Impact Program for Arts Leaders

Innovation, entrepreneurial approaches, and change leadership in cultural organizations.

The goal of the Stanford Impact Program for Arts Leaders is to create a field-wide impact by developing cohorts of cultural leaders with a change mindset, while at the same time providing benefit to participants by enhancing their perspectives and abilities.

The program provides leaders in arts organizations with the opportunity to engage with Stanford faculty from multiple disciplines, gaining a framework in strategic planning, design thinking, collaborative leadership, and disruptive innovation.

The program targets established leaders who seek to develop new skills for leading change within arts organizations.


This program is organized by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.

Participant Feedback from 2017 Cohort

"In a word, transformational."

"This is an incredible opportunity ... and the combined power of the cohort's network and the GSB's thinkers can be transformational and very inspiring."
"This was a leadership retreat. A space to think, reflect, engage, and challenge assumptions amongst a group of highly intelligent and talented peers. I have thought of the learnings from these sessions often since my return. I feel so fortunate to have participated."
"LOVED this. Do MORE of this to help with leadership strategy, and how to lead while ensuring that you are having an impact on your community and being true to your art."

Participation is by nomination only.

For more information contact:

Ellen Oh
Director of Programs

Summer 2018 Program

Week of August 20th, 2018

  • One-week program.
  • Curriculum combines faculty sessions with hands-on, facilitated workshops in which participants can work through the ideas presented and analyze their application to cultural organizations.

2017 Program

This one-week program featured a curriculum that combined GSB faculty sessions with hands-on, facilitated workshops in which participants could work through ideas and analyze their application to cultural organizations. Topics explored included disruptive innovation, design thinking, and scaling.


2016 Pilot Program

Stanford launched a pilot of the program in August of 2016, featuring a condensed sample curriculum.

Eighteen nominated cultural leaders participated in the pilot. Participants were asked to consider the pilot as a prototype and provide feedback to help develop the next iteration of the program.

Participants were drawn from visual arts and performing arts organizations, and from for-profit as well as not-for-profit organizations.

Participant Feedback from 2016 Pilot

“The program was absolutely terrific!”

“It gave people a language and direction to solve problems and understand resources they could go to.”

“What we will take back to our organization for sure: openness and values being part of the everyday life of the institution.”

“It was a gift to be able to participate and the three days were transformative and mind-opening.”

“The collection of folks from various disciplines made for incredibly interesting conversations.”

“Extremely useful to step back from the day-to-day of the museum world to listen, learn, and consider how material shared in the various sessions might apply to my own organization.”

“Great faculty, great facilities, great group, and clearly indicated agenda and desired outcomes. Would have been great to have more opportunities to socialize, network, and work in small groups.”

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