Creative Leadership


We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.
—Whoopi Goldberg

The Creative Leadership Lab at Sundance

The The ALLIANCE National Leadership Institute, now in its sixteenth year, has served the field by providing a transformative experience and safe space for both emerging and veteran arts leaders to disconnect from day-to-day routines, connect with core values, and combine relevant leadership theory with hands-on practice in a context of mutual learning and peer support.

On Monday July 11 – Thursday July 14, 2016.The National Leadership Institute will relaunch as the The ALLIANCE Creative Leadership Lab and moves operations to the Redford Center at the Sundance Resort and Conference Center. We are excited to announce a new partnership with facilitator Gibran Rivera from the Interaction Institute for Social Change and an intentional focus on creative vision, collective impact and collaboration.

Sixteen media and visual arts leaders will be invited to join with an inspiring group of mentors and advisors at Sundance to explore our capacity for true leadership from a creative perspective, break through the barriers that impede our ability to listen, lead and effect change, and build a network of relationships that can nurture individual artists, bolster organizations and catalyze social movements. More information about the program and applications for the Lab will be available February 15. You must be a The ALLIANCE member to apply.

Program Background

For the last 16 years, the The ALLIANCE National Leadership Institute has successfully developed and encouraged visionary, intergenerational leadership in the arts. Leveraging the past, addressing the current needs of the field, and looking towards a sustainable future — the The ALLIANCE National Leadership Institute will re-launch as the The ALLIANCE Creative Leadership Lab in Monday July 11 – Thursday July 14, 2016.. We think the idea of a Lab communicates a hands-on participatory experience, a vibrant creative collaboration and the spirit of experimentation and risk. We have infused the program with new approaches and fresh perspectives, but the goals are the same – to seed a an intergenerational community of artists and arts leaders with dynamic strategies and tools to connect more deeply with audiences, communities and each other, and to effectively demonstrate and celebrate the power of the arts as an engine of personal, social and cultural transformation.

Let’s do this.

What is The Creative Leadership Lab?

The The ALLIANCE Creative Leadership Lab is an intensive four-day residency for 18 arts leaders that will take place at the Sundance Resort on Monday July 11 – Thursday July 14, 2016.. The Lab will be an immersive experience and safe space for mid-career and veteran arts leaders to identify and excavate the challenges and obstacles to visionary creative leadership, explore practical approaches to collaboration, innovation and resilience, share strategies for collective impact, and find inspiration and support in a responsive peer network. In collaboration with Interaction Institute for Social Change facilitator Gibran Rivera, the The ALLIANCE Creative Leadership Lab advisor/mentor team includes Executive Director Wendy Levy, Race Forward’s Melinda Weekes, Macky Alston from Auburn Seminary and Leadership Institute Director Paula Manley from Learning Commons. After the Lab, peer coaching and leadership circles will be available for all participants, along with opportunities to develop and lead core programs at the next The ALLIANCE National Conference.

What are the Costs?

Thanks to generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Warhol Foundation, if you are invited to the Lab, all costs are covered. This includes transportation to the Sundance Resort, catered meals and beautiful private accommodations. We ask that nonprofit organizations cover fulltime staff salaries during the Lab, and if possible, that all participants are members of The ALLIANCE. But no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Who Should Apply?

The Lab is designed for artists and arts administrators who are in positions of leadership within nonprofit organizations, arts collectives, and arts and culture institutions, or unaffiliated artists who serve as leaders for local or digital creative communities. The Lab is geared towards experienced and emerging staff leaders at all levels, especially those interested in creating more sustainable, multi-generational and multicultural organizations. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • • Executives and Managers
  • • Program Coordinators
  • • Educators and Outreach Associates
  • • Communications Strategists and Online Community Managers
  • • Development Officers
  • • Curators and Programmers
  • • Teaching Artists

The ALLIANCE seeks to identify a diverse group of participants who represent a mix of mid-career and established leaders nationally. We will select a cohort who we feel will benefit the most from the Lab experience, who are willing to collaborate, who are open to rigorous exploration of new ideas, and who have the potential to contribute significantly to advancing the arts field. There will be a mix of leaders from media arts, visual arts and related disciplines.