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 jointly organized by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and is part of the GSB’s Global Innovation Programs.

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.”

Summer 2017 Program

Week of August 21st, 2017

  • 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.
  • Topics to be explored include disruptive innovation, design thinking, and scaling.
  • Faculty include Neil Malhotra, Baba Shiv, Sarah Soule, Paul Oyer, and Brian Lowery.
  • A full schedule will be available early summer 2017.

Participation is by nomination only.

For more information contact:

Matthew Tiews
Associate Vice President for the Arts

2016 Pilot Program

Building on the Opportunity Assessment, 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.

Impact Program for Arts Leaders-11
Pilot Participants
Karim Baer
Executive Director
Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Janet Bishop
Thomas Weisel Curator of Painting and Sculpture
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Elizabeth Dee
Elizabeth Dee Gallery

Sarah Douglas
Editor in Chief

Alison Gass
Associate Director for Collections, Exhibitions, and Curatorial Affairs
Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

Gary Ginstling
Chief Executive Officer
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Sarah Hanson
Writing, editing, and content strategies

Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll
General Manager
Hubbard Street Dance

Kirstin Kapustick
General Manager
Chez Bushwick

Naima Keith
Deputy Director
California African American Museum

Charles Kim
Associate Publisher
Museum of Modern Art

Bernard Lagrange
Special Assistant to the CEO, Contemporary Art & Digital

Janet McKillop
Vice President for Development
J. Paul Getty Trust

Mark Niehaus
President and Executive Director
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Jane Saks
President and Artistic Director

Elizabeth Sullivan
Pace Palo Alto

Susan Sutton
Executive Director
Ballroom Marfa

Katie Wyatt
Executive Director

Pilot Observers and Program Team
Observers / Closing Discussants

Maxwell Anderson
Executive Director
New Cities Foundation

Arthur Cohen, Maggie Hartnick, Hil Moss
LaPlaca Cohen

Christy MacLear
Executive Director
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Gigi Pritzker Pucker
Odd Lot Entertainment

Josephine Ramirez
Portfolio Director
The James Irvine Foundation

Patrick Willingham
Executive Director
The Public Theater

External Instructors and Program Team

Matthew Israel
Curator at Large

Mary Ittelson
Ittelson Consulting

John Kieser
Executive Vice President and Provost
New World Symphony

Christine Kuan
Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York

Ellen Oh
Director of Professional Development & Student Activities
Stanford Arts

Matthew Tiews
Associate Vice President for the Arts
School of Humanities & Sciences,
Stanford University

Rob Urstein
Managing Director, Global Innovation Programs
Stanford Graduate School of Business

Program Development

In 2015-16, Stanford engaged arts strategy consultants LaPlaca Cohen to undertake a gap analysis of the field of cultural organizations, interviewing 16 arts leaders renowned for their innovation in order to assess the need and the opportunity for this program

  • Maxwell Anderson, Director of Grant Programs, New Cities Foundation; former Director, Dallas Museum of Art.
  • Katherine Brown, Executive Director, New York City Ballet.
  • Anita Contini, Program Lead, Arts & Culture, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
  • Thelma Golden, Director, The Studio Museum in Harlem.
  • Howard Herring, President & CEO, New World Symphony.
  • John Kieser, Executive Vice President and Provost, New World Symphony.
  • Karen Brooks Hopkins, Senior Fellow-in-Residence, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; former President, Brooklyn Academy of Music.
  • Matt Israel, Curator-at-Large, Director Emeritus & Advisor, Art Genome Project, Artsy.
  • Anne Pasternak, Director, Brooklyn Museum.
  • Josephine Ramirez, Program Director: Arts, Irvine Foundation.
  • Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute.
  • Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Olga Viso, Director, Walker Arts Center.
  • Randy Weiner, Founder, Emursive.
  • Patrick Willingham, Executive Director, The Public Theater.
  • John Yi, Founder, Resonant Works, LLC.