Arts Leadership Forward

The staff of A Reason to Survive (ARTS)A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is a nationally recognized, full service arts agency for youth. The organization’s highly cross-generational and demographically diverse workforce exemplifies the opportunities and challenges inherent in sustaining thriving arts organizations that reflect and serve our rapidly changing society. Pictured from left to right are Ana Fernanda Arguilez, music teaching artist; Destinee Isaac, alumni teaching artist, visual arts; Matt D’Arrigo, founder/CEO; Karen Chen, marketing & communications coordinator; and Jaime Equihua, volunteer coordinator & community outreach. (Photo credit: Leah Fasten).

Arts leaders are being asked to reflect and respond to unprecedented generational and demographic change in the field and the wider society. New economic pressures, increased professionalization of the field, and generational differences in how individuals perceive and practice leadership are just some of the reshaping the arts leadership landscape. How individuals and organizations respond are critical to the arts remaining vibrant and relevant to the communities they serve. The Hewlett Foundation believes that the nonprofit arts field as a whole must reimagine how it understands and makes investments in its leaders in order to ensure its continued vitality.

Building on six years of work that helped to better prepare and retain emerging arts leaders as well as research highlighted in the report Moving Arts Leadership Forward, in 2015 the Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program recast how it invests in the field’s most important asset: arts leaders at every stage of their careers.

The goal of Arts Leadership Forward is to contribute to a strength­ened arts ecosystem —  one that embraces cross-generational leadership and advances the shared values of di­versity and innovation. Our grantmaking supports the development of individual career pathways, builds capacity for distributed leadership, and fosters the shared values of diversity and innovation.

Current grantee partners include: