Priscilla Block Chosen for NAS Chief Executive Program

National Arts Strategies Announces Leaders Chosen to Participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture

September 1, 2016 – St. Louis ArtWorks is pleased to announce that its Executive Director, Priscilla Block, has been chosen as one of 50 exceptional leaders in the fourth and final class of National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture brings together an international cohort of 50 CEOs who are working to lead change in their organizations, communities and in the cultural field.

The selected executives come from outstanding institutions of all sizes and disciplines. They are united by the presence of deep community roots. They are working on initiatives such as creating new narratives on rural culture and supporting, advancing and developing Pacific Island media content – and so much more.

Over the next year, these executives will be supported in their work through the introduction of different approaches from outside their sector, a range of analytical frameworks and an international, cross-disciplinary network of allies and collaborators. They will travel to Harvard Business School and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business where they’ll be introduced to tools they can use year after year to help put their great ideas into action. They will work with and learn from each other, forming a community of practice as they join The Chief Executive Program alumni network of nearly 200. They will continuously explore, reflect upon, apply and share all that they are learning.

Participants in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected through a highly competitive recruitment process to identify 50 top cultural leaders from around the world whose organizations work closely with communities – as defined by the applicant. The leaders chosen to participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected from a wide range of cultural forms, locations, perspectives and experience levels. These executives have proven themselves to be effective, innovative, collaborative and curious and were chosen from a pool of over 150 open applications from 34 states and 18 countries.

The program’s director, Sunny Widmann says, “We were overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of applications to this fourth and final cycle of the Chief Executive Program. Our aim was to create a cohort in a way that maximizes learning opportunities — so that each leader benefits from a new international, cross-disciplinary network. Together with our partners at Harvard Business School and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, we’re thrilled to share knowledge with and learn from this incredible group of change agents in the cultural sector.”

This program is the result of the incredible support from The Kresge Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America and The Chief Executive Fellowship Fund Honoring Ken Fischer. The partnerships of Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business make this work possible. Additional information about The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture is available at


About National Arts Strategies National Arts Strategies (NAS) strengthens the arts and culture sector by creating meaningful and useful educational experiences for leaders at all levels of the ecosystem – from boards and CEOs to entrepreneurs and artists – giving them the tools, connections and support to transform their leadership, their organizations and their communities. Over our 30-year history, we have worked with thousands of people to build management and leadership capacities. Our model is to build connections that have a high level of trust and that are both deep and broad: we work closely with individual communities and connect local leaders with a broad and diverse network of likely and unlikely allies from across the globe. Our approach brings concepts and frameworks from outside the sector to bear on the seemingly intractable problems that arts leaders face every day. We partner with faculty from top-tier universities who excel in both researching and teaching to deliver programs such as the Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture, Creative Community Fellows, the Senior Management Institute and the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy.