BARRY'S BLOG RANKING OF THE TOP 25 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN THE NONPROFIT ARTSHello everybody.
"And the beat goes on..........................."
WHO ARE THE MOST POWERFUL, INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN OUR FIELD????
Who sets our agendas, who controls the purse strings, who frames the dialogues? Which leaders are the most respected and highly-regarded? Who are our trend-setters, our taste-makers, our best thinkers, and established power brokers?
Below is the first annual Barry’s Blog’s Ranking of the Nonprofit Arts Sector’s 25 Most Powerful and Influential Leaders.
Is this important? Yes, in many ways it is, because these people largely determine how the debates in our sector are framed and what the agendas will be. They are the people who control much, if not most of the money, and decide where the funding goes (at least in broad swatches), what issues should be on the front burner, and what we talk about when we meet. They influence our goals and objectives, our priorities and the positions we take – and even the way we do things. In large part, they are our most experienced and knowledgeable people.
These are the people that are our public face – more often than not, those who the public sees when they think about the nonprofit arts sector’s leadership, and they are the people who, by and large, intersect with other interest groups and sectors – nonprofit, ‘for profit’ – and government. They are our spokespeople and our strategists; our thinkers and our analysts; they are the ones with influence and power. Our leadership. And ultimately they answer to us; it is 'we' who must hold them responsible.
We have no “Who’s Who” in the nonprofit arts sector, and I wanted to identify who the major movers and shakers in our field are, and indirectly identify what constitutes “power” in our field. I wonder if “power” is equitably distributed in the arts field – Geographically? Discipline wise? Gender wise? Diversity wise? I wonder about the impact and consequences of power centered where it is, exercised by those who wield it? These are legitimate inquires for us to address. I hope this list will spark discussion of the wider concept of power and influence within our field – where it is concentrated, who wields it, how it is being used and for what purposes.
I asked 75 leaders from all parts of our sector and all parts of the country – from large and small organizations – national, regional and local – and from every discipline and demographic to send me their nominations for the most powerful and influential leaders in our field. The process was anonymous and none of the nominators knew the identity of any of the other nominators. All were free to nominate anyone they thought qualified, including themselves (the only caveats being: 1) this was about arts administration and organizational leadership, and so I asked that we leave artists off this list (that’s a whole other ranking), and 2) that I was ineligible – not that I expected anyone would mention my name in any event).
Nominees could come from any area within our field. Their power and influence could come from their position, who they are, what they have done, how long they have been in the field, how highly they are respected, the fact that they control purse strings (or grants in our case) or whatever criteria the nominator choose.
Each nominee needed to have the capacity to exert influence in, and on, our field (either as a whole or on some distinct section therein) – how we arrive at policy, what agendas are set, who is considered an expert or not, what research is important, where money is spent, how we fundraise and market etc. etc. etc. Some nominees may be universally highly respected, others may have more than their share of detractors – the criteria is power and influence – not popularity. This really wasn’t a beauty contest. Nominators might strongly disagree with someone but still recognize that the person is powerful and influential.
45 of those I asked for names responded and while this was by no means anything other than a subjective exercise, there was a fair representation of our sector in terms of who responded. I then asked five people to help me prioritize the names of those nominated, and the result is the final list below.
This list is, of course, incomplete and flawed. It is just an attempt to identify who is perceived as being powerful within our small world. No insult is meant to anyone whose name is not on the list, and I am sure there are any number of people whose names should be on the list.
Here then is Barry’s Blog’s 25 Most Powerful & Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts:
(Note: There is a “Bubbling Under” section listing other leaders in our field who didn’t quite make the list but very well might have).
TOP 25 MOST POWERFUL & INFLUENTIAL NONPROFIT ARTS SECTOR LEADERS:
1. BOB LYNCH - PRESIDENT & CEO OF AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS
Consensus number one on majority of responses. Flush with cash from the Ruth Lily gifts, Bob has guided expansion of Americans for the Arts initiatives into advocacy, business, research, alliances, arts education, marketing and emerging leadership – building the nation’s largest and strongest arts service provider organization. Clearly the premier spokesperson for the arts sector in America. His seemingly laid- back, diplomatic style belies real ambition for the organization. A true political player – smart, savvy, and boundless enthusiasm.
2. MARION GODFREY – PEW FOUNDATION
Highly respected senior foundation leader much in demand for her thinking acumen and big picture analytical skills. Depth of experience adds to her bona fide creds. She is a voice of authority.
3. BEN CAMERON - DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION
Former TCG head now at Doris Duke Foundation. Power and influence come from oratory skills and keen analytical insights. Much in demand speaker. Huge network of fans. When he speaks, people listen.
4. DICK DEASEY – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARTS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP
Long standing arts education leader. Knows the arena as well or better than anyone. Gets out into the field rather than staying office bound. If arts education is, in reality, a separate and distinct sector, he is the head man.
5. ALAN BROWN – PRINCIPAL WOLF BROWN CONSULTING
Likely the most respected independent consultant in the whole arts & culture field. Hugely influential. Respected by arts organizations, funders, artists and other consultants. Current guru of audience development theories.
6. SAM MILLER – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LINC (LEVERAGING INVESTMENT IN CREATIVITY)
Pioneer in the burgeoning area of direct artist services. Persuasive case maker, detailed thinker. Very focused. Global traveler and large network of contacts. . Both smart and realistic. Bringing the artist to the decision making table.
7. CLAIRE PEEPS – DURFEE FOUNDATION
Though the Durfee Foundation based in Los Angeles is relatively small, her position as Chair of the Board of Grantmakers in the Arts has given her a large platform and influential voice in helping to shape Foundation agendas. Well liked. Term over soon.
8. DANIEL WINDHAM - WALLACE FOUNDATION
MOY ENG - HEWLETT FOUNDATION
TIM MCCLIMMON – AMERICAN EXPRESS FOUNDATION
SUE COLITON – PAUL ALLEN FOUNDATION
Four prominent leaders of Foundations with arts programs, each with large agenda, huge budget and lengthy experience in the field. Strategic thinkers. Closely watched by other foundation leaders.
9. DANA GIOIA – CHAIR NEA
Chair of NEA always in the Top Ten due to huge impact of funding in rural states and broad grants budget. Bully pulpit used well. Was effective in increasing NEA budget via working well with Congress. As his term is nearly over, his stock is now fading. Lame duck status.
10. JONATHAN KATZ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NASAA
Long time leader and voice of state arts agencies. Wide network and deep experience. Understands the issues in depth; helps set agendas and priorities. Affable personality makes him accessible and well thought of.
11. ANDREW TAYLOR – BOLZ CENTER FOR ARTS ADMINISTRATION / UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – MADISON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Probably the most influential blogger in the arts administration field. Travels to conferences extensively. The voice of university arts administration programs by virtue of his being President of the Association of Arts Administration Educators Enormously influential.
12. CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER
CONGRESSMAN NORM DICKS
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
Slaughter & Dicks are the voice of the arts in Congress and the major forces behind protection of, and expansion of the budget of, the NEA. Mayor Bloomberg is the political protector of the arts in New York, and widely respected among the nation’s Mayors.
13. ELI BROAD
Very active Los Angeles and New York philanthropic leaders, representative of the small class of very wealthy donors across the country who use their wallets to leverage local community support. Usually confine their largess to the major cultural institutions and are one reason for the health of many of those organizations. Patronage isn’t dead yet.
14. ANNE KATZ - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARTS WISCONSIN / CHAIR STATE ARTS ACTION NETWORK
Head honcho of the fledging State Local Arts Agency field, and point person in charge of the advocacy efforts. Locals continue to function as hubs in communities across the country and still wield considerable power in the aggregate. There remains a wealth of street smart experience in those organizations, and their power remains somewhat untapped.
15. LAURA ZUCKER - LOS ANGELES ARTS COMMISSION
MICHAEL SPRING - MIAMI DADE CULTURAL COUNCIL
PEGGY AMSTERDAM – GREATER PHILADELPHIA ARTS & CULTURE ALLIANCE
LEE KESSLER –ARTS & SCIENCE COUNCIL - CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG
Best of the Class of Local Arts Agency leaders from Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte respectively. Each a respected, experienced leader on both the local and national fronts. Each noted for their ability to get the job done.
16. ARNIE FISHBAUGH – MONTANA ARTS COUNCIL
KRIS TUCKER – WASHINGTON STATE ARTS COMMISSION
PHILIP HORN – PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL ON THE ARTS
Long time senior State Arts Agency leadership representative of rural, mid- sized and large states.
17. MARIALAURA LESLIE - MIAMI DADE COUNTY DEPT. OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHANNON DAUT - WESTAF
DAVID DOMBROSKY - Director of Center for Arts Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon
Representative of the best and brightest of the next generation of arts leadership. Smart, savvy, insightful with new ideas to address old problems. The future.
18. KEVIN MCCARTHY - RAND CORPORATION
MARGARET WYSZMIRSKI – OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.
The two premier, long established researchers in the arts field. Their work is rigorous, academic and sets the standard for inquiry into the measurable aspects of arts evaluation and research. Their studies invariably set agendas and spur debate..
19. RICHARD FLORIDA – PROFESSOR CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY / AUTHOR
The Rise of the Creative Class and its’ implications for our field continues to provoke dialogue and controversy. A real life hero to the field, which has understandably embraced Florida’s thesis wholeheartedly. Taught the arts a new vocabulary and armed them with a big arrow for their quiver. Has become an icon.
20. NINA OZLU, RANDY COHEN, GARY STEUER - AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS
The highly energized, loyal and capable backup team for Bob Lynch at Americans for the Arts. They strategize, implement and are largely the ones behind the research, advocacy / lobbying, public policy and business & the arts initiatives of AFTA. A better team can’t be found.
21. CORA MIRIKITANI DIRECTOR CENTER FOR CULTURAL INNOVATION
DONNA WALKER KUHNE - INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT
BARBARA SCHAFFER-BACON - INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT
Three of the more prominent and highly regarded thinkers / consultants in the field. Cora, formerly the head of the Irvine Foundation Arts Program is the west coast counterpart to Sam Miller in the movement to provide services to, and build a community within, the artist field. Donna is the field’s major domo in diversity audience research. Barbara is long standing big picture thinker.
22. PATRICE WALKER POWELL – DEPUTY DIRECTOR NEA
BILL IVEY – DIRECTOR CURB CENTER OF ART, ENTERPRISE & PUBLIC POLICY
NEA current deputy and long respected among the nation’s arts organizations, and the most active of the former NEA Chairs. Patrice knows everybody, and Bill (very successful author and speaker) heads the Curb Arts & Culture think tank at Vanderbilt University.
23. LOIS WEISBERG - COMMISSIONER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS – CITY OF CHICAGO?
Long an institution (and still active) in the Chicago Arts scene, if Obama wins she may see a dramatic rise in her star.
24. ANNE IMELDA RADICE – INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM & LIBRARY SCIENCES
MARC SCORCA - OPERA AMERICA
D.C. based umbrella organization heads with influence beyond their own constituencies.
Very likely the MOST influential and powerful people in our sector are all the unknown local arts administrators, leaders, volunteers and supporters who toil long and hard with little acknowledgment or thanks. Whether you know it or not, each of you wield enormous power and influence within your communities, and in the aggregate you are the backbone and the core of the entire sector. YOU are the one that really has the power to set our agendas, determine our priorities, craft our strategies and approaches and guide our actions. YOU are our public face and voice and the direct connection between our sector and all of those we work and intersect with every day, and it is YOU that will, in the final analysis, determine our future.
FOUNDATION LEADERS: John McGuirk – Irvine Foundation
Rory McPherson – Wallace Foundation
Olive Mosher – Penn Foundation
John Killacky – San Francisco Foundation
STATE / REGIONAL ARTS LEADERS: Anthony Radich – WESTAF
David Fraher – Arts Midwest
Alan Cooper – Mid-Atlantic Arts Federation
Gerry Coombs – Southern Arts Federation
Rebecca Blunk – New England Foundation for the Arts
Bob Booker – Arizona Commission on the Arts
Mary Regan – North Carolina Arts Council
Randy Rosenbaum – Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
CITY ARTS LEADERS: Olga Garay – Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
Jonathan Glus – Houston Arts Alliance
UMBRELLA GROUPS: Henry Fogel – American Symphony Orchestra League
Andrea Snyder – Dance USA
EMERGING LEADERS: John Arroyo – LA County Arts Commission
Amanda Ault – National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture
Have a great week-end.
And remember, Don't Quit!