AES Awarded NEA "Access to Artistic Excellence" grant

January 2010
The UMass Arts Extension Service is pleased to announce that it was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts:  Access to Artistic Excellence grant in the First Round of FY2010 grants. The Arts Extension Service’s $35,000 award was part of those designated for Local Arts Agencies and will be used to develop and implement a new Local Arts Agency Fundamentals Training Series, a professional development series for local arts agency staff to be jointly developed by the Arts Extension Service and Americans for the Arts. 

The series will include the development of two day-long training sessions, as well as the associated workbooks specifically developed for this training.

“There are currently over 4,000 local arts agencies in the nation that are responsible for supporting and sustaining the arts in their regions and communities.  In the coming decade, the field is poised for a major shift as those currently holding leadership positions will retire.  The LAA Fundamentals Training Series—the first of its kind in the nation—will ensure that those who will are coming up the ranks will be prepared to step into local arts agency leadership positions with the necessary background and skills to successfully lead their organizations,” said Maren Brown, Director, Arts Extension Service, who is leading the project. 

The curriculum for the new series will be developed and piloted by a team of national local arts agency experts, including Randy Cohen, Vice President of Local Arts Advancement at Americans for the Arts, Washington DC; Maryo Gard Ewell local arts agency historian and consultant, Gunnison, CO.; and Dr. Craig Dreeszen, national local arts agency trainer and author from Florence, MA.  Training content will include an introduction to the field of local arts agencies, advocacy and communication skills, programming and other relevant subjects. 

The Arts Extension Service, founded in 1973, is a national arts service organization based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a mission to “develop the arts in communities and community through the arts with professional education for arts managers, artists and civic leaders.” AES is a leader in arts management research and scholarship and in developing resources that meet the needs of today’s arts managers. AES created the nation’s first online arts management certificate program, and now offers the only online bachelor’s degree in arts management in the country.  For more information, please visit or