National Guild For Community Arts Education

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Planning for Leadership Transition


Like other nonprofits, community arts education (CAE) organizations are facing a wave of change, as long-time leaders—often founders who have directed an organization for thirty years and more—retire. Transitioning to new leadership raises a range of issues that boards and leaders must address in order to safeguard the founder’s legacy, maintain the organization’s ability to serve its constituents, and enable it to evolve as needs change.

In the latest issue of GuildNotes, two CAE organizations offer examples of successful transitions handled in different ways. Community Music Center, San Francisco, CA, conducted a search for a new executive director after Stephen R. Shapiro informed the board that he planned to retire in just under two years. At the Philadelphia Folklore Project, Selina Morales became director in 2014, four years after being hired as program associate.

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Featured Member

Inner-City Arts’ mission is to use arts education to positively affect the lives of inner-city children, improving their chances to lead productive and successful lives by developing creativity, improving learning skills, and building self-confidence. Founded in 1989, Inner-City Arts is a learning oasis in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles where students tap into their creative potential and explore their imagination. Inner-City Arts offers free art instruction in a supportive, studio environment under the guidance of professional teaching artists in a variety of art forms: music, drama, dance, visual arts, ceramics, animation, graphic design, filmmaking, media arts, and theater, among others. Core services include studio sessions during the instructional day for grade K-6 students, afterschool and weekend workshops for teens and creativity-based professional development training for educators. Other program offerings include a five week Summer Creativity Camp and the state-of-the-art Rosenthal Theater, a dynamic exhibition space both for Inner-City Arts students and local community arts groups. Inner-City Arts’ programs improve academic achievement, creative expression, and the acquisition of English language skills for thousands of underserved youth each year.


This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.