Key Terms

1. Cultural Heritage Organizations (“culture keepers”): We understand the work of cultural heritage as “culture keeping”. That is, community organizations, arts institutions such as museums, and other organized communities of culturally-specific groups who are committed through their own voice, to the intentional documentation, origination, circulation, innovation, and service to all formations of visual and material art, respective artifacts, community rituals, and history.

2. Interconnected Ecosystem: We understand an “interconnected ecosystem” as a hub for all things possible. This may include but is not limited to an exploration of cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation within and amongst the I) individual, II) organizational, and III) sectoral levels. A framework that works towards an interconnected ecosystem to support developmental growth and organizational sustenance both within and across all levels of your art institution as well as opens up the opportunity to consider collaborations across complementary sectors.

How is the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) committed to equity and diversity?

Strategic Solutions for Cultural Leadership, the umbrella program under which CLCL and RE-TOOL 21 are offered, has explicit objectives to:

  • Strengthen the cultural sector by building the capacity of small, neighborhood and culturally specific arts organizations through leadership and organizational development
  • Actively support the development of a more equitable and diverse cultural ecosystem by creating a talent development pathway to diversify leadership within formal and informal arts institutions

We invite you to also look at SAIC's website to find out more information about the schools commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

How are you defining leader? Who in our organization is eligible to apply for CLCL as the lead participants (Convening I, Convening II, Convening III)?

The leadership development convening (I) and subsequent convenings are for executive leaders and/or co-leaders (if operating through democratic models) of small to mid-sized arts and cultural organizations with a minimum of two years of leadership experience. However, there is some flexibility as to who is considered a leader participant. For example, if the current executive director is in the process of implementing a transition strategy for themselves, the assistant executive or other staff deemed (by the participating organization) to be most aligned, is invited to apply.

What materials and supplies are provided during the program?

Readings, supplies, and internet access (Wi-Fi) are provided. However, we do not have access to laptops or computers during the workshop sessions.

Will I receive a certificate upon completion of the program?

Yes. Participants and organizations will receive a certificate of completion.

What are the completion requirements?

  1. MUST attend all convening weekend intensives
  2. Participate in supplementary online learning, coaching sessions, and small cohort discussions
  3. Develop a summary action plan to implement the learning of the program with team and community
  4. Develop a brief presentation to share with colleagues during Convening III (final session)
  5. Complete and submit the program evaluation to support its refinement

Do I have to work in a 501(c)(3) organization to be eligible to apply?

No. Organizations do not have to have a 501c3 status. However, to be considered, organizations must have a community-driven and/or site-specific, neighborhood-based focus and mission. will be strongly considered for this program.

Is there a budgetary limitation for qualified organizations?

No. There is no budgetary limitation for eligible organizations. However, applicants representing smaller to mid-sized organizational structures will be strongly prioritized for consideration in this program.

Will I be required to pay tuition or fees?

No. CLCL is being offered to participating organizations at no cost through generous support from the Joyce Foundation, and underwritten by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

What is funded by the program?

CLCL includes all related residency training, professional development, and supplementary coaching during Convening I and Convening II sessions. Assuming tentative in-person gathering for Convening III (Spring 2021) the following will be covered as a participant of CLCL. Meals during the program: breakfast, lunch, and afternoon coffee are provided for the duration of all three convenings. Housing accommodations are provided for all out of town guests.

What is the general weekend program structure? How will I spend my time?

Participants will meet virtually on Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00 (September 8-November 24, 2020). Sessions dates and times are to be determined for Convening II (January-February). In addition to workshops, lectures, and discussions, there will be opportunities for networking and relationship building, reflection and dialogue.

What are the kinds of projects and/or challenges we could present as an organization?

Our lead faculty and program team are available to help organizations conceive the design and necessary related resources as the first step to organizations realizing their project ideas. Project examples may include, but are not limited to: creative community-driven capital campaign, board development and restructuring, formation of  a community council, a project to increase youth engagement through programming, community history documentation and virtual archiving. To an extent, the possibilities are endless. However, it is important to keep in mind your organizational capacity (resources, time, and staff support, et cetera) and what will resonate most with the intended stakeholders as you consider a project to implement.

How many team members from my institution can participate in the program in Convening II?

Organizations are invited to have one (1) to two (2) additional staff members join Convening II. Following Convening II, the entire team will be invited to participate in subsequent online, phone and/or video conference coaching sessions or workshops, and will have access to CLCL’s online learning management system, Canvas.

What is not funded by the program?

Organizations are responsible for covering and arranging transportation to and from Chicago for the in-person convening. Organizations are also responsible for parking, personal expenses, evening meals (Friday and Saturday), and local transportation.

What are the next steps after I submit my application?

The CLCL application review period is approximately three weeks. Applicants will be notified of their standing no more than one month after the application deadline. Eligible organizations may be invited for a phone or video conference interview, or asked to submit additional qualifying information, as a next step to the application process. Final notices will be sent out to organizations no less than three months before Convening I to ensure the lead participant has adequate time to arrange for travel and staff support during their absence.

What if my colleagues cannot attend Convening II?

We ask that you and your team democratically select participating staff members who are available to attend and who will be meaningful contributors the entire duration of Convening II and for subsequent learning and exchange opportunities.

Do my colleagues need to participate in (Convening I) online training sessions?

The team members who are selected by your organization to join during Convening II, are not required, but strongly encouraged to participate in and take advantage of all additional and supplementary learning and coaching opportunities. The goal is to build a shared base of knowledge and skill sets that may help accelerate organizational success.

Can I select the coach I want to work with?

You will be assigned two coaches. Amina Dickerson is the CLCL program coach. She will be hosting virtual sessions as connective tissue learning in support of the lead participants’ continued professional development. George Aye is the lead facilitator and program coach for Convening II and will support connective tissue learning (online coaching) for organizational teams between Convening II and Convening III.

What is the average amount of time needed for the coaching and online sessions between the Convenings?

Lead participants will receive coaching by phone or video conference in between convenings as part of the program. The lead participant and the organizational team will receive a coaching session of up to two hours between Convening II and Convening III.

How do I make up any missed sessions?

Unfortunately, there is no way to make up for missed sessions. As part of the commitment to participating in CLCL, we ask that you attend all respective convening sessions. If a participant or team member needs to miss with reasonable cause, we ask that you contact the program coordinator at your earliest convenience. Reasonable cause might include illness or hospitalization, family illness or death, or observation of a religious holiday.

I'm traveling with my kids or family (for in-person convening), is there a daycare center near the School? Can my kids come to the workshop?

If you anticipate requiring childcare support, please notify our team as soon as possible and we will attempt to make arrangements for professional volunteer services.

Does SAIC have parking lots?

No. However, accessible parking, provided by third-party corporations, is located near SAIC buildings. We recommend that you visit this website to learn more about public parking near SAIC.

Can I request accommodations?

Yes. SAIC is committed to being an accessible institution and therefore, we seek to accommodate all accessibility requests within our capacity. For more information about the schools accessibility policy, visit this page on our website (accessibility and accommodations).

Will I have access to SAIC's facilities and resources?

Yes. Participants will be provided with a School of the Art Institute ARTICard ID for the duration of their program residency. You will have access to Wi-Fi, cafeterias, as well as discounts from participating sites. Check out campus resources and discount locations and benefits for SAIC ID holders (ARTICard Users).


If you have additional questions, please reach out to Ife Williams, CLCL Program Coordinator, at saic-sscl@saic.edu.