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A professional development and networking opportunity for arts and cultural workers of color.

The National Leaders of Color Fellowship website

Lend your voice and help advance cultural equity in the arts and across our region.

Mid-America Arts Alliance, in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations is now recruiting applications from arts leaders of color to represent our region in the National Leaders of Color Fellowship program (LoCF).


What is the National Leaders of Color Fellowship?

Application Opens: Monday, September 18, 2023
Application Closes: Monday, October 16, 2023 (11:59 p.m. Mountain Time)

The National Leaders of Color Fellowship (LoCF) is free, eight-month, online leadership development experience that supports multicultural leadership in our nation’s creative and cultural sector. LoCF’s network shares and builds knowledge and skills to envision and enact a field that is supportive to the needs of BIPOC cultural workers at all phases of their careers.

During this no-cost eight-month fellowship, selected fellows receive:

  • Access to specialists in the field
  • Strategic learning objectives to deepen thought on anti-racist and culturally-oriented leadership practices
  • National-level network and cohort building

Upon completion of this program, participants transition to alumni status and have opportunities to collaborate with the US Regional Art Organization in their region as advisors, funding panelists, and/or other professional capacities.

This partnership program between M-AAA and its sibling Regional Arts Organizations is led by WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) and provides tools, continued learning opportunities and a network to administrators of color who seek to move into leadership positions in the arts and culture sector. Through this cohort-based learning model, LoCF has been attracting, training, networking, and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010.

Fellows can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a month on the program, including meeting dates listed on the National Leaders of Color Fellowship website and ongoing opportunities to connect with your RAO (Regional Arts Organization).


Conversations with 2022 2023 National Leaders of Color Fellowship Program Alumni
In this conversation, Alicia (Texas), Asari (New York) and P. Muzi (Virginia) talk about the benefits of being a part of LoCF. For more information, please go to artslead.org.

Who is this program designed for?

Applicants, selected by a panel of program staff, faculty and alumni, will meet the following criteria:

  • Self-identify as Black, Indigenous and/or a person of color
  • Self-identify as an early or mid-career leader in the field of arts and culture
  • Is an arts administrator or a significantly arts-interested member such as a volunteer or a public official
  • Current resident of the United States, including U.S. Jurisdictions
  • Have not participated in or have participated in limited amounts of high-quality professional leadership development opportunities

LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, disabled people, low-income and individuals residing in rural, remote or frontier areas are encouraged to apply.


What does the program offer?

Selected individuals will participate in a professional development and team-building workshop at no cost to themselves. The program is designed to:

  • Build a cohort of cultural leaders of color across the heartland who are committed to the advancement of the arts.
  • Engage diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field.
  • Provide opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers and the cultural interests of the communities they represent and serve.
  • Deepen participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.


Important Dates:

  • Application Opens: September 18, 2023
  • Information Session: September 21, 2023, 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Application Deadline: October 16, 2023
  • Applicant Notification: November 17, 2023
  • Program Dates: December 2023 through July 2024


2023-24 National Leaders of Color Fellowship (LoCF): Applicant Information Session
This information session will detailed out important aspects about the National Leaders of Color Fellowship (LoCF) program application. The session gave an overview of the program, then focused on important dates, the application structure, and navigating the GO Smart application platform.

Explore application information and deadlines at the Leaders of Color website.


2022-2023 National Leaders of Color Fellows

An expansion of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program, this collective support and commitment from the collaborative of the six U.S. regional arts organizations (USRAOs) (Arts MidwestMid-America Arts AllianceMid Atlantic ArtsNew England Foundation for the ArtsSouth Arts and WESTAF, the convener) aims to invest in diverse arts leadership in each respective region and across the nation. This inaugural national cohort will build on the success of WESTAF’s ELC program, which has been partnering with and supporting 100+ BIPOC arts and culture leaders since 2010.

Meet the first cohort National Leaders of Color Fellows here.



Do you have questions? We are here to help.

Please contact Christine Bial, Director of Grant Programs at christine@maaa.org.

For more information about The National Leaders of Color Fellowship, visit the program website.


Header photography: Past Leaders of Color Fellows.