal values relate to decisions we make every day. Even the most mundane according…

Do Your Values Actually Mean Something?

In this Harvard Business Review article, Patrick M. Lencioni discusses how constructing organizational core values…

Values and What We Do

It’s pretty easy to identify the values of a cultural organization or initiative. Most mention…

Cooking, peaches and tasting the arts

    I am a product of the slow food movement. Kind of. Maybe Diane…

What I Talk About When I Talk About Open (Education)

In late April, NAS attended the Open Education Global Conference 2015 in Banff, Canada. We…

Growing the Pie Together: Fostering Giving Networks in the Arts

Over the past nine months, I’ve witnessed something truly remarkable take shape: a network of…

Research, Reports & Real People Talking About the Arts (Oh My!)

There’ve been many great responses to today’s posts and there are so many smart people…

What’s the Matter with “Why the Arts Matter?” 

Arts Advocacy Day is an important event, to be sure. The arts do matter. But, chances are if you’re reading this you’re likely already a believer. Therein lies the problem… or at the very least an opportunity.

The Earthquake is Coming. How Do We Withstand it?

A soldier watches as a fiddler plays a tune in the ruins of Baalbek, Lebanon.…

The Courage to Fail

It’s not easy for most of us to fail. We grow up in a world of consequences and standardized tests and we frequently only have one good shot to get something right.