Creative Courage

Between mid-2010 and early 2013, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at NYU Wagner partnered to develop the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Express Foundation.  The LDI brought together leaders from across the country to collaborate on essential leadership practices to help arts organizations adapt and thrive in unpredictable times.

The Program

After the 2008 economic crisis hit American arts organizations hard, the LDI brought together leaders from 12 diverse arts organizations looking to develop their individual and collective capacity and that of their organizations. The LDI focused on:

  • Building resilient visions and missions to adapt and endure — By learning from the past and making new narratives in moving forward, the LDI experimented with individual practices and experiences to collectively build valuable knowledge for the field.

  • Asking how arts leaders can engage their organizations, embody their missions, and foster resilience — This question emphasized the personal responsibility and efficacy of leaders. It was not to provide theoretical advice to others about what should be done but rather to discover what could be done. In doing so, the LDI uncovered insights that individuals throughout organizational hierarchies can use to strengthen their organizations.

The report “Creative Courage: Leadership Practices to Build Resilience and Vitality in Performing Arts Organizations” captures these lessons and serves as a continuing invitation to join us in building stronger organizations with greater impacts.


For more information on this research please contact Bethany Godsoe.