Arts Management – Putting the ‘hip’ in Leadership and the ‘fun’ in Fundraising

Hi all,

Once again it is Kay, the 2012-2013 Student Ambassador of the Arts Management post-degree diploma program offered by Continuing Studies at Western.  This week’s blog will talk about two more of the courses taking place this semester: Strategic Leadership for the Arts and Funding for the Arts.  Here we go!

The first of the courses on today’s agenda is Strategic Leadership for the Arts.  In summary, this course offers an overview of leadership practices by discussing different leadership models and the many aspects that influence effective leadership.  In addition to addressing the various purposes and applications of being a leader, this course examines how the values and attitudes of the leader, the leader’s audience, and the organization’s overall culture each affect leadership behaviours and tactics.

This course is once again taught by Carol Kehoe.  If you would like to read a bit about her, check out my previous blog post here.

What is so incredibly interesting about Strategic Leadership for the Arts is that it discusses something that is frequently overlooked.  One of the first things stated at the beginning of this course is that, while oftentimes considered as inherent, leadership can in fact be taught.  It is through a combination of academic study and critical self-reflection that students are able to develop a clearer understanding of who they are and of how they can function as the most effective leaders possible.

The next course to discuss is Funding for the Arts.  Overall, this course introduces the various elements involved in the fund development process.  In addition to examining specific areas such as special events, donor appeals, sponsorships, grant writing, planned giving, and major gifts, this course explores how each of these components work together to create a unified fund development plan.

This course is instructed by Kathy Navackas, who is the Executive Producer and Co-Founder of the London Fringe Festival.  Boasting an impressive fundraising track-record, Kathy does not hesitate to share stories of her greatest successes and greatest failures in the domain of fund development (insert tale of the ‘progressive potties’).

Overall, Funding for the Arts provides an excellent introduction to the fund development principles, methods, and issues that students will need to know when entering into the workforce.  Culminating with the creation of a mock one-year fund development plan for a local arts organization, students are able to really dive into understanding what is required of an effective fund development plan (without the daunting fear).  One of this course’s highlights is that it offers first-hand learning opportunities by bringing in guest speakers (from the Palace Theatre, London Arts Council, London Heritage Council, London and Region Fundraising Executives, and more) to discuss specific areas of expertise in fund development.

If you have any questions about the Arts Management post-degree program, or suggestions about what you would like to read from me, please email me at with ‘Arts Management’ in the subject line.

Applications for the 2013-2014 program are now available! Go to to start the application process.

Next week: Saying hello and goodbye to first semester withBoards and Governance’ and ‘Marketing and Promotion for the Arts’


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