Apply Now: The Incubator for Executive Leaders of Color 2024

Apply Now: The Incubator for Executive Leaders of Color 2024
Image Detail: Sarah Oppenheimer (Fellow in Craft/Sculpture '23); "S-334473;" 2019; Aluminum, steel, glass, and existing architecture; Photo Credit: Richard Barnes

Executive leaders of Color from arts and cultural organizations based in the five boroughs of New York City are encouraged to apply by Wednesday, March 13.

Through the generous support of the Altman Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to announce the fourth edition of The Incubator for Executive Leaders of Color, a free program that will provide leadership training and community support for up to 16-18 arts administrators from April 2024 to September 2024.

By fostering the professional development of leaders of Color, we aim to encourage the sustainability and success of their organizations, and the equitability and diversity of the arts industry.

NYFA will work with facilitators from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. The curriculum will be designed through the lens of inclusion and racial equity, and we will work diligently with partner organizations and external consultants to ensure that we meet the needs of our participants. In order to enhance the program outcomes, we are implementing the learnings of the first three editions generously supported by the Altman Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The goals of the program are:

  • Serve as an incubator for each individual’s leadership development.
  • Provide space to discuss issues specific to BIPOC leaders and move toward solutions.
  • Explore new models and trends in arts administration in New York City.
  • Increase participants’ influence on the arts and cultural organization for which they work, as well as the arts community as a whole.
  • Provide arts and cultural organizations with the means to sustain themselves long-term and thrive by training their current or future leadership staff with the core competencies they need for success.
  • Offer individual and group activities that strengthen arts leadership and networking.
  • Foster support and collaboration among participants.
  • Facilitate an opportunity to engage with a variety of leaders in the arts and spark new ideas.

Selected participants will benefit from:

  • A peer cohort-based learning model that relies on shared experiences to explore and develop a greater awareness of your personal leadership style.
  • Case studies, guest speakers, and group exercises that focus on purpose-centered leadership, including diversity, equity, and inclusion and decision-making frameworks.
  • Peer-to-peer exchange and transferable resources which will further develop your organization in the long term and better support the communities you serve.
  • Technical workshops related to HR management, strategic planning, fundraising, and board development.
  • Through NYFA’s arts leaders network and alumni, each selected participant can access a dedicated peer advisor for 6-8 hours during the program.

Mandatory Program Dates:*

  • Intro Meeting: Thursday, April 25, 10:00 AM–12:30 PM ET
  • Two-Day Intensives: Thursday, May 9-Friday, May 10, and Thursday, September 26-Friday, September 27, 10:00 AM–4:00 PM ET
  • Virtual Workshops: Thursdays, 10:00 AM–12:30 PM ET
    Dates: May 23, June 6, June 20, July 25, August 29, Sept 12
  • Incubator Mixers (suggested, but optional):
    • July 11
    • August 15

The program is designed to be hybrid. The two one-day intensives are planned to be held in-person, and check-in meetings and technical assistance workshops will take place online on Zoom. We continue to monitor Covid-19 and in-person meetings will be moved online if necessary.

*Attendance is mandatory for all sessions, so please check your calendar before applying.

How to Apply:

NYFA only accept applications through Submittable. First-time users will need to register with Submittable to access the application portal.

Application Opened: Tuesday, January 16
Application Closes: Wednesday, March 13, 11:59 PM EDT
Applicants Notified: On or before Friday, April 5


To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected]. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible or by Wednesday, February 21 to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application before the deadline.


  • Self-identify as a leader of Color.
  • Executive Leaders from non-profit arts and cultural organizations with all size budgets.** (i.e. Executive Director, Artistic Director, Deputy Director, Program Director)
  • Commitment to mandatory attendance to all sessions.
  • Open to participants from the five boroughs of New York City.

We acknowledge there are different organizational models in New York City, so if you have any questions about eligibility, please contact us at [email protected].


For the application, we ask you to provide:

  • Organization information (i.e. organization mission, focus, website, and operational budget).
  • Why you are interested in applying to this program and a list of goals relative to your leadership career path within the next 5+ years.
  • Your current role and responsibilities.
  • A particular challenge in your current organization that participating in this program could help you address.
  • A narrative bio of your professional career.
  • Contact details of a Board member or an Advisory committee member of your organization.**

**We will only contact them if you are selected into the program. This is to ask for their support for the time commitment involved.

Applications will be reviewed by alumni of NYFA’s Emerging Leaders program and outside executive professionals and local art leaders of Color.


Contact NYFA at [email protected] and include “The Incubator for Executive Leaders of Color” in the subject line.


This program came at a critical point in my journey into Executive Leadership. Having the cohort and the sessions at a time when I was experiencing a deep learning curve was extremely helpful to be navigating those deep waters. It was a breath of fresh air to meet with the group and gave me the energy, perspectives and tools to keep moving forward despite the challenges.

Candace Thompson-Zachery, Director of Programming and Justice Initiatives, Dance/NYC

What a powerful experience of centering my own growth as an arts leader! Each session expanded my foundation of leadership frameworks and built my confidence as a developing leader, and I built real bonds with peers in the incubator that have already resulted in programmatic partnering and organizational cross-pollination. Much gratitude for this incredible opportunity!

Rob Arnold, Executive Director, Poets House

This program is made possible with the support of Altman Foundationand is part of NYFA Learning, which includes professional development for artists and arts administrators. Sign up for NYFA’s free bi-weekly newsletter to receive updates on future programs.

Amy Aronoff
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