CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator

CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator

Spring 2019

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is pleased to announce that the application period for CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator, a professional development program for aspiring leaders in NYC cultural organizations, is now open. The program, developed by the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) and the CUNY Creative Arts Team, is designed for mid-level staff working at non-profit cultural organizations that receive DCLA funding. There is a competitive selection process to identify up to 25 participants for each of two cohorts (50 participants total) being offered in spring 2019. Participation is free of charge. Applications are being accepted until 11:59pm on Sunday, January 6, 2019. Late or incomplete applications cannot be accepted.

What is CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator?

As an outgrowth of DCLA’s diversity initiative, lessons from Ithaka S+R’s 2016 workforce demographic survey, as well as public feedback during the planning phases of the CreateNYC cultural plan, DCLA launched this program as an effort to invest in mid-level cultural workers and promote diversity and equity in the cultural workforce. It is intended to provide an opportunity for professional development that will help strengthen the management skills that are integral to career growth and mobility and to build a diverse network of peers who can support one another as they develop into future leaders.

Who is eligible to participate?

This application is open to mid-level staff who work at a New York City non-profit cultural organization that receives DCLA funding; part time and full time staff are welcome to apply. While the definition of mid-level may vary from organization to organization, this professional development course is best suited for employees with significant experience in the field and who manage programs and/or staff.


This program is fully funded by DCLA. There is no cost to apply or to attend.

When and where will the program take place?

In spring 2019, two sections of CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator will be offered. The course will consist of one (1) half-day orientation (9:00am-12:00pm) and five (5) full-day sessions (10:00am-4:30pm). Selected participants will be expected to attend all six days. Sessions will be in a classroom setting and held in Manhattan. On the application, applicants will have the opportunity to indicate their first and second choices of cohort to which they would like to apply:

Cohort 1: Thursdays

Orientation: 2/21/19
Session 1: 02/28/19
Session 2: 03/14/19
Session 3: 03/28/19
Session 4: 04/11/19
Session 5: 04/25/19


Cohort 2: Wednesdays

Orientation: 04/24/19
Session 1: 05/01/19
Session 2: 05/15/19
Session 3: 05/29/19
Session 4: 06/12/19
Session 5: 06/26/19

The curriculum

The CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator curriculum will cover management topics including communication, collaboration, strategy, project management, and budgeting. As an experiential learning program, it is intended to examine systemic challenges that exist in the workplace and promote an exchange of ideas for implementing strategies to promote equity in the cultural workforce. If selected, participants should be prepared for self-reflection on complex topics such as race, gender, inequality, and bias, from both personal and professional perspectives.

How can I apply?

Application packages should include the following three (3) pieces:

  • Completed application which includes response to the following two questions:
  1. What specific skill sets are you interested in gaining or developing that you think might be required to advance professionally? (250 words); and
  2. What challenges do you think exist at your organization that might prevent professional advancement (for example: skill-building, racial or gender bias, etc.) (250 words).
  • Resume
  • Signed letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, no more than 500 words, which should address the following: “Describe the applicant's roles and responsibilities in the organization and why the applicant would be a good candidate for the program.”

Completed application packages are due by 11:59pm on Sunday, January 6, 2019. Late or incomplete applications/submissions cannot not be accepted.

You may access the application at:

If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please contact Dawn Picken at the CUNY School of Professional Studies at or 646.664.8602.

We hope that you or someone at your organization will be able to take advantage of this valuable professional development opportunity.