Justina Crawford-Williams & Christina Oi Ying Nip: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Justina Crawford-Williams is a musician, educator and arts administrator dedicated to mentoring others to realize their potential. Christina Oi Ying Nip is passionate about community-based public health work who's happiest working in, with and for her community. Both are Creative Community Fellows. Creative/cultural work makes communities thrive. Creative/cultural work makes communities connect. Creative/cultural work makes communities healthy.   Summary … [Read more...]

Evaluating to Increase Impact

Photo by Jori Ketten

Evaluation appeals to my intense curiosity to figure out how and why things work and don’t work. Many high performing organizations that I have come to know generally use a combination of formal and informal evaluation to build learning loops towards increasing strategic success. That is, they hire experts to increase internal knowledge and staff capabilities and to work with them on particularly complex inquiries, where it is critical to understand the elements on which a program will fail or succeed. And, they look to their staffs to … [Read more...]

Mapping the Issues


How do you incorporate feedback from audiences, donors and other stakeholders to design a season, exhibit or service? This is a common question among cultural organizations striving to become more relevant and inclusive, and NAS is right there with them. Throughout The Chief Executive Program, we heard from leaders that they desired the time work together to find solutions to their toughest challenges. We knew that we wanted The Summit at Sundance to be the place for participants to do just that. Our task was to figure out the “how” – How do … [Read more...]

Tell me about a time…


Hearing about how our colleagues in the field address challenges can be extremely motivating and energizing. But sometimes, it’s hard to see how the steps one organization took can be translated to our own work. There’s no carbon copy solution to the issues facing the field but we can certainly benefit from understanding others’ experiences. What’s important is to find the key lessons that emerge from an experience rather than focus on the how-to of a particular example. At NAS, we love digging into stories from the field to find these learning … [Read more...]

How do cultural institutions balance being global and local?


Watch the following video featuring Mikel Ellcessor, General Manager of WDET in Detroit and a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders, in which he warns that social media can give us a false sense of connection. He also gives a suggestion for how to make meaningful connections in one's community.     Add your voice to the discussion. Use the comments below to weigh in with your thoughts on the effects of globalization on the cultural sector.   … [Read more...]

What are we doing here?

You are here.

Listening is an important aspect of our jobs in the arts and culture field. (It's good advice for anyone really.) We are always listening for feedback or new ideas that we can use to help improve our own work. The problem, of course, is that it's not always easy to separate the signal from the noise. My father used to say, "There's a great deal of talk that goes on but very little conversation." One of the perks of working at NAS is the frequent opportunity to listen to some incredibly bright and interesting people – my colleagues in this … [Read more...]