The James Irvine and William and Flora Hewlett foundations have announced grants totaling $740,000 to organizations working to cultivate the next generation of arts leaders in California through professional development, networking, and mentorships.
Research conducted by both foundations found that the state's arts sector will face critical leadership challenges over the next ten to fifteen years as the baby boom generation retires. Although there is a good supply of mid-career arts managers able to fill vacated positions, most arts organizations lack the resources for training and other forms of professional development that will better prepare promising young leaders to become effective nonprofit executives.
To address the issue, Irvine awarded grants totaling $400,000 and Hewlett awarded a total of $340,000 to a number of organizations, including San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals (through the network's fiscal sponsor, Intersection for the Arts), GenArts Silicon Valley (through its fiscal sponsor, 1stACT Silicon Valley), and the Creative Capacity Fund at the Center for Cultural Innovation. In addition, Irvine awarded a grant to the San Diego Foundation for its San Diego Emerging Leaders of Arts and Culture program.
"The sector's future depends in part on its ability to retain and cultivate talented young arts professionals so that they can more effectively move into leadership roles in the coming years," said Irvine Foundation president and CEO James E. Canales. "This will require a commitment not just on the part of funders such as Irvine, Hewlett, and hopefully others, but also on the part of arts organizations themselves to make leadership development among their highest priorities."