Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Americans for the Arts logo

After six months of hearing candid feedback from the field and internal planning, Americans for the Arts is set to begin the next phase of the Strategic Realignment Process toward redefining its unique role as a service organization to the arts and culture field and the public good. President and CEO Nolen V. Bivens announced that in recognition of the scope of the Strategic Realignment Process—as well as the need for varied expertise, perspectives, and experiences that have historically been absent from our strategic planning in the past—the organization has prioritized resources to engage the services of three consulting organizations to support the process.

  • Arts Consulting Group is a robust, multi-identity team led by Mario Garcia Durham, Calida N. Jones, and Douglas R. Clayton, who provide expertise in strategic realignment; environmental analysis; network mapping; and vision, mission, and goal alignment. Arts Consulting Group’s depth of experience and dedication to the nonprofit landscape—arts and culture organizations and services in particular—with an integrated focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and success (IDEAS), will be vital to the development of the Strategic Realignment Process framework.
  • The Hewlin Group’s Jay Hewlin and Katerina Yiannibas have supported Americans for the Arts since 2020, including supporting our deep internal organizational reflection and working with the Racial and Cultural Equity Task Force. They have established Americans for the Arts’ internal “Workplace Culture Rebuild” initiative, which aims to improve organizational processes, policies, and procedures through a methodology that is designed to emulate and to promote a people-first culture. The Hewlin Group’s continued involvement in workplace development and their focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will provide essential continuity to both the Strategic Realignment Process framework and the blueprint for healing.
  • Hope Nation, led by Stephanie Gutierrez (Oglala Lakota) and Cecily Engelhart (Ihanktonwan & Oglala Lakota), will ensure the Strategic Realignment Process centers the necessary healing and rebuilding of trust with our constituents. They will put into place the resilient mechanisms of justice, equity, and safety that are developed mindfully and collectively, and establish a future-forward blueprint to support Americans for the Arts in developing authentic and reciprocal relationships beyond the nine-month scope of this process. Hope Nation’s exemplary and thoughtful work with Indigenous and BIPOC communities will be invaluable to the Strategic Realignment Process.

Together, these teams will guide Americans for the Arts through building a framework for the future as well as establishing a foundational blueprint for healing—a process that enables the organization to be vulnerable and open to change while letting go of historic practices and behaviors.

Input from the field and constituents also will be vital to this work. Starting in the new year, more information will be shared on opportunities for external engagement through virtual town halls, focus groups, and convenings with members and key constituent groups, as well as soliciting responses via short online surveys and open-ended commentary. Visit the Strategic Realignment Process web portal to learn more about the consultants and to stay updated on the latest news and opportunities related to the Strategic Realignment Process.