Americans for the Arts is dedicated to leadership development for all local arts agency (LAA) professionals and volunteers. LAAs are leaders in their local communities, often serving as the connectors between the arts, business, and government sectors. By strengthening an informed leadership of individuals and organizations in the field of LAAs, we help build environments in which the arts and arts education will thrive and contribute to more vibrant and creative communities. We provide resources, professional development, and networking opportunities for arts administrators at all levels of their career—from students to emerging leaders, from mid-careerists to veterans and board members.
While the majority of LAAs have full-time paid staff, many are staffed entirely by volunteers or employ only part-time staff. According to the 2010 Census of Local Arts Agencies:
- 58 percent of LAAs have at least one paid, full-time employee.
- 42 percent are entirely volunteer-staffed or have only part-time, paid employees.
- Among LAAs with at least one full-time paid employee, the average number of staff employed by LAAs is 4.8. Public, government LAAs employ an average of nearly twice as many full-time, paid employees as do private, nonprofit LAAs (7.4 and 3.8, respectively). The Census findings demonstrate that municipal LAAs tend to be located in larger communities and tend to have significantly larger operating budgets.
- The maximum number of full-time, paid employees reported is 63 for a municipal LAA and 35 for a private, nonprofit LAA.
From the December 2010 Monograph Local Arts Agencies 2010. [PDF, 578KB]
Networks and Interest Areas
Arts leaders need to address the many areas of impact the arts have on community development. We have developed several targeted networks and interest areas to address specific issues for constituent groups and to provide insight and direction for programs. They include:
- Arts Education Network
Learning and participation in music, dance, theater, and the visual arts are vital to the development of our children and our communities. Through advocacy, research, partnerships, and professional development, Americans for the Arts strives to provide and secure more resources and support for arts education through the Arts Education Network.
- Emerging Leaders Network
The Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network works to identify and cultivate the next generation of arts leaders in America. It is an ideal way for new leaders to share their interests with others as they continue to develop their skills and their commitment to the arts. The Emerging Leaders Network targets professionals who are either new to the field, with up to five years of experience, or are 35 years of age or younger.
- Public Art Network
Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) develops professional services for the broad array of individuals and organizations engaged in the expanding field of public art. Check out our upcoming professional development opportunities.
- United States Urban Arts Federation
The United States Urban Arts Federation (USUAF) is an alliance of the chief executives of local arts agencies in the nation's 60 largest cities and meets, advocates, and networks to discuss the social, educational, and economic impact of the arts in their regions.
- Private Sector Council
The Private Sector Council combines the efforts of the Arts & Business Councils, the Business Committee for the Arts, and the United Arts Funds, along with other local arts agencies that have increased private sector support for the arts as their goal.
- Local Arts Network
The Local Arts Network provides a forum for members to discuss the successes and challenges that local arts agencies face across the nation. This network includes a listserv that provides a platform for questions to and from the field about tools, resources, and professional development.
- Professional Development
Americans for the Arts designs its leadership development programs and tools for arts professionals based on where they are in their careers, the types of communities that they serve, targeted sectors within the field, and services that cross all three.
- National Arts Marketing Project Conference
November 9 – 12, 2012
The Westin Charlotte
- 2013 Annual Convention and Emerging Leader Preconference
June 14–16, 2013
Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Americans for the Arts has developed several research tools for leadership development, designed to help you prioritize your own personal professional development and what you as a local arts organization may consider offering as a service to your community.
- 2009 Emerging Leader Survey [PDF]
This survey outlines the individual professional development needs of emerging arts administrators who, at the time of this survey, had less than 10 years experience in the field.
- Local Arts Agencies (December 2010 Monograph) [PDF]
This survey indicates the size, scope, and programmatic offerings of local arts agencies across the country, and outlines their organizational needs.
- National Arts Index
The National Arts Index is an annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S.
Americans for the Arts offers numerous opportunities for the individual arts administrator to get involved in arts leadership at the national level, as well as tools and ideas for engaging your local community through the arts.
There are several Monographs devoted to leadership development:
- Cultural Diversity and the Local Arts Agency (2006 Monograph)
- Business Boomers Penetrate Arts Leaders (2005 Monograph)
- Local Arts Agencies: Crisis and Opportunity (2003 Monograph)
- Executive Compensation in the Nonprofit Sector: A Focus on Arts and Cultural Organizations (2002 Monograph)