How have you engaged your staff to cultivate new leaders?

Staff Picks

NAS produces publications, videos and other management tools to inspire those working in the field to take a fresh look at their work and the challenges they face. Over the last few years we have amassed quite a large catalog of content. We’ve sent NAS staff members into the archives to pick their favorites and share them here. This week NAS Director, Dallas Shelby, shares one of his favorite NAS videos. Full disclosure: I conducted this interview. It was a fascinating chat, not only because I got to see the incredible artifacts in the … [Read more...]

Keep Talking About What Art Means

The Arts are Calling

When I say, "the arts" what does that mean to you? Where do you see arts in your community? Tell me about a moment you connected with the arts. Last week I challenged you to go out and ask folks in your community these three questions. We've already gotten a handful of responses. I even saw some folks sharing what their responses on social media. My manicurist April told me she has no time 4 art because she's busy creating costumes for an angel themed hair show #thatsart #NASadvocacy — Sunny Widmann (@sunnywidmann) March 21, 2015 (Thanks, … [Read more...]

Ask a Simple Question… or Three

The Arts are Calling

We've been hearing from folks who have tried out the three simple questions. They went outside and talked to people in their communities. Now, I challenge you to do the same. Go out this weekend and ask questions. Use ours or create your own. Share what you learn with us and with others. Tweet it (#NASadvocacy). Facebook it. Post it. Talk about it. But, most importantly listen to it. Again, here are my three simple questions: When I say, “the arts” what does that mean to you? Where do you see arts in your community? Tell me about a … [Read more...]

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

The Arts are Calling

There've been many great responses to today's posts and there are so many smart people already looking and thinking about how we might rethink advocacy. I wanted to list a few of the resources/examples that folks have shared with me over the course of the day. Please continue to share with me... and with others outside the arts.   Createquity Earlier this month, Createquity featured a post "A New Way to Think About Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Benefits of the Arts" in which they talk about a new report “Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood … [Read more...]

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

The Arts are Calling

Next week we celebrate Arts Advocacy Day. We come together as a field to lobby congress and talk about why what we do matters. Last year many of our staff even shared our thoughts on the value of the arts. 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.    What if we tried something different? (I'm not advocating that we stop lobbying congress, but...) What if we saw this … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking & Cultural Entrepreneurship

One of the perks of working at NAS is the number of incredible leaders we get to talk with on a regular basis. The last several weeks have been no exception. In fact, we've been talking and listening quite a bit. Part of the recruitment for our Creative Community Fellows program has been a series of conversations with young cultural entrepreneurs about their work and their communities. It's been an eye-opening experience. Next week we will begin to share some of the stories of these amazing leaders. Today we want to share what we learned from … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking: A Conversation


Let’s talk about creative placemaking. In those five words, I’ve probably lost the attention of 40% of our field. It’s likely about 25% are now busy rolling their eyes. Another 15% might be asking, “What is left to discuss?” Yes, in many ways creative placemaking has become an often-cited cultural sector panacea. And yes, it’s a great phrase for grant proposals (and who doesn’t relish a good grant proposal?). But seriously, let’s talk about creative placemaking. Forget for a moment the capital C, capital P proper noun. Let’s talk about … [Read more...]

Arts as an Engine of Unrest
Or, How the Arts Ruined a Perfectly Good Childhood

Art makes people happy. Lots of individuals and institutions are now looking at proving and understanding this link. To some it’s the holy grail of arts impact. Who doesn't want to feel good? Well… I don’t. Or, at least I don’t think that’s where the real power of the arts lies. For me, the arts matter because of their ability to do just the opposite. I was raised in a tiny farming community in Northern Arkansas. We didn’t have a symphony. We didn’t have a museum. We didn’t have much “Art” to speak of. If forced to name the town’s cultural … [Read more...]

Why the Arts Matter

The Arts are Calling

In honor of Arts Advocacy Day, we at NAS wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and share our own thoughts on why the arts matter? Throughout the week, we will add posts by members of the team. We invite you to add your thoughts as well. … [Read more...]

Solving Field-wide Problems Together

How do we engage collaborators in shaping our institutional agendas? How do we create 21st century boards? How do we develop transformational employees and systems? How do we maximize the field’s value in the eyes of the public?   Answer: Together.   Last year, NAS brought the participants of The Chief Executive Program together at an ideation conference to collectively work on solutions to the four problems listed above. We shared our framing of those issues here in hopes of starting a conversation about them. Now, we want to … [Read more...]