Arts & Business Council of New York

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The Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY),[1] also known as Arts & Business Council, Inc., is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop more creative partnerships between the arts and business communities in New York, enhancing the business skills of the arts sector and the creative engagement of the business sector. ABC/NY accomplishes this mission through programming in volunteer development, professional development, and leadership development. ABC/NY, now a division of the national service organization Americans for the Arts, was formed in 1965 to join the resources of New York City’s arts and business communities in order to strengthen both sectors.

ABC/NY serves arts organizations of all disciplines (arts education, dance, design, film, literature, media, museums, music, theater, visual arts, etc.) and sizes (annual operating budgets of less than $100,000 to greater than $100 million), as well as businesses of all sizes across industry sectors, throughout the five boroughs of New York City and, when possible, throughout New York State.

ABC/NY’s programs and services draw on business-based skills, knowledge, and relationships to strengthen the management capacity and infrastructure of arts organizations. Activities include programs in volunteer development, professional development, and leadership development.


Volunteer development[edit]

Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA)[2] places businessmen and women with expertise in areas such as strategic planning, marketing, finance, IT, and human resources, as pro bono management consultants with nonprofit arts groups. ABC/NY staff recruit, interview, train, and match BVAs with organizations where each volunteer’s skills and interests will be of greatest use. The scope of each assignment is co-determined by the volunteer and the organization. Projects may be simple, such as editing marketing materials or reviewing a contract or lease, or more complex, such as creating a financial reporting system, helping develop a debt recovery package, or assisting with strategic planning.

Arts Board Recruitment/Training[3] strengthens the leadership capacity of nonprofit arts organizations. Potential board members are trained in governance, fiscal management, fundraising, and advocacy. This program also provides board development workshops for arts organizations, and ABC/NY staff interview and work with each arts organization to ensure it is prepared to effectively utilize its board members. As with the project-based BVA placements, ABC/NY is a matchmaker, introducing business people to arts organizations—for the benefit of both.

Leadership development[edit]

The Multicultural Arts Management Internship program[4] promotes diversity in administrative staffing, introducing undergraduates to career options with a business focus in the arts. Each year, a select group of students—with an emphasis on people of African-American, Asian-American, and Latino/a backgrounds—is matched with New York City arts organizations to complete summer-long, project-based internships in a variety of disciplines. Each intern is also paired with a mentor from the business community who has a passion for and involvement in the arts and who can provide additional career guidance and perspective.

Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA),[5] introduced in fall 2007, is the New York branch of a nationwide program[6] that targets arts professionals under 35 or with less than five years’ experience in the field. ELNYA provides these young professionals with opportunities to develop the contacts, skills, and knowledge they need to advance to senior leadership positions. This program offers social, professional development, and networking events, such as group discussions, panel Q&A, and an arts management book club, each planned and implemented by members. ELNYA’s emphasis on hands-on leadership leads to empowered arts administrators who will engage and advance the field with creative problem solving and sustainable management practices.

The Arts Leadership Institute (ALI)[7] offers executive education for mid-career arts managers who seek to succeed to and succeed in nonprofit arts executive director positions. ALI provides both technical management skill building(e.g. budgeting, planning, fundraising, and board development) and personal leadership development (self-assessment, communications, delegation, decision-making, and time management).

Professional development[edit]

ABC/NY helps arts organizations and individual artists to develop new audiences and earned income through a series of arts-specific marketing workshops on topics including branding, sponsorship, electronic communications, market research, and audience development and retention. These are complemented with a comprehensive marketing website[8] created by national staff, and an annual national conference.[9] ABC/NY also offers practical training for arts managers, business volunteers, and nonprofit arts board members in areas such as budgeting and financial analysis, fundraising, and human resources. In 2010, several Arts & Business Council professional development workshops were in partnership with The Foundation Center[10][11][12][13] and the Financial Women's Association.[14]

Cultural tourism and economic development[edit]

From 2000-2009, with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts,[15] ABC/NY's Cultural Tourism Initiative[16] provided funding and technical assistance to 93 grantees statewide[17] to support partnership-based projects that joined the arts community with travel, tourism, retail, and hospitality organizations to attract new visitors to, and stimulate economic development in, regions throughout the state and in neighborhoods in New York City outside of midtown Manhattan.[18][19]

In 2010, ABC/NY established a partnership with the Harlem Arts Alliance[20] to promote cultural tourism and economic development in Harlem. Promotions that combine arts and business offerings are offered weekly.[21]

Encore Awards[edit]

The annual Encore Awards[22] of the Arts & Business Council of New York celebrate success in all four of these programmatic areas. The Awards honor arts and business partnerships, creative business volunteers, and excellence in arts management; and the annual celebration is a major networking opportunity for New York’s arts and business communities.


  1. ^ Arts & Business Council of New York official website
  2. ^ ABC/NY Business Volunteers for the Arts web page
  3. ^ ABC/NY Board Services
  4. ^ ABC/NY Multicultual Arts Management Internship program
  5. ^ "Emerging Leaders of New York Arts official website". 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  6. ^ Emerging Leaders Network
  7. ^ Arts Leadership Institute official website
  8. ^ ", the Official Website of the National Arts Marketing Project". 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  9. ^ "National Arts Marketing Project Conference". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  10. ^ The Foundation Center, Training Opportunities: Budgeting for Those Who Would Rather Not Archived January 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ The Foundation Center, Training Opportunities: Volunteers Are Not Free: Building a Volunteer Program That Flourishes Archived April 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ The Foundation Center, Training Opportunities: Dialogue with Donors: Foundation Funding for the Arts[dead link]
  13. ^ "Philanthropy Front and Center - New York, ''Economic Development Is an Art, Not a Science''". 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  14. ^ Financial Women's Association, Development - How to Make a Non-Profit Survive Archived March 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "New York State Council on the Arts official website, past grants to ABC/NY". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  16. ^ ABC/NY Cultural Tourism Initiative
  17. ^ ABC/NY Cultural Tourism Initiative grantees
  18. ^ "Alliance for the Arts, ''News at the Alliance: Nine Cultural Tourism Grants Awarded". 2006-04-01. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  19. ^ "New York Folklore Society, list of allied heritage tourism organizations". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  20. ^ "Harlem Arts Alliance official website". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  21. ^ "Harlem Arts Alliance official website, ''Weekly Harlem Promotions''". Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  22. ^ ABC/NY Encore Awards

External links[edit]