CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator

CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator

Spring 2020

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is proud 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 20 participants for a spring 2020 cohort. Participation is free of charge. Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Late or incomplete applications cannot be accepted.

What is CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator?

DCLA has created a series of initiatives as an outgrowth of DCLA’s diversity initiative based on learnings from the Workforce Demographics Pilot Survey conducted by SMU DataArts as well as public feedback during the planning phases of the CreateNYC cultural plan. This program is 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?

The course will consist of one (1) half-day orientation (9:30am-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. The course meeting dates are as follows:

Orientation: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Session 1: Thursday, April 9, 2020
Session 2: Thursday, April 23, 2020
Session 3: Thursday, May 7, 2020
Session 4: Thursday, May 21, 2020
Session 5: Thursday, June 4, 2020

The curriculum

The CreateNYC: Leadership Accelerator curriculum will cover management topics including communication, collaboration, strategy, project management and budgeting. 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:

  1. 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: lack of skill-building opportunities, racial or gender bias, etc.) (250 words).
  2. Resume
  3. 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, February 9, 2020. 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.