Our Response to Common Challenges

How does the DeVos Institute design its training programs for managers and their boards?

The DeVos Institute’s programs focus on four key elements to foster growth among arts managers and board members:

  • Delivery – Effective training must be based in, and tested by, real work conditions. The Institute’s programs deliver a practical approach that provides training on-the-job, utilizing a curriculum developed by practitioners for practitioners.
  • DurationCapacity building takes time. The Institute’s programs are iterative, multiyear initiatives that provide a long-term settings in which to learn, absorb, debate, respond, try, adapt, innovate, collaborate, and return to discuss what worked and what didn’t. 
  • Content – The Institute’s training is rooted in a simple, but comprehensive, methodology known as the Cycle, developed through decades of observation and management of arts organizations. The Institute's approach is defined by four “pillars”: (1) great art, which, (2) marketed aggressively, produces a (3) “family” of supporters (donors, volunteers, board members, ticket-buyers, etc.) that, properly stewarded, produce the (4) revenue to create more great art the next year. 
  • Participants – Organizational change requires the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders, which is why the DeVos Institute's programs encompass the manager, the board, and the community. Moreover, community change requires a common vocabulary and shared strategy. Over time, the Institute is building meaningful concentrations of like-minded managers in key arts ecologies, urban and rural, around the globe.

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