Art of Leadership

Art of Leadership is a training program delivered through a series of workshops to prepare business professionals to serve on the boards of arts and culture organizations. First established by Business for Culture & the Arts in 2003, Art of Leadership is now a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Led by internationally acclaimed arts consultant George Thorn, workshop sessions include expert speakers, interactive sessions with arts and business leaders and topical information about the challenges facing arts organizations of all sizes.

The program also provides networking lunches, opportunities for an internship to observe an arts board, and a “speed dating” event to meet with boards seeking new members.

Download a PDF summary of the Art of Leadership program here.

Register now for the 2016-17 Art of Leadership series!



The Art of Leadership program is a great example of how business and arts can benefit each other. Professionals who participate in the program learn how to be great board members, develop leadership skills, network with business and arts leaders, elevate their company’s visibility and get matched to an organizations closely aligned with interests and experienced. Arts and culture organizations connect with diverse prospective supporters, increase capacity with well-trained new board members and develop deeper connections with the business community.

Close to 500 have participated in the program over the past 14 years. Graduates of the Art of Leadership are currently serving on boards of organizations including the Portland Symphony, Milagro Theater, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Disjecta, Independent Publishing Resource Center, Geezer Gallery, and many others.


Schedule and Curriculum:

Each workshop includes lunch and is held at a different arts and culture venue in the Portland area one Wednesday a month, October through March, from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. The following is the proposed curriculum for the 2016-17 series:

Workshop #1 (October 5, 2016)

  • Orientation to the Program
  • The Region’s Cultural Scene
  • How Does an Arts Organization Operate?

Workshop #2 (November 9, 2016 )

  • The Role of the Nonprofit Board in Today’s Changing Environment
  • Non-Profit Nuts and Bolts
  • Responsibilities of Board Members
  • Board Composition, Size & Roles

 Workshop #3 (December 7, 2016)

  • Funding the Arts: Issues and Challenges
  • Development and Fundraising: Board Members’ Roles in Each
  • Fundraising: How Board and Staff Work Together to Ensure Success

Workshop #4 (January 4, 2017)

  • Fiduciary Duties & Legal Issues
  • De-Mystifying the Financial Reports of Nonprofit Arts Organizations

Workshop #5 (February 1, 2017)

  • Strategic Planning
  • What to Know About an Organization Before Joining
  • Budgeting and Planning for Today’s Economic Realities

Workshop #6/ Graduation and Organization “Speed Dating” (March 1, 2017)

  • Topic Discussions
  • Art of Leadership “Stellar Graduates” Panel
  • Mingle and “Speed Dating” with Arts and Culture Organizations




The $800 tuition fee includes all six workshops, five lunches, and an afternoon graduation reception.

For more information about Art of Leadership, contact Toni Tabora-Roberts,

Art of Leadership class of 2016

Above: Art of Leadership, class of 2016


Sponsorship Opportunities:

The Art of Leadership program would not be possible without the valuable support of our program sponsors. For more information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, including complimentary registrations for your employees,  contact Toni Tabora-Roberts,


The 2016-17 Art of Leadership series is sponsored in part by The Boeing Company


The graduation ceremony and reception on March 1 is sponsored by Columbia Trust Company


Art of Leadership is also sponsored by:

  • Barran Liebman
  • Columbia Bank
  • Perkins & Co.
  • Tonkon Torp LLP
  • U.S. Bank