Capacity Building St. Louis

Capacity Building St. Louis logoCapacity Building: St. Louis is a free two-year teaching and mentoring program providing arts management training and implementation support to local arts and cultural organizations.

Given the impact of COVID-19, arts and cultural organizations are navigating unprecedented circumstances. In response, the program will address strategy for maintaining visibility, relevance, and service during this time of uncertainty, as well as creating space for long-term thinking to position organizations for success in the years ahead. It will also provide training in such critical areas as long-term artistic planning, board development and engagement, marketing, fundraising, and strategic planning.

This competitive opportunity is open to a maximum of 30 non-profit arts and culture organizations based in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Strong candidates will articulate an impending opportunity or need that requires a sustained level of consultation support.

Competitive organizations may include those that:

  • Are on the eve of a major new artistic partnership, program expansion, or diversification of community outreach;
  • Anticipate succession at the staff or board leadership level;
  • Are approaching or undergoing a complex real estate transition;
  • Face an upcoming financial cliff resulting from the conclusion of support from a primary source of funding;
  • Have made strides in revenue diversification but need to substantially deepen this practice; and
  • Have an exemplary and sustained cultural program but struggle to support day-to-day operations.

Organizations participating in the program must:

  • Have a commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion;
  • Have at least one full-time equivalent staff¬†member (paid or unpaid);
  • Have a board that meets at least quarterly;
  • Have at least three years of consistent programming history;
  • Have a current (pre-COVID-19) fiscal year budget minimum of $100,000; and
  • Commit to being fully involved in all aspects of the program.


A note on selection

The program demands a lot from its participants. Through a competitive application process, we aim to identify dedicated organizations that are seeking to stabilize and strengthen artistic planning, financial planning, fundraising, board engagement, and marketing practices. Organizations are selected through the application process and are considered not only for their individual qualifications but also with respect to the cohort as a whole. Like most cohort-based training programs, we receive more quality applications than available spots. With this in mind, the selection panel follows an intentional selection process with the goal of assembling a well-balanced group. This includes consideration of artistic discipline, financial health, programming, communities served, the need for the program, and overall readiness and capacity to fully participate.

Participants will be selected by the Regional Arts Commission, in consultation with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management and the program’s funding partners. All applicants will be notified in August.